Wiki says "Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy."
Are you Happy? What is being happy?
Can one be happy permanently?
Can Happiness be described sufficiently?
Is it tangible? Can your description fit mine?
Happiness could be different for each individual:
A child - being given a lolly they long for
Unemployed - a good paying job per career goals
Girl in love - invitation of love from a desirable young man
An elderly person - love, attention and care from loved ones
There are thousands of opinions. Here are what I've been taught by my parents through practice. They're nothing but a paltry 10 (of tens of thousands) of clues which bring a certain level of contentment, peace perceived as happiness.
This is not THE list of clues to derive happiness. Human wants are infinite, but I'm confident that this is a reasonable list of a few essentials that you may want to emulate in your lives for contentment. I call them CLUES because they're my perspectives, so they're not rules!
Go ahead, take a look, you'll see what I mean!
1. First (& MOST IMPORTANT) - GOOD HEALTH. If you do not enjoy good health it is a major hindrance to your happiness quotient. Take time to do simple exercises to keep your mind and body active and healthy. Any health issues, however trivial, will inadvertently hold you back from enjoying life to your fill.
2. Second, AN UNDERSTANDING FRIEND - My wife once upon a time (before we were married" said Happiness is being married to your best friend! - I truly belied it. I married her! It pays well to have one true friend than a million acquaintances, to SHARE your joys or sorrows with. Sharing your joy multiplies it and when you're faced with sorrow, sharing it with true friends helps dissipate it. Inability to communicate honestly, trust and intimacy with at least one person in your life curbs your ability to face hurdles.
3. Third, HEALTHY FINANCE. It needn't run into millions but should be sufficient to provide for creature comforts e.g. treats, eating out, movies, traveling or holidays. Shortage of funds is demoralizing to a great extent. And living on credit or borrowing is demeaning, lowers self-respect and is like being seated under a sword hanging by a fine thread.
4. Fourth, OWN HOME. Rented homes can be practical to many but may not give you the snug comfort and feeling of a nest which is yours for keeps; if it has a garden, all the more better. Growing your own choice of plants and flowers, tending to them and watching them grow and blossom, cultivate a sense of kinship with them.
5. Fifth, HOBBIES. Cultivate some hobbies which can bring you a sense of fulfillment e.g. writing, reading, painting, gardening, poetry, playing sport or listening to music. You could train yourselves to be a good cook or a wine connoisseur but indulging in excessive purposeless gatherings, casual wine & dine, pub-hopping or drinking is not only boring & a waste of time but can cause cause harmful side effects.
6. Sixth, TIME. This is one commodity that people are really not aware how much they have. You should certainly relax and be allowed to live your life the way you want, but as much as possible, utilize time doing something constructive. Take occasional breaks to stretch yourself, go for walks and do exercises while dedicating time for self-improvement.
7. Seventh, KNOWLEDGE. You should always strive to improve yourself through learning. A certain amount of knowledge can get you a recognized degree or a job but learning as experienced by many, is a non-stop process. At no point in one's life can one claim to have learned all there is to learn. So, learn to live life and learn from available sources.
8. Eighth, STOP ENVY. Comparing yourself to others (including friends and family) who seem to have done well in their life should only positively motivate you to improve yourself. But constant envy towards the people or their growth is very corroding. It takes the gleam off your relationships and can impact your interactions. It will also gradually creep in to negate your happiness quotient. Avoid comparison and be the master of your own life.
9. Ninth, STOP GOSSIP. Never ever let others gossip about any one with you. And especially not about a common friend or acquaintance. Do not allow other people to descend upon you for gossip. It's poisonous and what you say in the spur of a moment, may inexplicably be used against you. And by the time you get rid of them and clear yourselves, you'll be totally exhausted and unable to continue enjoying life as before. You'll be trusted no more!
10. Tenth, INTROSPECTION - Allow yourselves about 15 minutes each morning and evening, for introspection. Introspection is in other words self-inspection. This time is very precious, so don't let anything else interrupt you. Spend 10 minutes in the morning to relax yourselves, may be over a cup of coffee / green tea. Spend the next 5 to plan and list the tasks you'd complete today. Come evening, spend 5 minutes over your favorite drink to relax and in the next 10 to go over what you'd planned for today. This checks and balances will, in the long run, help you achieve your goals.
A quote I like to reiterate here is "RICHNESS is not Earning More, Spending More Or Saving More, but ... RICHNESS is when you need no more"
11. Yes, there is an Eleventh on my list!
Eleveth, which I've realised is "SHARE". When you have followed the above eight clues for happiness and feel you have found it, then seek a truly worthy way to give something to the needy. This does not necessarily mean money or materials.
Seek various ways in which you could contribute to the happiness of others, especially children or old people. You can see immediate results because children don't know to hide reactions or emotions. And the elderly, having lived their lives, are wise enough to know time/tide wait for none and show their joy or gratitude immediately.
I say Children or Elderly, because those in between are like you and me, constantly in search of improvement or in other words, HAPPINESS!