Do you choose happiness over satisfaction? Maybe you ask, “do I have to pick one over the other?”
Turns out there are people who study these choices people make. As someone who had a difficult childhood, I have a minor obsession with happiness. I have read quite a few books on the topic and I think about happiness quite a bit.
This book, Happy, that I’m holding in this photo is a book I purchased on June 20th, 2010 at the Denver International Airport. I know that because I’ve held onto this book since then and the receipt was inside the book, as I used it as a bookmark. The book is full of markings and notes that I took as I read the book the first time. I’ve read it a few times since then too!
What happiness will I experience today?
In short, I contemplate the state of happiness often. Mostly because I know that a good part of happiness for myself is expecting to experience happiness every day. I wake up in the morning to do my daily meditation and one of my first thoughts of the day is “What happiness will I experience today?” As the day progresses, I pay attention when moments of happiness occur.
Lilacs and my dog rolling in the grass
This week one happened as I walked past a lilac bush that radiated a beautiful smell. I stopped to extra sniff the wafting scent of spring and joy. Another occurred when I sat down in the grass as my dog Sam rolled in the grass on his back in pure delight. I rubbed his tummy and laughed at his complete abandon as he lolled about.
Talking with good friends
One more bit of happiness came last Saturday when I was sitting with my friends Jenny and Monica after Jenny and I had run 6 miles along the Mississippi River and the three of us were talking about gardening, which all of us love. I realized how happy it made me to talk of something so simple with people I admire and enjoy.
Distinction between happiness and satisfaction
I read an article this week that explored the distinction between happiness and satisfaction. This line particularly caught my attention:
“Happiness is a momentary experience that arises spontaneously and is fleeting. Meanwhile, satisfaction is a long-term feeling, built over time and based on achieving goals and building the kind of life you admire.”
The article goes on to note that many of us prefer satisfaction over happiness, making choices in how we spend our time that creates life-long satisfaction over the fleeting, momentary happiness. I am a goal oriented person and I’ve achieved many things in my life, which upon reflection does create in me a sense of satisfaction, which is all good and fine.
Satisfaction isn’t enough
I realized when I didn’t die from my suicide attempt in 2013, that satisfaction with my accomplishments wasn’t all I wanted from this life. My interest in happiness came to the forefront for me. That’s about the time I made the decision to expect happiness in my life every day. I know that happiness is fleeting, even unexpected. Thus it’s even more important to be awake to when happiness appears.
Good friends make life more happy
One of the things the article mentions is that cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman believes that we feel happiness in the company of others. I figured that out and I realized in 2014 that I didn’t have enough good friends. One of my primary goals for 2015 was to make more friends. Luckily that worked out well for me and today I have more amazing friends than I have ever had in my life.
Outside party with vaccinated, athlete friends
In fact, for my 56th birthday, which was two days ago, I had an in-real-life outside party with a group of dear friends who are part of my triathlon community. (All of us are vaccinated!) In fact, a few of us are going camping together in July. I do experience profound happiness when I run, swim, bike, ski, laugh and camp with my friends!
How about you? Which would you pick, happiness or satisfaction? Let me know what you think, I love hearing from you! Please leave a comment!! Thanks!
Are you on my email list yet? If not, please sign up right here. It might contribute to your happiness!