Today we explore the seventh habit of Happiness. Over the last few weeks, I've been exploring the key to Happiness, and in that journey, I've discovered it's not just one thing that creates Happiness; it's a combination of factors. You could say that Happiness is simply neurochemistry. For example, we know that hugging increases the production of (the Love Hormone) oxytocin and that populating your gut with good bacteria stimulates serotonin levels. Being in the sun boosts both serotonin and melatonin for good sleep; exercise increases BDNF, which lifts depression and promotes neuroplasticity in the brain in terms of learning and memory. Therefore, implementing conscious lifestyle adjustments can improve your sense of well-being.
These are all valid and essential factors, but is there more to it? Indeed, two psychologists, Victor Frankel and William James, proposed that Finding Meaning was a vital ingredient and central to well-being; one of the critical signs of depression is when you lose a sense of life being meaningful.
Finding purpose or meaning is perhaps one of the only ways that helps you endure enormous suffering and struggle (think of the current war in Ukraine) or Richard Ratcliffe's hunger strike in protest of his wife Nazanin's interment in Iran. And William James, an American psychologist, said that suffering, rather than being an enemy of Happiness, was a secret ally because it can often create more meaning in a person's life by creating greater resilience and as a result we become wiser and more sanguine.