Most people are familiar with the "pursuit of happiness," but what does that really mean, and why does joy come so naturally for some while remaining a challenge for others? Happiness means something different to everyone, and the things that can affect contentment are not always under our control. The good news is that happiness, regardless of how you define it, is attainable for everyone. Sometimes finding satisfaction means transforming how you see life and the world around you, while for others, finding bliss is a matter of making lifestyle changes. It may seem like trivial work, but studies suggest that happiness can help your productivity, improve your relationships, and inspire you to live a healthier lifestyle. How good are you at relishing the moment or enjoying the good things in life? Are you perpetually pleasant, or do you have a storm cloud hovering above your head? Knowing your typical state of mind might help you hone in on happiness and share it with the people you care about.
Born in 1946 in Paris, Matthieu Ricard was raised in an intellectual and artistic household. His father, a renowned philosopher, and his mother, an accomplished painter, encouraged Matthieu to explore his own passions. During his molecular genetics studies at the Pasteur Institute, he first encountered Tibetan Buddhism, and his life took an unexpected turn.
In 1972, Matthieu decided to leave his promising career in science behind and move to the Himalayas to study Buddhism under some of the greatest spiritual masters of our time. For the next several years, Matthieu immersed himself in meditation and contemplative practices, honing his skills as a practitioner and translator of ancient texts.
Matthieu's dedication to the Buddhist path eventually caught the attention of the Dalai Lama, who asked him to serve as his personal French interpreter in 1989. This partnership allowed Matthieu to share the wisdom of Buddhism with the world, and soon, he began writing books and giving lectures on the subject of happiness.
His work focused on the idea that happiness is a skill that can be developed through training the mind. Matthieu advocated for a combination of mindfulness, compassion, and altruism, emphasizing that true happiness comes from within and is not dependent on external factors.
In 2004, Matthieu participated in a groundbreaking study on the effects of meditation on the brain. Neuroscientists found that his brain exhibited exceptionally high levels of positive emotions, earning him the title of "the happiest person on the planet." This discovery further cemented Matthieu's status as a leading expert in happiness and well-being.
Never one to keep the secrets of happiness to himself, Matthieu has been dedicated to sharing his knowledge with the world. In 2000, he co-founded Karuna-Shechen, a humanitarian organization that provides education, healthcare, and social services to underserved communities in the Himalayas. Through his work with Karuna-Shechen, Matthieu has helped thousands of people find joy and fulfillment in their lives.
Matthieu's teachings emphasize the importance of cultivating happiness as a daily practice. He believes that anyone can achieve a lasting sense of well-being by focusing on gratitude, generosity, and compassion. His message resonates with people from all walks of life, inspiring countless individuals to prioritize happiness and make the world a brighter place.
Jake didn’t think he’d become a writer when he was growing up in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, but fate had another idea. After barely squeaking through grade 9 English, by the luck of the draw Jake found himself with the most inspiring literature instructor his small town had ever known, and grade 10 English changed his life! Suddenly, evenings once spent at the hockey rink were spent curled up on the couch with the best of Hemingway, Dickens, and John Grisham. A valedictorian address and English degree at the University of Regina later, Jake is proud to call Heywise his favorite place to pen informative quizzes about all his passion projects. If you’re reading a post and pick up a hint of classic English literature, you’re probably reading something by Jake - especially if you come away feeling like a slightly better person for it.
You can't create true happiness from thin air, but you can cultivate small moments of joy throughout your day for an emotional boost. Happy hormones like endorphins and dopamine occur naturally in your body. They release into your brain and nervous system for various reasons, triggering positive feelings and improving your mood. Cardio exercise is one of the best ways to produce endorphins and achieve a natural euphoria. A runner's high, as people call it, leaves you feeling invigorated after a workout. Laughter has positive side effects, improving symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercising also boosts serotonin production, another happy hormone that promotes feelings of happiness and emotional well-being. Other ways to increase serotonin levels are spending time outdoors, listening to music, and getting a good night's rest. Dopamine, a motivational reward, comes from pleasurable activities such as eating a nourishing meal or having sex. Speaking of sex, oxytocin — the love hormone — promotes bonding and feelings of connection. While holistic remedies aren't a substitute for medical advice, they can supplement your efforts to create a happier existence. Happiness is a lifelong endeavor that becomes more fruitful as we practice.
Our personality quizzes are set up a little differently than your basic trivia quiz, but you’ve probably seen their kind around. Rather than having to choose the right answer from a list of multiple choice options, in this case, there is no “right answer”! (Two plus two will always be four, but every Golden Girls character is equally awesome.)
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