What determines Happiness in Life
People always depend on quick fixes in order to feel happy instead of fixing the real problems that are making them sad.
If someone has problems with his social life then traveling somewhere, doing something new or watching an exciting movie will only make him feel happy for a short period of time then his sadness will return back again shortly after he finishes this temporary activity.
Another big group of people act as if words are the magical solution to their pain by claiming that positive thinking and affirmations can make them become happy even if they have loads of unsolved problems (see Do affirmations really work?).
Both groups of people eventually feel sad again after the occurrence of any small event that reminds them of their already existing problems.
What determines our happiness levels?
So if the only way to feel happy is to start satisfying our unmet needs, then what determines our happiness levels?
Suppose that a guy has no friends and a moderate job. If this guy’s dream was to have lots of friends and to become rich then he suddenly became rich most probably he won’t experience happiness with its full potential simply because loneliness will still make him a bit unhappy. (see What causes happiness).
Of course money will improve the guy's mood because it already satisfied one of his unmet needs (which is becoming rich) but still the feelings of loneliness will prevent him from being truly happy.
Now what if that guy managed to make friends and become popular, wont he feel very happy? Yes exactly, that’s what will happen. In short we become very happy when we manage to meet most of our unmet needs.
Some people depend heavily on quick fixes to regulate their mood not knowing that this is the fastest way to reach depression. In my book, The ultimate guide to getting over depression i explained how the use of quick fixes can lead to depression if the major problems weren't dealt with. Hanging out with friends, finding something good to eat or going to the movies won't make you happy on the long term but instead such actions can make you depressed.
Can I have everything I wanted to have?
Yes you can but in order to be happy you don’t need to acquire everything that you have ever dreamed of but instead you just need to satisfy the unmet needs that have the highest priority.
For example, the guy that we talked about earlier might want to live beside the sea side to avoid the pollution in his city but since this need doesn’t have a very big weight he can still be very happy without satisfying it.
The difference between real happiness and the mood you are currently experiencing is determined by the difference between the life you are currently living and the life you wished to live. (see Why am i depressed).
If the gap grew you will feel sad, if it got bigger you will get depressed while If it was minimized you will feel truly happy.