The Search for Happiness

By Marcia Bender

Are you a happy human being? Anyone who studies human nature realizes that physical beings go through life in a fluctuating state of mind, at times deep in despondency and pessimism, at times at the heights of happiness and joy. It is the rare person who spends the majority of time in a “balanced” state between the two extremes.

We would all agree that being happy is a truly desirable state of consciousness and that being unhappy is something we would like to escape from whenever possible. Sadly, no human being has yet to discover a formula to achieve happiness with a certainty that it will last a lifetime. If you ask a happy person what it is that makes him or her happy and to define their level of happiness, that individual will have a difficult time trying to put the answer into words that others will be able to understand.

Happiness is a state of mind, and there is no doubt that numerous well-defined factors in life add together to contribute to it. It is no secret that, in general, children are happier than adults. The reason for this is that young people are supported and cushioned from the complications and stress factors of life by their parents. As we move into adulthood, the stresses of being responsible for ourselves force us into the harsh reality of life.

Many psychological studies have isolated seven factors that impact personal happiness in life. I will briefly touch on each and ask you to evaluate whether they add or subtract from your personal level of happiness. I have found when we understand what is making us unhappy it is possible to change out some of the negative factors for more positive ones that will allow us to experience more happiness in the future.

Domestic environment: One of the most common causes of unhappiness is a disturbed or unsatisfactory home life. This may apply whether one is a young person who wants to escape from parental influence, a single person living in lonely or boring surroundings, a married individual engaged in conflict with wife or husband, or a happily married person who lives in depressing or uninteresting surroundings.

Interpersonal relationships: This factor relates to the part of our lives that involves relationships with others. This not only includes love life, but also the ability to interact with and relate to other people. We are part of a complex society that forces us to respond to it. The degree to which we can respond effectively and, in turn, make society respond to us favorably is directly related to how we measure our happiness or unhappiness.

Health: It is difficult to be totally happy unless we are healthy. This means good physical as well as mental health. A person can have a large amount of money and seem to have the best of everything, but it means little without overall good health.

Creativity: The human brain has a wonderful ability to respond quickly to changes in the environment, to avoid danger, and to problem solve. This ability enables us to play an active and dynamic role in manipulating and improving our environment. This is creativity, and it helps us to find new solutions to old problems. Creativity is shown in the work of great writers, artists, scientists, et al. But at the more common levels, which most of us have to be content with, it involves sensing a feeling of satisfaction that comes when we can solve a problem or turn something commonplace into something beautiful. The more we can do this, the happier we will become.

Sensuality: These are the feel-good things in our lives: good food, good sex, nice clothes and jewelry, and beautiful homes, cars, etc. The human body is equipped with sense organs that cause us to desire things that give us pleasure. We typically don’t want to eat, drink, or make love unless we feel a deep sense of pleasure or satisfaction from doing it. The indulgence of the senses is a contributing factor to happiness. We must also realize that too much of a good thing may become overindulgence and cause unhappiness.

Achievement: Most people want to feel that their lives have a purpose and they are working toward it. Achievement can come from many things, including a job, domestic life, relationships with others, and the ability to face and overcome challenges in life. People with high achievement abilities seem to be able to attain overall happiness. Our sense of self-worth is a very important step to finding happiness in our lives.

Unique Influences: All humans are very different from each other and very complicated. In understanding human happiness, we must take these differences and variables into account. There are many things that affect our feelings of well-being that cannot be put into a “category.” What are yours?

Please read this column and make some observations or write down a few comments about yourself for each of the seven categories. Which areas of your life make you the most happy? Which are not very positive for you right now? Most importantly, what can you do to change the negatives into positives? When we stop to self-reflect and reevaluate our circumstances, the creative ideas for change often come to us. It is unrealistic to think that we can always be happy; it is very realistic to believe that we can be happier than we currently are.

Knowledge is the Greatest Power, so Walk in the Light.

Editor’s note: The Crystals and Gems series will continue next month, in August, with Part 2.


Marcia began her career as a school teacher, working with preschool through inner city high school students. She has worked with all aspects of Metaphysics for over 40 years and specializes in Tarot and Numerology. Marcia’s clients and students are in every state and throughout Europe. Marcia has taught over 400 students to “read” the Tarot for the purpose of self-guidance and to use the powerful symbolism of the Tarot to reach higher levels of spirituality. Her column, Spiritually Speaking, originally ran for 8 years in Attitudes Magazine. Email

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