What do we need to be happy? A good question. We all pursue happiness, but happiness may be different from one person to the other person. Is there any universal factor that makes people happier? If so, what is it? As I did some research, I found out that it says there are 14 things that make you happy.
John Lennon famously said, “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Really, what is happiness? Happiness is the state of being happy. Happy means an enjoyable or satisfied state of well-being. So what creates that? What do we need to be happy?
It may be true. We need many things to be happy. However, in my opinion, the four necessary ingredients required in our lives make us happy. Those are health, career, finance, and meaningful relationships. So let’s explore to see if those four ingredients will make us happy.
Four Essential Happy Ingredients
In my opinion, the number one of the ingredients we need to make us happy is health. Health is an essential thing in our lives, yet, we often ignore it. Like when we have it, we take it for granted. In 2020 under the pandemic, I am sure we learned a lot about what we took for granted was not granted at all.
Whether going out to the restaurant or merely traveling to see the places, we learned that it’s not given. Health is another, yet, when we have it, we don’t think about it.
Like anything else, I ignored health as being a vital ingredient to make me happy until 2016 when I had an accident that took me recovering tough. My accident crashed my left arm completely, and I had to have several surgeries.
I decided not to post my X-rays because they look horrific, so I am posting a picture of the time I was recovering. As you can see here, my chest bones are very prominent because I significantly lost weight. I am not a big person, but my weight went to under 90 lbs when I had an accident.
That’s not healthy for someone with a height of 5’4″, so you can imagine how serious my accident was. My medical, including the hospital bill, was over $500,000. That’s not including the extra bills I had to pay.
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Right after the accident, I was so mad, but I am very grateful that I wasn’t brain-damaged, and I am still relatively healthy now and can do the daily function without much pain.
After the accident
For about a year, I had to go to physical therapy three times a week. In the beginning, it was tough because I couldn’t do anything. Another issue was that I also had to fight with the insurance company to get more therapy. In the beginning, the medicine I had to take made my body suffer a lot.
One medication that was supposed to help could create another side effect, so I had to take another to compensate for that. Also, I didn’t want to take pills as much as I can, especially painkillers. Mainly, I didn’t want to get addicted to them because I heard many horror stories.
During recovery stage and even now
As my therapy progressed, I got better. However, I had to be very careful just in case something goes wrong. There were a few things I had to change. For example, I had to wear flat shoes instead of high heels.
This may sound silly to you, but I love heels and my professional life; I interview lots of people, so I always wanted to look good, and heels contribute to that.
The other thing was that instead of walking or taking stairs, I would take an elevator. On top of that, I haven’t been doing much exercise, and I had to give up all my sports, such as fencing, golfing, etc., other than walking, which didn’t and doesn’t help me stay healthy.
I have a friend who is in a wheelchair due to an accident and he couldn’t walk anymore. I believe it takes the courage to face life when you are not in the normal health stage.
We talk a lot about mental health, and people always seem to have so much to say about it. However, physically damaged people, society sees as if that’s their problem and their fault.
When I was recovering from the accident, I couldn’t enjoy things I used to do, therefore, my happiness level went down. I had limited social interaction due to the accident.
This made me realize that without health, you can’t create happiness. You can be happy by simply seeing the ocean and blue sky, however, with poor health, you may not be able to create the opportunity to enjoy yourself.
Start taking care of your health because a healthy body and mind can make you happy.
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The second ingredient that we need in order to be happy is a career. I will say that meaningful work makes us feel we contribute something to society, and that satisfaction can lead to happiness.
However, the difference is that to be happy, I believe you have to do what you enjoy doing. I graduated with a Business-Econ major, but I worked in an entirely different area. The industry I work in always has been somewhat related to my major, but the actual job has not been similar.
However, I think I am good at what I do, and I enjoy doing it. I think this makes a difference. There are people in the field who feel miserable because they are not enjoying it.
Most of the time, I put in lots of hours, but it doesn’t bother me. Mainly I like what I do, and the financial reward that comes with it. However, when our career becomes the priority, when we lose track of our well-being, that can lead to a problem.
Nonetheless, meaningful work is another ingredient that makes us happy. The sense of satisfaction that we are contributing to society. The feeling of satisfaction that we are accomplishing something that gives us pride and self-respect. It can also boost our self-esteem; that’s why meaningful work can also be a second ingredient for our happiness.
Of course, if you are lucky enough to find your passion earlier, and landed your career lines with your passion, your career will take off, and your happiness will increase. Your satisfaction of doing meaningful work will increase. So if you have good health and work or a career that you’re passionate about, I think your happiness is halfway there.
The other ingredient we need to make us happy is what I call financial well-being. I know we often hear money is the root of all evil, and people sometimes make rich people sound like they’re somewhat ungrateful or unethical.
Some may also say that people with money are not happy. I don’t believe that. I think money can buy and bring some happiness into our lives.
However, let me tell you, that kind of happiness may be short-lived. For example, I am happy when I can buy a nice outfit or a purse or afford to drive a nice convertible luxury car.
Of course, my music lessons need money too. And like all of you, I like to travel and that needs money too. All the things I like to do, some of them require money.
As I said, these are short-lived happy feelings. Because once you start acquiring material things, you may want more. On top of that, as time passes, your happiness may diminish toward the value of having those material things.
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Of course, not all of them need money. I am equally happy when I walk in the park on a sunny day or walk on the beach and enjoy the sunset because it is something simple yet amazing.
How much is Enough?
We need to have enough money to be happy. When you don’t, when you have to worry about paying bills, that obviously doesn’t bring happiness. The big question is, how much is enough?
I think that’s depending on the individual’s lifestyle. We can only decide how much we need. Once we satisfy necessities like house, clothing, food, etc. But apart from that, how much of what needs to make us happy may differ from person to person.
I hope I don’t have to worry or have to look at the price when I want to buy things. If I want to, I like to get it; I hope to buy it regardless of price. If I go to a nice restaurant to eat, I like to pick what I like to eat, not worry how much. That’s why I believe financial well-being is essential to create happiness, and that makes my third ingredient.
Another component for us to be happy is having satisfied, meaning relationships. There are many types of relationships — family relationships, significant others, at work with colleagues, and friends.
Each connection may provide slightly different areas of our need and satisfaction. However, all these happy, meaningful relationships are what we need to feel fully and profoundly satisfied. That makes us happy.
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In a strong full-filling relationship, we can manage our stress better. We feel that we have love around us that gives us so much self-respect and self-esteem. I believe that it helps us to practice self-love as well.
The feeling of knowing someone accepts you as who you are. That leads to living a much more peaceful and healthy; and knowing that you can depend on someone to discuss things freely.
After all, we are not supposed to be alone. We are in ourselves, yet we are with the family. Not only that, we belong to the community. And that sense of belonging to a community can extend to greater areas. That’s why having a happy and meaningful relationship that gives us self-acceptance, makes us happy.
Happy Factor Conclusion
So here it is. What do we need to be happy? I am sure we need many things. However, in my opinion, the four basic things we need to be happy. Those are health, meaningful work, enough money, and a full-filling relationship.
If we can have these four, I think we can start to nurture happiness for ourselves. Remember, happiness is a feeling of content and satisfaction. Even though we have all these, if we don’t have our sense of being, it might be hard to accomplish it. We create happiness within, and these four ingredients help us to achieve it. That’s what I believe.
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And as Elle mentioned in her previous posts, happiness can be learned, practiced, and maintained. So once we have four ingredients in place, it’s only a matter of time and effortful intentions for us to learn, practice, and maintain to achieve the level of happiness we want.
A very special thank you to Elle for hosting me as a guest blogger.
Stay safe 🎈🎈🎈
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