One of the most sought after goals in life is to be happy. Happiness means different things to different people. In a recent study “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness” published in Economic Policy (orange link is to a summary of the study), it was discovered that “although lives have improved for women in the last 35 years, women’s happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men.” The authors note that this shift in happiness is present in much of the industrialized world. So, I guess the question becomes why is it that we as women are less happy when on the surface, it appears that we have gained so much on so many levels in the last number of years?
Have you ever met a woman who was happy with her current state of affairs? Many women live very hectic lives trying to juggle career and family. Many of these women would say that they would love the option to stay home and spend more time with their family, put healthier meals on the table and take better care of themselves. Conversely, many of us who had the opportunity to spend some time at home are looking for career or intellectual stimulation.
I think it comes down to truly defining what happiness means to you. I recently came across a book by Sarah Brokaw. Sarah is the daughter of NBC newscaster Tom Brokaw and is the author of the book Fortytude. Although I haven’t read the book or many reviews of it, I did see a list of Sarah’s five values in a recent issue of Chatelaine magazine (click on the orange link to go to the article). Sarah suggests that you use these values to explore who you are and what you could become. They are as follows:
SARAH’S FIVE CORE VALUES
Being generous and forgiving (toward yourself and others), equanimity
Building a support network of friends, family, mentors
Knowing and appreciating what you’re capable of
Taking on new challenges outside your comfort zone
Crafting your approach to any belief system to help you to find a sense of purpose and inner peace
Personally, I think happiness is about defining what core values are important to you and how you live your life in accordance with these values.
So, I leave you with two questions. What would you consider your core values? Do you think your happiness is related to how well you live your life according to these values?
Would love to hear from you…..