Can I be happy even when I’m sad?

Posted by Karen Degen on 2nd September 2013

Tags: Happiness, emotion, happy, pocket of sadness, sad, subjective well-being, well-being

Happiness, in psycho speak, is called ‘subjective well-being’ and refers to people’s sense of wellness in their lives.  A person high in well-beingexperiences satisfaction with their lives, feels pleasant most of the time, and only experiences occasional negative feelings.  I find this description of happiness really good.  It says ‘feels pleasant most of the time’.  What it doesn’t say is a happy person is jumping with joy, smiling and laughing all the time.  That’s a personality thing.  Many people are not the types to walk around with a big grin on their face, but they do feel happy inside.  The other thing I like about this description of happiness is that it doesn’t say happy people don’t feel negative emotion. It says they ‘experience occasional negative emotion’.  Happy people experience things that make them sad (or any other negative emotion), but that sadness doesn’t encompass their whole lives.  They have a way of sectioning it off.  Right now my mother is very ill and it’s been a worrying time, but I see it as a pocket of sadness within my overall sense of wellbeing.  I can still feel happy, even though I have a pocket of sadness in my life.   Studies show that happy people see bad events as a small part of their life, whereas unhappy people see bad events as universal to their whole life.  Happiness is a learned skill and one I teach.   It is very much about the way you think about things. Change your thinking and your feelings will change too.