Prerequisites of happiness
Good health – This implies freedom from illnesses which can destroy zest in life. Good health results in vitality which can make living much more enjoyable. However it is not necessary to be in peak physical condition like an athlete. Also, illnesses which do not continuously impinge on the consciousness will not affect the ability to be happy most of the time.
Sufficient income to meet basic needs – Basic needs vary from individual to individual. For somebody even an old car is a luxury while for another even a Mercedes is not enough. What is implied in this phrase is income to provide for reasonable food, shelter and clothing. What is ‘reasonable’ will depend a lot upon attitude. Having more wealth or income than this ‘reasonable’ amount may improve the level of happiness for some people, but it is not a prerequisite for happiness. On the other hand excessive wealth may cause problems on its own.
Affection – Humans are social beings. They need other persons to communicate and share experiences with. Basically they need other people who can make the individual feel he/she is OK. It is important to have at least one person whose affection you enjoy. This need not be a romantic relationship. A family member or a friend can also fill this need.
Some productive work or activity – People need some work or activity to give them a feeling of being productive and of making a difference to the world. This should not be drudgery and need not be paid work. Doing it should give the individual a feeling of achievement.
Good attitude – What is needed is a positive attitude – an attitude of being tolerant towards people, events and circumstances and not being a stickler or a perfectionist. It means not to getting upset just because the world is not the way you want it. Your approach to situations is more important than the situation itself
Defined goals – The key to any progress on the path to increased happiness is having a set of defined goals. These goals would be for all the major aspects of your life – health, financial, relationships etc. and would be for various time periods i.e. you need to have a goals about where you see yourself at the end of your life and then develop a set of intermediate goals. (Goal setting). True happiness comes from steady progress towards meaningful goals.
Besides the prerequisites for happiness, there are some factors which enhance happiness. These include
Zest & vitality - Enthusiasm about whatever you are involved in, makes life much happier. Work does not seem a burden and the pride of achievement is enhanced.
Enjoyable work – Work of various sorts occupies most of our waking time. Doing what you enjoy, makes work a pleasure, not a chore. The happiest person is he who makes a living doing what he loves.
Impersonal interests – Activities which do not benefit you personally, give a deep feeling of satisfaction and happiness. One example of this is to make a difference in the lives of people who are virtual strangers to you. That is why a lot of people volunteer their time, effort and money for various causes that do not affect them personally.