Happiness Essay for Students and Children

500+ words essay on happiness.

Happiness is something which we can’t describe in words it can only be felt from someone’s expression of a smile. Likewise, happiness is a signal or identification of good and prosperous life. Happiness is very simple to feel and difficult to describe. Moreover, happiness comes from within and no one can steal your happiness.

Happiness Essay

Can Money Buy You Happiness?

Every day we see and meet people who look happy from the outside but deep down they are broken and are sad from the inside. For many people, money is the main cause of happiness or grief. But this is not right. Money can buy you food, luxurious house, healthy lifestyle servants, and many more facilities but money can’t buy you happiness.

And if money can buy happiness then the rich would be the happiest person on the earth. But, we see a contrary image of the rich as they are sad, fearful, anxious, stressed, and suffering from various problems.

In addition, they have money still they lack in social life with their family especially their wives and this is the main cause of divorce among them.

Also, due to money, they feel insecurity that everyone is after their money so to safeguard their money and them they hire security. While the condition of the poor is just the opposite. They do not have money but they are happy with and stress-free from these problems.

In addition, they take care of their wife and children and their divorce rate is also very low.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Happiness Comes from Within

As we now know that we can’t buy happiness with money and there is no other shortcut to happiness. It is something that you feel from within.

In addition, true happiness comes from within yourself. Happiness is basically a state of mind.

Moreover, it can only be achieved by being positive and avoiding any negative thought in mind. And if we look at the bright side of ourselves only then we can be happy.

Happiness in a Relationship

People nowadays are not satisfied with their relationship because of their differences and much other reason. But for being happy in a relationship we have to understand that there are some rules or mutual understanding that keeps a relationship healthy and happy.

Firstly, take care of yourself then your partner because if you yourself are not happy then how can you make your partner happy.

Secondly, for a happy and healthy relationship give you partner some time and space. In addition, try to understand their feeling and comfort level because if you don’t understand these things then you won’t be able to properly understand your partner.

Most importantly, take initiative and plan to go out with your partner and family. Besides, if they have plans then go with them.

To conclude, we can say that happiness can only be achieved by having positive thinking and enjoying life. Also, for being happy and keeping the people around us happy we have to develop a healthy relationship with them. Additionally, we also have to give them the proper time.

FAQs about Happiness

Q.1 What is True Happiness? A.1 True happiness means the satisfaction that you find worthy. The long-lasting true happiness comes from life experience, a feeling of purpose, and a positive relationship.

Q.2 Who is happier the rich or the poor and who is more wealthy rich or poor? A.2 The poor are happier then the rich but if we talk about wealth the rich are more wealthy then the poor. Besides, wealth brings insecurity, anxiety and many other problems.

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Essays About Happiness: 5 Essay Examples and 6 Writing Prompts

Being happy and content is essential to living a successful life. If you are writing essays about happiness, start by reading our helpful guide.

Whenever we feel positive emotions rushing through our heads, chances are we are feeling happy. Happiness is what you feel when you enter the house, the smell of your favorite food being cooked or when you finally save up enough money to buy something you’ve wanted. It is an undeniably magical feeling. 

Happiness can do wonders for your productivity and well-being; when you are happy, you are more energetic, optimistic, and motivated. So it is, without a doubt, important. However, do not become caught up in trying to be happy, as this may lead to worse problems. Instead, allow yourself to feel your emotions; be authentic, even if that means feeling a little more negative.

5 Top Essay Examples

1. causes of happiness by otis curtis, 2. how to be happy by tara parker-pope, 3. reflections on ‘happiness’ by shahzada sultan.

  • 4.  Happiness is Overrated by John Gorman

5. Toxic positivity by Suhani Mahajan

6 prompts for essays about happiness, 1. why is it important to be happy, 2. what is happiness to you, 3. the role of material things in happiness, 4. how does happiness make you more productive, 5. is true happiness achievable, 6. happiness vs. truth.

“If you don’t feel good about yourself you will have a similarly negative attitude towards others and education is one way of having good self-esteem, as it helps you to live life successfully and happily. Education is one way of getting that dream job and education is an essential cog in the wheel to living comfortably and happily. One English survey that included over 15,000 participants revealed that 81 percent of people who had achieved a good level of education had a high level of life satisfaction.”

Based on personal beliefs and research, Curtis’ essay describes different contributing causes to people’s happiness. These include a loving, stable family and good health. Interestingly, there is a positive correlation between education level and happiness, as Curtis cites statistics showing that education leads to high self-esteem, which can make you happier. 

“Socratic questioning is the process of challenging and changing irrational thoughts. Studies show that this method can reduce depression symptoms. The goal is to get you from a negative mindset (“I’m a failure.”) to a more positive one (“I’ve had a lot of success in my career. This is just one setback that doesn’t reflect on me. I can learn from it and be better.”)”

Parker-Pope writes about the different factors of happiness and how to practice mindfulness and positivity in this guide. She gives tips such as doing breathing exercises, moving around more, and spending time in places and with people that make you happy. Most importantly, however, she reminds readers that negative thoughts should not be repressed. Instead, we should accept them but challenge that mindset.

“Happiness is our choice of not leaving our mind and soul at the mercy of the sways of excitement. Happiness cannot eliminate sorrow, suffering, pain or death from the scheme of things, but it can help keep fear, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, pessimism and other fathers of unhappiness at bay.”

Sultan discusses what happiness means to her personally. It provides an escape from all the dreariness and lousy news of daily life, not eliminating negative thoughts but keeping them at a distance, even just for a moment. She writes that to be happy; we should not base our happiness on the outcomes of our actions. We cannot control the world around us, so we should not link our happiness to it. If something doesn’t go our way, that is just how the world works. It is useless to be sad over what we cannot control.

4.   Happiness is Overrated by John Gorman

“Our souls do float across the sea of life, taking on water as they go, sinking ever so slightly — perhaps even imperceptibly — into despair. But our souls are not the bucket. Happiness itself is. And it’s the bucket we use to pour water out our souls and keep us afloat. What we really need is peace. Peace patches the holes in our souls and stops the leaking. Once we have peace, we will no longer need to seek happiness.”

In his essay, Gorman reflects on how he stopped trying to chase happiness and instead focused on finding peace in life. He writes that we are often so desperate looking for happiness that our lives become complicated, chaotic, and even depressing at times. He wants readers to do what they are passionate about and be their authentic selves; that way, they will find true happiness. You might also be interested in these essays about courage .

“That’s the mindset most of us have. Half of toxic positivity is just the suppression of 200% acceptable feelings such as anger, fear, sadness, confusion, and more. Any combination of such feelings is deemed “negative.” Honestly, mix ‘em up and serve them to me in a cocktail, eh? (Fine, fine, a mocktail. I reserve my right to one of those little umbrellas though.)

But by closing ourselves off to anything but positivity, we’re experiencing the same effects as being emotionally numb. Why are we doing this to ourselves?”

Mahajan writes about the phenomenon known as “toxic positivity” in which everyone is expected to be happy with their lives. It trivializes people’s misfortunes and sufferings, telling them to be happy with what they have instead. Mahajan opposes this, believing that everyone’s feelings are valid. She writes that it’s okay to be sad or angry at times, and the stigma around “negative feelings” should be erased. When we force ourselves to be happy, we may feel emotionally numb or even sad, the exact opposite of being happy. 

Essays About Happiness: Why is it important to be happy?

Many would say that happiness aids you in many aspects of your life. Based on personal experience and research, discuss the importance of being happy. Give a few benefits or advantages of happiness. These can include physical, mental, and psychological benefits, as well as anything else you can think of. 

Happiness means different things to different people and may come from various sources. In your essay, you can also explain how you define happiness. Reflect on this feeling and write about what makes you happy and why. Explain in detail for a more convincing essay; be sure to describe what you are writing about well. 

Essays About Happiness: The role of material things in happiness

Happiness has a myriad of causes, many of which are material. Research the extent to which material possessions can make one happy, and write your essay about whether or not material things can truly make us happy. Consider the question, “Can money buy happiness?” Evaluate the extent to which it can or cannot, depending on your stance.  

Happiness has often been associated with a higher level of productivity. In your essay, look into the link between these two. In particular, discuss the mental and chemical effects of happiness. Since this topic is rooted in research and statistics, vet your sources carefully: only use the most credible sources for an accurate essay.

In their essays, many, including Gorman and Mahajan, seem to hold a more critical view of happiness. Our world is full of suffering and despair, so some ask: “Can we truly be happy on this earth?” Reflect on this question and make the argument for your position. Be sure to provide evidence from your own experiences and those of others. 

In dystopian stories, authorities often restrict people’s knowledge to keep them happy. We are seeing this even today, with some governments withholding crucial information to keep the population satisfied or stable. Write about whether you believe what they are doing is defensible or not, and provide evidence to support your point. 

For help with this topic, read our guide explaining “what is persuasive writing ?”

For help picking your next essay topic, check out our top essay topics about love .

happiness life essay

Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.

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Essay on Happiness

List of essays on happiness, essay on happiness – short essay (essay 1 – 150 words), essay on happiness – for kids and children (essay 2 – 200 words), essay on happiness – 10 lines on happiness written in english (essay 3 – 250 words), essay on happiness (essay 4 – 300 words), essay on happiness – ways to be happy (essay 5 – 400 words), essay on happiness – for school students (class 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 standard) (essay 6 – 500 words), essay on happiness – ways of developing happiness (essay 7 – 600 words), essay on happiness – sources of suffering, happiness and conclusion (essay 8 – 750 words), essay on happiness – long essay on happiness (essay 9 – 1000 words).

Happiness is defined by different people in different ways. When we feel positive emotions we tend to feel happy. That is what happiness is all about. Happiness is also regarded as the mental state of a person in an optimistic manner.

Every person defines happiness in his/her own manner. In whatever manner you may define happiness; the truth is that it is vital for a healthy and prosperous life.

In order to make students understand what true happiness is all about, we have prepared short essays for students which shall enlighten them further on this topic.

Audience: The below given essays are exclusively written for school students (Class 3, 4 ,5, 6 and 7 Standard).


Happiness is a state of mind and the feeling expressed when things are going great. It is what we feel when we get our first car, buy a new house or graduate with the best grades. Happiness should be distinguished from joy. When joy is a constant state of mind, happiness depends on events in our lives.

Importance of Happiness:

The opposite of happiness is sadness which is a state of negativity in the mindset. When we remain sad for an extended period of time it can lead to depression. To avoid this state of mind we must always remind ourselves of happenings in our lives that made us happy.


Though life throws countless challenges at us on a daily basis, if we drown in those challenges we would definitely become depressed. It is important that we find positive things in our daily lives to get excited about and feel the happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind which makes you feel accomplished in life and having everything in this world without a single reason to repent. Well, although there can be no perfect definition of happiness; happiness is when you feel you’re at the top of the world where a sense of complete satisfaction prevails.

The meaning of happiness is relative and varies from people to people. For some, happiness is when you experience professional success, reunions with family and friends, eating out, reading books or watching good movies. While for others, happiness can be accomplished by some weekend activities which might help you de-stress and get the satisfaction of mind.

If you involve yourself in social activities where you help the needy and provide support to the weaker section of the society, you can experience happiness if not anything else. When a young boy flies a kite, plays with mud, and watches the nature, for him, that is the greatest happiness in the world.

The happiness of mind is often considered quite contrary to jealousy and anger which you experience once you have failed or unaccomplished any desired goal. You should always try to rehearse the ways of keeping yourself satisfied and keeping away from negativity to experience peace and happiness in life. True happiness begins where desire ends!

What is happiness? It is a state of being happy. But it does not mean to be happy all the time. Happiness is a feeling of something good that is happening in our life. We feel happy when we achieve something. But happiness is spread when our dear one is happy as well. Some people find true happiness in playing with their pets, while some may find happiness in staying engaged in creative work.

Happiness is often derived from channelizing thoughts to positive thinking. However, it is not as simple as it may sound.

To achieve the state of complete happiness one has to practice on improving the state of life by:

1. Staying contended in life with what you have. Cribbing and grumbling never lead to happiness.

2. Staying focused on the current life instead of daydreaming of the good days or old days.

3. Stop blaming for something that went terribly wrong in life. The life is all about moving on. Stop worrying and set new goals in life.

4. Being thankful to God for all the good things that you have in your life.

5. Having good people around you who can boost up positivity in your life.

Everyone desires to be happy in life. Happiness cannot be achieved without establishing complete control of one’s thoughts as it is very easy to be carried away by the waves of thoughts and emotions surrounding us. Remind yourself of the good things of your life and be thankful about it.

What is happiness? Some would state that happiness implies being well off. Others would state that for them, happiness intends to be sound. You will discover individuals saying that for them happiness implies having love in their life, having numerous companions, a great job, or accomplishing a specific objective. There are individuals, who trust that the want of a specific wish would make happiness in their life; however, it may not be so. Having true happiness is something which is desired by all.

The Path to Happiness:

There are small things which when incorporated into our daily lives, can lead us to the path of happiness. For instance, instead of thinking about problems, we should actually be thinking about the solutions. Not only will we be happier but we shall also be able to solve our problems faster. Similarly, once in a while, you start the day with the longing to achieve a few targets. Toward the day’s end, you may feel disappointed and miserable, in light of the fact that you haven’t possessed the capacity to do those things. Take a look at what you have done, not at what you have not possessed the capacity to do. Regularly, regardless of whether you have achieved a ton amid the day, you let yourself feel disappointed, due to some minor assignments you didn’t achieve. This takes away happiness from you.

Again, now and then, you go throughout the day effectively completing numerous plans, yet as opposed to feeling cheerful and fulfilled, you see what was not cultivated and feel troubled. It is out of line towards you.

Each day accomplishes something good which you enjoy doing. It may tend to be something little, such as purchasing a book, eating something you cherish, viewing your most loved program on TV, heading out to a motion picture, or simply having a walk around the shoreline. Even small things can bring great levels of happiness in our lives and motivate us for new goals.

Happiness is not what you feel from outside, rather it is something which comes from your inner soul. We should find happiness in us rather than searching for it in worldly desires.

Happiness is defined by different people in different ways. Some find happiness in having a luxurious life while some find it in having loving people around them rather than money. True happiness lies within us and our expectation of happiness. It is something that should be felt and cannot be explained in words.

Even though this simple word has a lot of meaning hidden in it, many fail to understand the real one or feel the real happiness. Finding happiness in the outer world is the main reason for this failure. Nothing can buy you happiness, whether be the favorite thing you desire for or the person you love the most or the career you build, unless and until you feel it within yourself.

Ways to be Happy:

Bring happiness and soulful life to yourself rather than expecting it from the outside world like things, money, etc. Being happy is not as easy as advised to be one happier person. To be content and happy with whatever you have and yourself it takes time and patience. You should practice to be a happier person in all moments and eventually you will notice that no sorrow can sink you down.

Whatever good or bad happened in your past shouldn’t bother your present. Learn to live today with more happiness than yesterday and forget about your past sadness for a harmonious life. Thankfulness to the life you got is another important character you should acquire to be happy. If you compare yourself with someone with better luxurious life, then you will never be happy or content and do it the other way.

Don’t depress your mind with bad and negative thoughts about yourself and around. Try to find every goodness in a situation you face and accept the things that already happened, whether good or bad. Never forget to choose merrier and positive people to be closer to you so that their vibes will also help you in being one merrier person.

Whenever you feel low and depressed never hesitate to go to those around you to find happiness. But be aware of those negative ones that may pull you even deeper into the bad thoughts. Always surround yourself with positive thinking and motivating people so that you can rise higher even from the deepest fall.

Happiness is nothing but a feeling that will be seeded into your soul only if you wish to and nothing other than yourself can indulge this feeling in you. Don’t spoil your life finding happiness somewhere else.

Happiness is a very complicated thing. Happiness can be used both in emotional or mental state context and can vary largely from a feeling from contentment to very intense feeling of joy. It can also mean a life of satisfaction, good well-being and so many more. Happiness is a very difficult phenomenon to use words to describe as it is something that can be felt only. Happiness is very important if we want to lead a very good life. Sadly, happiness is absent from the lives of a lot of people nowadays. We all have our own very different concept of happiness. Some of us are of the opinion that we can get happiness through money, others believe they can only get true happiness in relationships, some even feel that happiness can only be gotten when they are excelling in their profession.

As we might probably know, happiness is nothing more than the state of one being content and happy. A lot of people in the past, present and some (even in the future will) have tried to define and explain what they think happiness really is. So far, the most reasonable one is the one that sees happiness as something that can only come from within a person and should not be sought for outside in the world.

Some very important points about happiness are discussed below:

1. Happiness can’t be bought with Money:

A lot of us try to find happiness where it is not. We associate and equate money with happiness. If at all there is happiness in money then all of the rich people we have around us would never feel sad. What we have come to see is that even the rich amongst us are the ones that suffer depression, relationship problems, stress, fear and even anxiousness. A lot of celebrities and successful people have committed suicide, this goes a long way to show that money or fame does not guarantee happiness. This does not mean that it is a bad thing to be rich and go after money. When you have money, you can afford many things that can make you and those around you very happy.

2. Happiness can only come from within:

There is a saying that explains that one can only get true happiness when one comes to the realisation that only one can make himself/herself happy. We can only find true happiness within ourselves and we can’t find it in other people. This saying and its meaning is always hammered on in different places but we still refuse to fully understand it and put it into good use. It is very important that we understand that happiness is nothing more than the state of a person’s mind. Happiness cannot come from all the physical things we see around us. Only we through our positive emotions that we can get through good thoughts have the ability to create true happiness.

Our emotions are created by our thoughts. Therefore, it is very important that we work on having only positive thoughts and this can be achieved when we see life in a positive light.

Happiness is desired by every person. However, there are very few persons that attain happiness easily in life.

It is quite tough to get happiness in life as people usually link it with the things and the people around them. The simple fact is that happiness usually starts as well as finishes with your own life. All those people who understand this fact easily get the true happiness in their life.

Happiness in Relationships:

There are lots of people who link happiness with the money and there are few others also who link it with the personal relations. It is very important to know that if you are not happy with yourself then, it is not possible to remain happy in your relationship as well.

The problems in the relationship have been increasing speedily and the main cause behind it is the huge amount of expectation that we have from the other individual. We always want them to make us feel happy. For example, some people feel happy if their partner plans a surprise for them or if he/she buy them a new dress. But all these things are not a true source of happiness in life.

Ways of Developing Happiness:

The lack of happiness in the relationship not only exists in couples but also in the relationship of friends, sister – brother or parent-child.

The following are the few ways that help in creating happiness in the relationships:

1. Pay Attention to Yourself:

You should always pay attention to yourself to get happiness. You should not give importance to any other person in your life in comparison to yourself and also expect the same from that person. Giving too much importance to the other and not receiving anything back from them makes a person disappointed and happiness gets lost.

2. Have some Initiative:

You can make the plan of traveling outside yourself. Don’t wait for your parent, partner or kid to take you outside. You can ask them to come along with you if they want. But, if they decline your offer then, don’t get discouraged and carry on your trip plan along with full happiness.

3. Provide some Space:

It is necessary to provide some amount of space to every individual and spend some time with oneself. It helps in creating happiness.

Happiness is Necessary for Good Life:

It does not matter that whether you are a working expert, a schoolchild, a retired person or a housewife, happiness is necessary for everybody to live a good and happy life. Happiness is essential for an individual’s emotional comfort. A person who is not fit emotionally will feel an impact on his complete health that will drain very soon.

Unluckily, despite the fact that happiness is tremendously necessary, people do not give so much importance to all those habits which can keep them happy. They are so excessively captivated inside their professional lives as well as other nuts and bolts of life that they overlook to relish the happy memories of their life. It is also the main reason that problems like anxiety, stress, and depression are increasing gradually in people’s lives today.

Happiness is an internal feeling. It is a healthy emotion. Happiness helps us to stay fit both mentally and physically. Happiness helps in lowering stress and keeping away from any health issues. The reason of happiness may be different for different person. You just need to find out what actually makes you happy. So, if you want real happiness in life then, you need to understand that only you can make yourself happy.

“There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way” this sentence has been attributed to Buddha. Well, at least that’s what it says on one sticker in my dorm room. The fact is that man has occupied himself with the path to happiness for millennia. Something happened during our evolution that made us deeply question the purpose of our existence. People like Buddha are part of the answer, or at least they try to give us the answer.

Since these questions have troubled us there have been many who sought to answer them and by doing so, they formed philosophies and religions. The search for earthly happiness will make many do incredible deeds but if this energy is used in the wrong way it can cause great suffering. How can we know which recipe for happiness is the best one and what we should devote our time and attention to? The trick is, there is no right answer and as the first sentence of this essay states, there is no way to be happy because being happy is the way. That’s how I got my head around this problem, let me explain some more.

Source of Suffering:

At the expense of sounding Buddhist, when you think about most of the things that make us unhappy are material in nature. They are the things that we really do not need but they make us feel happy. This notion is not just something the wise man from the 6 th century BC India expressed but many more have said this before and after him. Socrates and Jesus to name just a few.

What I find interesting in the struggle for happiness is the paradox present in the instructions to reach it. One has a  thought all through life to be good and hard working so he can get the things he wants and needs later on in life but then as you start to struggle for the money you realize that your life is turning into a money grabbing game. So, the source of happiness and stability becomes the source of all your anxiety and aggression. Naturally, we can see how some people thought that all material things stand on the path to our happiness.

But what about the immaterial, what if you are in love with someone you are not supposed to love? The above instruction would tell you to surrender your heart’s desire and you will be free from constraints. Is this happiness? Or is it the struggle to do and achieve the impossible the real source of happiness?

Source of Happiness:

People often forget that they are animals and like all of them they have a logic to their nature and their own specific needs. Like all the other animal’s people are caught in the struggle for existence and sometimes surviving the day can be a real ordeal if you get caught in the wrong circumstances. Men has made himself safe from most of the things that could have harmed him in nature but in doing so he forgot what he has made.

Think about the present from a historical perspective. Even a hundred years ago most people lost up to 80% of all their children to diseases, clean water was a rarity for most of our existence, and people actually had to labor to make food and to have enough to feed their family all through the year. The fact is we have a lot to be grateful for in the present age and the fact that some of us are unhappy because we do not have all our heart’s desires is just a symptom of collective infancy. Having all of your loved ones around you, with a roof to shelter under and with lots of delicious food is the only source of happiness man needs everything else should just be a bonus.

Happiness cannot be found by rejecting everything that is material or by earning more money then you can spend. The trick is to find balance by looking at yourself and the lives of people around you and by understanding that there is a lot to be grateful for, the trick is to stop searching for a path and to understand that we are already walking on one. As long as we are making any type of list of the prerequisite for our life of happiness, we will end up unsatisfied because life does not grant wishes we are the ones that make them come true. Often the biggest change in our lives comes from a simple change of perspective rather than from anything we can own.

Happiness is the state of emotional wellbeing and being contented. Happiness is expressed through joyful moments and smiles. It is a desirable feeling that everybody want to have at all times. Being happy is influenced by situations, achievements and other circumstances. Happiness is an inner quality that reflects on the state of mind. A peaceful state of mind is considered to be happiness. The emotional state of happiness is mixture of feelings of joy, satisfaction, gratitude, euphoria and victory.

How happiness is achieved:

Happiness is achieved psychologically through having a peaceful state of mind. By a free state of mind, I mean that there should be no stressful factors to think about. Happiness is also achieved through accomplishment of goals that are set by individuals. There is always happiness that accompanies success and they present feelings of triumph and contentment.

To enable personal happiness in life, it is important that a person puts himself first and have good self-perception. Putting what makes you happy first, instead of putting other people or other things first is a true quest towards happiness. In life, people tend to disappoint and putting them as a priority always reduces happiness for individuals. There is also the concept of practicing self-love and self-acceptance. Loving oneself is the key to happiness because it will mean that it will not be hard to put yourself first when making decisions.

It is important for an individual to control the thoughts that goes on in their heads. A peaceful state of mind is achieved when thoughts are at peace. It is recommended that things that cause a stressful state of mind should be avoided.

Happiness is a personal decision that is influenced by choices made. There is a common phrase on happiness; “happiness is a choice” which is very true because people choose if they want to be happy or not. Happiness is caused by circumstances and people have the liberty to choose those circumstance and get away from those that make them unhappy.

Happiness is also achieved through the kind of support system that an individual has. Having a family or friends that are supportive will enable the achievement of happiness. Communicating and interacting with the outside world is important.

Factors Affecting Happiness:

Sleep patterns influence the state of mind thus influence happiness. Having enough sleep always leads to happy mornings and a good state of mind for rest of the day. Sleep that is adequate also affects the appearance of a person. There is satisfaction that comes with having enough sleep. Enough rest increases performance and productivity of an individual and thus more successes and achievements are realized and happiness is experienced.

Another factor affecting happiness is the support network of an individual. A strong support network of family and friends results in more happiness. Establishing good relationships with neighbors, friends and family through regular interactions brings more happiness to an individual. With support network, the incidences of stressful moments will be reduced because your family and friends will always be of help.

Sexual satisfaction has been established to affect happiness. It is not just about getting the right partner anymore. It is about having a partner that will satisfy you sexually. There is a relationship between sex and happiness because of the hormones secreted during sexual intercourse. The hormone is called oxytocin and responsible for the happiness due to sexual satisfaction. Satisfaction also strengthens the relationships between the partners and that creates happiness.

Wealth also plays a significant role in happiness. There is a common phrase that is against money and happiness: “money cannot buy happiness” is this true? Personally, I believe that being financially stable contributes to happiness because you will always have peace of mind and many achievements. Peace of mind is possible for wealthy people because they do not have stressors here and then compared to poor people. Also, when a person is wealthy, they can afford to engage in luxurious activities that relaxes the mind and create happiness. For a person to be wealthy, they will have had many achievements in life. These achievement make them happy.

A good state of health is an important factor that influences the happiness of individuals. A healthy person will be happy because there are no worries of diseases or pain that they are experiencing. When a person is healthy, their state of mind is at peace because they are not afraid of death or any other health concerns. Not only the health of individuals is important, but also the health of the support system of the person. Friends and family’s state of health will always have an impact on what we feel as individuals because we care about them and we get worried whenever they are having bad health.

Communication and interactions are important in relation to an individual’s happiness. Having a support system is not enough because people need to communicate and interact freely. Whenever there are interactions like a social gathering where people talk and eat together, more happiness is experienced. This concept is witnessed in parties because people are always laughing and smiling in parties whenever they are with friends.

Communication is key to happiness because it helps in problem solving and relieving stressors in life. Sharing experiences with a support system creates a state of wellbeing after the solution is sought. Sometime when I am sad, I take my phone and call a friend or a family member and by the time the phone call is over, I always feel better and relieved of my worries.

Happiness is an important emotion that influences how we live and feel on a daily basis. Happiness is achieved in simple ways. People have the liberty to choose happiness because we are not bound by any circumstances for life. Factors that influence happiness are those that contribute to emotional wellbeing. Physical wellbeing also affects happiness. Every individual finds happiness in their own because they know what makes them happy and what doesn’t.

Emotions , Happiness , Psychology

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What is the key to finding happiness? The Harvard community explores the physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of living a life filled with joy.

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Learn how to be happy

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Learn how the origins of joy can improve the way we lead organizations—and our personal lives.

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Research shows that short writing exercises reliving happy moments boosted the moods of adults recovering from addiction.

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What Is Happiness?

Defining Happiness, and How to Become Happier

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

happiness life essay

Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change.

happiness life essay

Verywell/ Jiaqi Zhou

How to Cultivate Happiness

How to be a happier person.

Happiness is something that people seek to find, yet what defines happiness can vary from one person to the next. Typically, happiness is an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. While happiness has many different definitions, it is often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction. 

When most people talk about the true meaning of happiness, they might be talking about how they feel in the present moment or referring to a more general sense of how they feel about life overall.

Because happiness tends to be such a broadly defined term, psychologists and other social scientists typically use the term ' subjective well-being ' when they talk about this emotional state. Just as it sounds, subjective well-being tends to focus on an individual's overall personal feelings about their life in the present.  

Two key components of happiness (or subjective well-being) are:

  • The balance of emotions: Everyone experiences both positive and negative emotions, feelings, and moods. Happiness is generally linked to experiencing more positive feelings than negative ones.
  • Life satisfaction: This relates to how satisfied you feel with different areas of your life including your relationships, work, achievements, and other things that you consider important.

Another definition of happiness comes from the ancient philosopher Aristotle, who suggested that happiness is the one human desire, and all other human desires exist as a way to obtain happiness. He believed that there were four levels of happiness: happiness from immediate gratification, from comparison and achievement, from making positive contributions, and from achieving fulfillment. 

Happiness, Aristotle suggested, could be achieved through the golden mean, which involves finding a balance between deficiency and excess.

Signs of Happiness

While perceptions of happiness may be different from one person to the next, there are some key signs that psychologists look for when measuring and assessing happiness.

Some key signs of happiness include:

  • Feeling like you are living the life you wanted
  • Going with the flow and a willingness to take life as it comes
  • Feeling that the conditions of your life are good
  • Enjoying positive, healthy relationships with other people
  • Feeling that you have accomplished (or will accomplish) what you want in life
  • Feeling satisfied with your life
  • Feeling positive more than negative
  • Being open to new ideas and experiences
  • Practicing self-care and treating yourself with kindness and compassion
  • Experiencing gratitude
  • Feeling that you are living life with a sense of meaning and purpose
  • Wanting to share your happiness and joy with others

One important thing to remember is that happiness isn't a state of constant euphoria . Instead, happiness is an overall sense of experiencing more positive emotions than negative ones.

Happy people still feel the whole range of human emotions—anger, frustrastion, boredom, loneliness, and even sadness—from time to time. But even when faced with discomfort, they have an underlying sense of optimism that things will get better, that they can deal with what is happening, and that they will be able to feel happy again.

Types of Happiness

There are many different ways of thinking about happiness. For example, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle made a distinction between two different kinds of happiness: hedonia and eudaimonia.

  • Hedonia: Hedonic happiness is derived from pleasure. It is most often associated with doing what feels good, self-care, fulfilling desires, experiencing enjoyment, and feeling a sense of satisfaction.
  • Eudaimonia: This type of happiness is derived from seeking virtue and meaning. Important components of eudaimonic well-being including feeling that your life has meaning, value, and purpose. It is associated more with fulfilling responsibilities, investing in long-term goals, concern for the welfare of other people, and living up to personal ideals.

Hedonia and eudemonia are more commonly known today in psychology as pleasure and meaning, respectively. More recently, psychologists have suggested the addition of the third component that relates to engagement . These are feelings of commitment and participation in different areas of life.

Research suggests that happy people tend to rank pretty high on eudaimonic life satisfaction and better than average on their hedonic life satisfaction.  

All of these can play an important role in the overall experience of happiness, although the relative value of each can be highly subjective. Some activities may be both pleasurable and meaningful, while others might skew more one way or the other.

For example, volunteering for a cause you believe in might be more meaningful than pleasurable. Watching your favorite tv show, on the other hand, might rank lower in meaning and higher on pleasure.

Some types of happiness that may fall under these three main categories include:

  • Joy: A often relatively brief feeling that is felt in the present moment
  • Excitement: A happy feeling that involves looking forward to something with positive anticipation
  • Gratitude: A positive emotion that involves being thankful and appreciative
  • Pride: A feeling of satisfaction in something that you have accomplished
  • Optimism: This is a way of looking at life with a positive, upbeat outlook
  • Contentment: This type of happiness involves a sense of satisfaction

While some people just tend to be naturally happier, there are things that you can do to cultivate your sense of happiness. 

Pursue Intrinsic Goals 

Achieving goals that you are intrinsically motivated to pursue, particularly ones that are focused on personal growth and community, can help boost happiness. Research suggests that pursuing these types of intrinsically-motivated goals can increase happiness more than pursuing extrinsic goals like gaining money or status.  

Enjoy the Moment

Studies have found that people tend to over earn—they become so focused on accumulating things that they lose track of actually enjoying what they are doing.  

So, rather than falling into the trap of mindlessly accumulating to the detriment of your own happiness, focus on practicing gratitude for the things you have and enjoying the process as you go. 

Reframe Negative Thoughts

When you find yourself stuck in a pessimistic outlook or experiencing negativity, look for ways that you can reframe your thoughts in a more positive way. 

People have a natural negativity bias , or a tendency to pay more attention to bad things than to good things. This can have an impact on everything from how you make decisions to how you form impressions of other people. Discounting the positive—a cognitive distortion where people focus on the negative and ignore the positive—can also contribute to negative thoughts.

Reframing these negative perceptions isn't about ignoring the bad. Instead, it means trying to take a more balanced, realistic look at events. It allows you to notice patterns in your thinking and then challenge negative thoughts.

Impact of Happiness

Why is happiness so important? Happiness has been shown to predict positive outcomes in many different areas of life including mental well-being, physical health, and overall longevity.

  • Positive emotions increase satisfaction with life.
  • Happiness helps people build stronger coping skills and emotional resources.
  • Positive emotions are linked to better health and longevity. One study found that people who experienced more positive emotions than negative ones were more likely to have survived over a 13 year period.
  • Positive feelings increase resilience. Resilience helps people better manage stress and bounce back better when faced with setbacks. For example, one study found that happier people tend to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and that these benefits tend to persist over time.
  • People who report having a positive state of well-being are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors such as eating fruits and vegetables and engaging in regular physical exercise.
  • Being happy may make help you get sick less often. Happier mental states are linked to increased immunity.

Some people seem to have a naturally higher baseline for happiness—one large-scale study of more than 2,000 twins suggested that around 50% of overall life satisfaction was due to genetics, 10% to external events, and 40% to individual activities.

So while you might not be able to control what your “base level” of happiness is, there are things that you can do to make your life happier and more fulfilling. Even the happiest of individuals can feel down from time to time and happiness is something that all people need to consciously pursue.

Cultivate Strong Relationships

Social support is an essential part of well-being. Research has found that good social relationships are the strongest predictor of happiness. Having positive and supportive connections with people you care about can provide a buffer against stress, improve your health, and help you become a happier person.

In the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a longitudinal study that looked at participants over 80 years, researchers found that relationships and how happy people are in those relationships strongly impacted overall health.

So if you are trying to improve your happiness, cultivating solid social connections is a great place to start. Consider deepening your existing relationships and explore ways to make new friends. 

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is good for both your body and mind. Physical activity is linked to a range of physical and psychological benefits including improved mood. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise may play a role in warding off symptoms of depression, but evidence also suggests that it may also help make people happier, too.

In one analysis of past research on the connection between physical activity and happiness, researchers found a consistent positive link.  

Even a little bit of exercise produces a happiness boost—people who were physically active for as little as 10 minutes a day or who worked out only once a week had higher levels of happiness than people who never exercised.

Show Gratitude

In one study, participants were asked to engage in a writing exercise for 10 to 20 minutes each night before bed.   Some were instructed to write about daily hassles, some about neutral events, and some about things they were grateful for. The results found that people who had written about gratitude had increase positive emotions, increased subjective happiness, and improve life satisfaction.

As the authors of the study suggest, keeping a gratitude list is a relatively easy, affordable, simple, and pleasant way to boost your mood. Try setting aside a few minutes each night to write down or think about things in your life that you are grateful for.

Find a Sense of Purpose

Research has found that people who feel like they have a purpose have better well-being and feel more fulfilled.   A sense of purpose involves seeing your life as having goals, direction, and meaning. It may help improve happiness by promoting healthier behaviors. 

Some things you can do to help find a sense of purpose include:

  • Explore your interests and passions
  • Engage in prosocial and altruistic causes
  • Work to address injustices
  • Look for new things you might want to learn more about

This sense of purpose is influenced by a variety of factors, but it is also something that you can cultivate. It involves finding a goal that you care deeply about that will lead you to engage in productive, positive actions in order to work toward that goal.

Press Play for Advice On Reaching Your Dreams

Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast , featuring best-selling author Dave Hollis, shares how to create your best life. Click below to listen now.

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Challenges of Finding Happiness

While seeking happiness is important, there are times when the pursuit of life satisfaction falls short. Some challenges to watch for include:

Valuing the Wrong Things

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but there is research that spending money on things like experiences can make you happier than spending it on material possessions. 

One study, for example, found that spending money on things that buy time—such as spending money on time-saving services—can increase happiness and life satisfaction.  

Rather than overvaluing things such as money, status, or material possessions, pursuing goals that result in more free time or enjoyable experiences may have a higher happiness reward.

Not Seeking Social Support

Social support means having friends and loved ones that you can turn to for support. Research has found that perceived social support plays an important role in subjective well-being. For example, one study found that perceptions of social support were responsible for 43% of a person's level of happiness.  

It is important to remember that when it comes to social support, quality is more important than quantity. Having just a few very close and trusted friends will have a greater impact on your overall happiness than having many casual acquaintances.

Thinking of Happiness as an Endpoint

Happiness isn’t a goal that you can simply reach and be done with. It is a constant pursuit that requires continual nurturing and sustenance.

One study found that people who tend to value happiness most also tended to feel the least satisfied with their lives.   Essentially, happiness becomes such a lofty goal that it becomes virtually unattainable. 

“Valuing happiness could be self-defeating because the more people value happiness, the more likely they will feel disappointed,” suggest the authors of the study.

Perhaps the lesson is to not make something as broadly defined as “happiness” your goal. Instead, focus on building and cultivating the sort of life and relationships that bring fulfillment and satisfaction to your life. 

It is also important to consider how you personally define happiness. Happiness is a broad term that means different things to different people. Rather than looking at happiness as an endpoint, it can be more helpful to think about what happiness really means to you and then work on small things that will help you become happier. This can make achieving these goals more manageable and less overwhelming.

History of Happiness

Happiness has long been recognized as a critical part of health and well-being. The "pursuit of happiness" is even given as an inalienable right in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Our understanding of what will bring happiness, however, has shifted over time.

Psychologists have also proposed a number of different theories to explain how people experience and pursue happiness. These theories include:

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

The hierarchy of needs suggests that people are motivated to pursue increasingly complex needs. Once more basic needs are fulfilled, people are then motivated by more psychological and emotional needs.

At the peak of the hierarchy is the need for self-actualization, or the need to achieve one's full potential. The theory also stresses the importance of peak experiences or transcendent moments in which a person feels deep understanding, happiness, and joy. 

Positive Psychology

The pursuit of happiness is central to the field of positive psychology . Psychologists who study positive psychology are interested in learning ways to increase positivity and helping people live happier, more satisfying lives. 

Rather than focusing on mental pathologies, the field instead strives to find ways to help people, communities, and societies improve positive emotions and achieve greater happiness.

Finley K, Axner M, Vrooman K, Tse D. Ideal levels of prosocial involvement in relation to momentary affect and eudaimonia: Exploring the golden mean . Innov Aging . 2020;4(Suppl 1):614. doi:10.1093/geroni/igaa057.2083

Kringelbach ML, Berridge KC. The neuroscience of happiness and pleasure .  Soc Res (New York) . 2010;77(2):659-678.

Panel on Measuring Subjective Well-Being in a Policy-Relevant Framework; Committee on National Statistics; Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council; Stone AA, Mackie C, editors. Subjective Well-Being: Measuring Happiness, Suffering, and Other Dimensions of Experience [Internet]. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US).

Lee MA, Kawachi I. The keys to happiness: Associations between personal values regarding core life domains and happiness in South Korea . PLoS One . 2019;14(1):e0209821. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0209821

Hsee CK, Zhang J, Cai CF, Zhang S. Overearning . Psychol Sci . 2013;24(6):852-9

Carstensen LL, Turan B, Scheibe S, et al. Emotional experience improves with age: evidence based on over 10 years of experience sampling . Psychol Aging . 2011;26(1):21‐33. doi:10.1037/a0021285

Steptoe A, Wardle J. Positive affect and biological function in everyday life . Neurobiol Aging . 2005;26 Suppl 1:108‐112. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2005.08.016

Sapranaviciute-Zabazlajeva L, Luksiene D, Virviciute D, Bobak M, Tamosiunas A. L ink between healthy lifestyle and psychological well-being in Lithuanian adults aged 45-72: a cross-sectional study . BMJ Open . 2017;7(4):e014240. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014240

Costanzo ES, Lutgendorf SK, Kohut ML, et al. Mood and cytokine response to influenza virus in older adults . J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci . 2004;59(12):1328‐1333. doi:10.1093/gerona/59.12.1328

Lyubomirsky S, Sheldon KM, Schkade D. Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change . Review of General Psychology. 2005;9 (2):111–131. doi:0.1037/1089-2680.9.2.111

The Harvard Gazette. Good genes are nice, but joy is better .

Zhang Z, Chen W. A systematic review of the relationship between physical activity and happiness . J Happiness Stud 20, 1305–1322 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-018-9976-0

Cunha LF, Pellanda LC, Reppold CT. Positive psychology and gratitude interventions: a randomized clinical trial . Front Psychol . 2019;10:584. Published 2019 Mar 21. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00584

Ryff CD. Psychological well-being revisited: advances in the science and practice of eudaimonia . Psychother Psychosom . 2014;83(1):10‐28. doi:10.1159/000353263

Whillans AV, Dunn EW, Smeets P, Bekkers R, Norton MI. Buying time promotes happiness .  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A . 2017;114(32):8523‐8527. doi:10.1073/pnas.1706541114

Gulacti F. The effect of perceived social support on subjective well-being . Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences . 2010;2(2):3844-3849. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.602

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By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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What Is Happiness? – My Essay On Defining Your Happiness

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Updated on July 11, 2023

What is happiness essay featured image

Happiness is probably the most pursued factor in life, above wealth, health, and good relationships. We all want to be happy, above everything else, right? Who cares about money when you’re not happy? Who cares about friends when you’re not happy with who you are? Who cares about good health if you’re lonely and depressed?

Happiness is the thing that most people want, yet it is one of the most difficult aspects of life to quantify. How do we measure happiness? How do we define happiness? What is happiness!? This is an essay that explores the many different faces of happiness. As you’ll learn, happiness doesn’t have a single universal definition. Its definition is unique for every single human being out there. Including you.

After reading this essay, you’ll know exactly what happiness is, how to define it for yourself, and even how to find it based on actionable advice.

Definition of happiness

Happiness synonyms, different kinds of happiness, a happy balance, why eternal happiness doesn’t exist, why eternal happiness can still be pursued, defining your own happiness, closing words, what is happiness.

Before starting this essay about happiness, we must at least have a broad idea of what happiness is. Let’s first have a look at how happiness is defined across the web.

Definitions of happiness vary quite a bit across multiple sources. Google thinks happiness is defined as follows:

The state of being happy

happiness definition google

You can see how Google is pretty vague about the definition of happiness. Furthermore, it quickly follows with a long list of synonyms.

Wikipedia has a much more interesting definition of what happiness is.

The feeling of an emotion such as pleasure or joy, the appraisal of life satisfaction or the quality of life, subjective well-being and eudaimonia.

happiness definition wikipedia

Lesson learned? It is really difficult to find a universally correct and agreed-upon definition of what happiness really is.

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Think of all the synonyms that we use to describe feelings that are similar to happiness.

What I like about Google is that it shows synonyms of happiness to people that are looking for its definition.

It’s like they’re saying: “Hey, we don’t know exactly how to define happiness, but here are a couple of concepts that we believe are very much similar!”

The list of synonyms is quite big:

  • Contentment
  • Satisfaction
  • Carefreeness

I think there is a lot we can learn just from the fact that happiness has so many synonyms.

Why? Because these synonyms are all specific variants of what happiness means to me. And I bet you feel the same.

All these different emotions are part of what happiness truly is. And that’s what makes happiness so incredibly difficult to define and measure. It’s a weighted average of all these different synonyms, and the equation of happiness truly changes per person . I’ll even go as far as to say that the happiness equation changes per person per day.

If pleasure makes me happy today, it doesn’t mean that that same amount of pleasure makes me happy tomorrow.

If short-term satisfaction made me happy yesterday, then it won’t necessarily make me happy next week.

happiness definitions and synonyms

What I want you to realize is that your personal definition of happiness is unique. What makes you happy doesn’t necessarily make another person happy. In fact, your definition of happiness is likely a combination of satisfaction, cheeriness, merriment, and jollity.

But the way you personally define happiness will likely change from day to day as well.

And that’s one of the most critical aspects of happiness. That’s also why it’s supposedly so hard to measure and quantify. Here’s an entire article I wrote recently about how difficult it is to define happiness, but you can still try for yourself !

Still with me? Good, because I’m going to add yet another reason why happiness is such a difficult thing to measure!

There are different kinds of happiness. Not just in the way we define happiness, but also in the way we experience it.

As part of this essay, I want to introduce the concepts of short-term and long-term happiness.

Short-term happiness

Short-term happiness is relatively easy to explain. It’s based on small and easy to obtain, yet rather unsustainable happiness. When looking at the list of happiness synonyms, I think the following concepts are clearly centered around short-term happiness:

You see, short-term happiness is based on the release of the chemical dopamine in our brain . This organic chemical is released whenever we are stimulated by things that please us. Some examples are sex, having a laugh with friends, finishing a race, watching a funny video online, or watching an exciting game of football. A more extreme example is drugs.

These things result in short-term happiness because dopamine is released based on a single event. When this event is over, the pleasure is gone. That’s why I consider this to be short-term happiness.

And then there is long-term happiness.

Long-term happiness

Long-term happiness is a little bit harder to explain because it revolves around other concepts of happiness. Instead of joy, pleasure, and ecstasy, the concepts that make up long-term happiness are:

I hope you can spot the difference here. Long-term happiness is created by feeling happy about your purpose in life, the successes that you’ve had and/or the satisfaction of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Long-term happiness is based on concepts that are not created by a single event. For example, I’m happy at the moment because I’m grateful for the life that I have right now. This happiness is not caused by something I’m doing at this very moment. No, I’m happy because I work hard and have achieved things that I am proud of. I have created a situation in which I am happy by default, without having to rely on single events.

happiness long-term vs short-term balance

Now that you are aware of these two different kinds of happiness, I want you to picture some scenarios.

  • Picture a life in which you spent your youth partying, doing whatever you want to do, using drugs and living without planning for a good future. Sure, you feel pretty happy when doing these things, but you can probably see how this lifestyle will eventually catch up with you, right?

You might have guessed it, but this scenario is focused exclusively on short-term happiness. And the simple fact is that pursuing nothing but short-term happiness does not lead to a sustainable happy life.

Now picture the following scenario:

  • You’re in your early twenties and want to become the next Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. You have great ambitions and are incredibly disciplined and inspired to become everything that you think you can become. You spend an incredible amount of time working on your projects, and you even make sacrifices just for the sake of your goals. You don’t have time for sleep, social activities or relationships. Hell, even your health starts to decline. It doesn’t matter though, because you eventually want to reach your goals, and then you’ll be happy right?

This is another extreme example of happiness. You can probably see how this person is very likely unhappy. He is spending the best years of his life making sacrifices in anticipation of what he eventually wants to become. For a lot of people, this sounds like a logical decision. But to me, this sounds like a huge mistake. You might feel satisfied with the progress you’re making, but are you truly happy? If you get in a fatal car crash tomorrow, would you have any regrets?

I want you to think about this for a moment since a lot of people in industrialized countries have the urge to constantly be planning for the future. And while this is not a bad thing in principle, we often take it too far. As a result, we are constantly sprinting from one deadline to the other. Sure, you want to plan for a happy future, but what’s the point of all of this when you’re not happy in the process itself?

The thing is, these extreme examples are not something that you should want. You can only lead a truly happy life when you actively pursue both short-term and long-term happiness.

It’s important to find out what your perfect balance is.

I’m not here to tell you that you should focus 50% of your attention on short-term happiness and the other 50% on long-term happiness. No. I’m here to tell you that you should be aware of your own happiness. Every single person on this planet has a different definition of happiness. You need to find out what happiness means to you, and how you want to pursue it.

They say happiness is a journey and not a destination. I think happiness can – and should – be both.

For me personally, I often notice how much short-term happiness I’m sacrificing in anticipation of long-term happiness. Some examples:

  • I go out for a long-distance training run in the pouring rain because I want to eventually finish another marathon in 3 months. I don’t even enjoy the long-distance run but I think that it will eventually lead to a great finish time, and thus long-term happiness.
  • Instead of just playing a videogame, I decide to write an essay about my understanding of happiness. Why? Because I think it will grow my website, which will make me happy in the long run.
  • I skip a nice snack because I want to maintain my weight

These are some real examples of how I’ve been sacrificing my short-term happiness for long-term happiness. I want you to think of a couple of examples for yourself. Have you ever made a bad decision that resulted in a decreased level of happiness?

Think about some real scenarios that you’ve experienced and whether you should have acted differently.

I’m not saying that sacrificing short-term happiness for long-term happiness is bad. I just want you to know that you need to find a balance. For example, I do actually want to finish my next marathon within a decent time, but I’m not going to make myself miserable by pushing myself to the limit in preparation. That’s not the balance that I’m after.

The thing is, realizing the difference between short-term and long-term happiness makes it easier for us to pursue happiness in our lives.

Pursue happiness, you ask?

Yes! I believe that happiness can actively be pursued and that you can steer your life in the best direction possible by doing this. However, there are a number of people that believe that pursuing happiness is a loser’s game. These people argue that by pursuing happiness , you’ll be more tempted to choose short-term happiness over long-term happiness. This is where the hedonic treadmill will quickly evaporate whatever happiness you’ve created for yourself.

The hedonic treadmill

Imagine something that you would really like to do right now.

What did you think of? Taking a long warm bath? Drinking wine with your friends? Going to an amusement park?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could do that right now? That would definitely have a positive influence on your happiness, right?

Now think about doing that exact thing every day, for the rest of your life, until the day you die.

Do you think you’d still be happy from doing that same thing after the 10th time? Or the 100th time? Or the 1000th time?

The answer is probably no. Even though this example is extreme, the theory of diminishing returns applies here. When repeated, the effect of the same event on your happiness will diminish to zero. That’s because the norms of what defines your happiness are constantly adapting. Your happiness equation transforms with your changing life, whether it’s for better or worse.

One of the best examples of this hedonic treadmill is the following:

Think of a big salary bump. You receive a raise of 50%! Congratulations, you now have money to spend on all kinds of things that make you and your family happy ! Will that happiness sustain into the future? Unfortunately not. Instead of appreciating the luxury of your raise, you will grow accustomed to this extra money and will slowly take it for granted. This adaptation is known as the hedonic treadmill , and it is generally conceived as the arch-enemy of happiness.

what is happiness essay hedonic treadmill

Now that you know what this hedonic treadmill is, it might seem like a waste of time to continue reading this essay, right?

NO! While the hedonic treadmill is very much real – I’ll never deny that – I don’t want you to think that greater happiness can’t be achieved. You just need to be willing to actively look for it in the right places.

See, nobody on the internet will be able to define happiness for you. What makes you happy is a constantly changing equation that is unique in every way. Why would you believe some scientist when he or she claims that happiness is impossible to pursue? What does that scientist know about you? Nothing!

It’s up to you to define what makes you happy.

How to find your own happiness

By now, you should know 3 things:

  • Your happiness equation is unique. Nobody can tell you what exactly to do in order to be happy.
  • You can pursue both short-term happiness and long-term happiness. The key is to find the perfect balance between the two. You can be happy on the journey towards a happy future.
  • The hedonic treadmill will diminish the effect events have on your happiness over time.

Let’s combine this knowledge. I want you to realize that you can learn more about your own happiness equation. You can find out what it is that makes you happy.

Got it? Good, because the next step is to define what the difference is between short-term and long-term happiness. You have to find out how much you value your happiness on the journey itself and how much of that happiness you want to sacrifice by investing in a potentially happier future.

Now, what if I told you that a perfect balance between long-term and short-term happiness can limit the effect that the hedonic treadmill has on you?

Yes, by consciously varying the pursuit of short-term and long-term happiness, you can vary the factors in your life in a way that leads to greater happiness. If you are aware of your own happiness equation, you’re able to pursue happiness in the areas where it matters the most.

What I want you to do is consider your personal happiness again for a moment.

Think back at the last week, and remember what things or events had a positive influence on your happiness. Think of the things that really made you smile or feel satisfied with where you were or how you acted.

What came to your mind? Was it work? Was it your relationship? Was it that silly movie you watched? Was it a nice sunny day spent outside? It could be literally anything! What I want most of all now is that you realize how you just measured a part of your happiness.

You see, even though happiness is claimed to be the factor of life that’s the most difficult to measure, you can still measure what is currently part of your happiness equation. It’s simple. For me personally, when I think back to yesterday, I remember that I really enjoyed spending time with my girlfriend, walking through the woods on a sunny day, and just relaxing (a.k.a. doing nothing!)

These are happiness factors that were a vital part of my happiness equation yesterday. It was a weekend day after a long and busy week at work, so I was really trying to find some short-term happiness. The things that I did yesterday were perfect, as it was a very happy day for me.

You should not be surprised if I told you that I was consciously trying to be happy by spending my day doing things that satisfied my short-term happiness.

You can do exactly the same. All you need to do is to define your own happiness.

And with that said, I want to conclude this essay about happiness. Happiness is different for every single human being on this planet. If you arrived at this essay without having a clear idea of what happiness is, I hope you now know that your personal happiness can be defined, measured, and quantified. But only YOU can do this, no one else will be able to tell you what happiness really is. If you are willing to actively pursue greater happiness, I believe you can steer your life in the best direction.

Now it’s time to hear from you! How do you define your own happiness right now? What has been your biggest happiness factor last week? Do you think you can learn from your own happiness?

I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!


Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

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Happiness Essay: Definition, Outline & Examples

happiness essay

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A happiness essay is an academic paper that explores the concept of happiness, and how it can be achieved and maintained in our lives. The purpose of a happiness essay is to explore the psychological, social, and cultural factors that contribute to happiness. On this type of essay, students should provide insights into how individuals can cultivate a happy and fulfilling life.

In this article, we will explore the definition of happiness and its various components and outline the key elements of happiness essay structure. Whether you are seeking how to write a happiness essay or want to know more about this feeling, this is the right article. You will also find en example for your inspiration. Struggling with your writing? Say goodbye to stress and let our experts handle your ' write my essay for me ' challenge. Our team of skilled writers is ready to tackle any topic and deliver top-notch papers tailored to your instructions.

What Is a Happiness Essay?

The definition of a happiness essay can differ, but in general, a happiness essay is a paper that examines emotions, experiences, and perspectives related to the pursuit of contentment. Likewise, it may explore the philosophical and psychological aspects of delight and how it is affected by factors like wealth, relationships, and personal circumstances. A happiness essay provides a deeper understanding of enjoyment, how it can be achieved, and its influence on society. It is an opportunity to take readers on a reflective and stimulating journey, exploring the essence of joy. Writing a thematic essay on happiness is also a chance for writers to share their thoughts and observations with other people. Let's dive in and explore what delight really means to you!

Purpose of an Essay on Happiness

The reason for writing an essay about happiness is to explore the concept of delight to understand what it means to different people. For example, many believe it primarily depends on external factors such as wealth, success, or material possessions. However, it can be illustrated that true joy largely comes from internal factors, like one's outlook, personal growth, and relationships, especially with family and friends. A happiness essay helps to dispel common misconceptions about what satisfaction truly is. Writing a paper on this subject can describe a deeper, healthy understanding of this universal pursuit.

Ideas to Write a Happiness Essay on

When you want to write a happiness essay , first, it is important to ask: What is happiness to you? How can it be understood? One approach is to define happiness and examine its various dimensions, such as psychological, emotional, and physiological.  For example, career satisfaction is a crucial factor in achieving contentment. When people enjoy their jobs and feel fulfilled, they tend to report higher levels of delight. It's worth exploring the link between happiness and career satisfaction and how people can find meaning in their work.  Another idea of how to be happy would look at factors like relationships, personal growth, and achievement. Besides, the connection between money and happiness can also be a significant factor in the quality of life. Can you buy satisfaction?  The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental aspect of life, and analyzing its various dimensions can help us gain valuable insights into what leads to a happy life.

Happiness Essay Outline

An outline for a happiness essay serves as a roadmap for writers to keep their paper organized. It helps to break down researched content into manageable sections while ensuring that all necessary information is included.  The essay outline on happiness example might look something like this:

  • Topic definition
  • Topic importance
  • Thesis statement
  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting evidence
  • Concluding sentence, connected to your thesis
  • Summarizing main points
  • Final thoughts and future recommendations
  • Encouraging readers to reflect on their delight

This outline provides a comprehensive format for an essay about happiness, ensuring that articles are well-structured, easy to understand, and cover all the necessary information.

Structure of a Happiness Essay

Happiness essay structure is critical to a successful article because it helps to organize the ideas clearly and coherently. It is easier for readers to follow and understand writers' perspectives on this complex and multifaceted topic if the essay has the following sections: Introduction:  provides context for the topic with a clear thesis statement. Body:  delves into the details while providing evidence to support the thesis. Conclusion:  summarizes the main points while restating the thesis statement in a new way. By following this structure, writers can produce compelling essays on happiness in life that engage and inform readers.

Happiness Essay Introduction

The introduction of a happiness essay is critical to setting the stage for the article’s body. Good introductions should have three key elements: a hook, background information, and a thesis statement.  The hook draws readers in and keeps them engaged, but a boring or generic one may make them lose interest. The background information provides context for the topic and gives the audience a better understanding of why the essay is being written. Lastly, the thesis statement states the writer's stance on contentment, providing a roadmap for the rest of the essay.  An essay about happiness introduction is an important part that sets the tone and lays the foundation for the paper. By following this structure, authors can ensure that the introduction of their paper is well-organized, concise, and effective in drawing the readers into their piece.

Happiness Essay Introduction Example

An introduction to your paper should be engaging, interesting, brief, and to the point. It clearly states the objectives of the research and introduces readers to the key arguments that will be discussed. Here is an example of a happiness essay introduction:

Satisfaction is never a straightforward and easily attainable idea. It has intrigued philosophers, religious figures, and people alike for centuries. Some say contentment is found inside a material wealth lifestyle, and others believe it is a state of mind or a result of spiritual fulfillment. But what is happiness, really? And how can we cultivate it in our own lives?

Happiness Essay Thesis Statement

A happiness essay thesis statement is the backbone of an article and a crucial element in your paper. A good thesis statement about happiness should be arguable, specific, and relevant to the topic. It is important for defining the scope of an article and highlighting its focus while also identifying what it will not cover.  Finally, the thesis statement tells readers the writer's point of view and sets a standard for judging whether the essay achieves its goal. By creating an effective statement, writers can significantly impact their paper's quality by providing direction and focus to the author’s argument.

Happiness Thesis Statement Example

This thesis statement defines the pursuit of delight and outlines its contributing factors. Here is an example of a happiness essay thesis statement sample:

True happiness comes from family, friends, and learning to be content in life, while money can only purchase momentary happiness.

Happiness Essay Body

A happiness body paragraph is a component of the body section of an article that provides evidence, examples, and supporting arguments to develop an essay's central idea. Good paragraphs cover a topic in-depth and engage readers, prompting them to reflect on what brings joy and how to pursue it. A paragraph about happiness should be well-structured and focused, analyzing factors contributing to contentment in a logical and coherent manner. A well-crafted essay body on happiness includes several paragraphs, each focused on specific aspects of enjoyment while supporting an article's overall argument. Following these guidelines, writers can create persuasive essay paragraphs.

Happiness Body Paragraph Example

Body paragraphs should provide a deeper understanding of the topic while engaging readers with relevant, thought-provoking information. Happiness body paragraph example:

Contentment brings a smile to our faces, peace to our hearts, and a skip in our steps. It's what many of us strive for every day, and it turns out it's not just good for our spirits but our health too! Studies have linked contentment to lower stress, reduced risk of heart disease, and elevated life satisfaction. Delight can come from doing what you love, being with loved ones, or having a sense of purpose. Or, it may simply be found in everyday moments like a sunny day, a good meal, or a breathtaking sunset. Although joy can be fleeting and affected by life events, we can still work to cultivate it in our lives.

Happiness Essay Conclusion

A conclusion is the last section of an essay that summarizes the main points while offering a final perspective on the topic. To write a strong conclusion on a happiness essay, consider these key elements: 

  • summarize the main arguments
  • provide closure
  • include a final thought or reflection
  • leave a lasting impression
  • avoid introducing new information.

A good conclusion can make the difference between a forgettable essay and one that stays with the reader long after they've finished. Following these guidelines ensures that your essay conclusion about happiness effectively wraps up the argument and provides readers with memorable final impressions.

Happiness Essay Conclusion Sample

Conclusion helps readers better understand the topic by providing a sense of resolution or insight. Here is an example of a happiness essay conclusion:

In conclusion, delight is a difficult and multi-faceted concept that can influence various factors, including personal relationships, life events, and individual perspectives. The pursuit of contentment is a common initiative for all humans, and it is evident that becoming content requires a perfect balance and order of internal and external factors. This article presents evidence that helps you see clearly that contentment is not a fixed state. It is a journey that needs effort, reflection, and self-awareness to enjoy. I hope this paper has helped you realize a deeper understanding of this topic and become better equipped to embark on your pursuit of joy. 

How to Write an Essay on Happiness?

If you want to write an essay on happiness, remember that it can be a hard yet rewarding experience. Whether you are doing it for a class assignment, a job, a scholarship application, or personal growth, exploring what contentment means to you can be the journey of self-discovery.  You should clearly understand the topic and have a well-structured plan. The steps to effective happiness essay writing include defining satisfaction, conducting research, and organizing thoughts. When writing, it's crucial to consider factors that contribute to delight and obstacles that can hinder the process. Following the steps below, you can craft an article that effectively communicates your perspective on this topic.

1.  Pick a Topic About Happiness

Choosing a topic about happiness essay can be daunting, but with some guidance and creativity, you may find a subject that is both interesting and relevant. When brainstorming for happiness essay topics, follow these steps:

  • Start with a broad idea related to your issue. Narrow the focus to a specific aspect, gather information, list potential cases, evaluate options, refine the matter, and check for relevance to your audience.
  • Gather information, consider the different perspectives, and take note of the arguments you come across.
  • Come up with five to ten potential concerns and evaluate each, asking questions such as if it is interesting, has enough information available, and if you can find a unique approach.
  • Refine your chosen discussion to make it specific, focused, relevant, and interesting to your audience.

2. Do In-Depth Research

Gathering information from credible sources is crucial when writing an essay about happiness. Here are some tips to ensure that you collect accurate and relevant facts:

  • Research from trustworthy sources like academic journals, books by experts, and government websites.
  • Evaluate information's credibility and reliability. When you are reading, take notes on the information that you find. Write down the author, title, and publication date of each source to keep track of your research.
  • Use multiple sources to broaden your understanding of your topic.
  • Organize your research with a citation manager or bibliography.

Following these tips, you can delve into a wealth of credible sources for your happiness essays to elevate your article to new heights of insight.

3. Create an Outline for a Happiness Essay

Crafting an outline is essential in writing an essay on happiness and can give your work the structure and direction it needs to succeed. Here's how to create an effective happiness essay outline:

  • Framework Start by outlining the main sections of your essay - introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Pinpoint your ideas Determine the key points you want to convey in each section.
  • Supplement with specifics Add details that reinforce and support your ideas under each main point.
  • Follow the guide Use the happiness essay outline example above as a starting point, but feel free to customize depending on the situation.

By following these steps and utilizing an essay outline , you'll have a clear map to guide you as you craft your paper, ensuring that your ideas are coherently organized, and your writing flows effortlessly.

4. Write an Essay About Happiness

In this essay about happiness, we will delve into the elusive and complex nature of this emotion. Here is an example to follow when you write your happiness essay.

Contentment is a subjective experience that varies significantly from person to person. It is often considered the ultimate goal of human life, and many people spend their entire lives searching for it. Despite its elusive nature, it is a crucial component of well-being and has been linked to numerous benefits for physical, mental, and emotional health. The reasons to smile or experience joy are varied and can be both internal and external. Some individuals find joy in the simple things in life, like being with family, pursuing their passions, or exploring new experiences. On the other hand, others may find it through accomplishing personal goals, acquiring material goods, or attaining financial security. Nonetheless, it's crucial to keep in mind that these external sources of happiness may not always be possible and may not alleviate suffering. Conversely, true joy comes from within and is characterized by a sense of being content, satisfied, and with purpose. It can be cultivated through mindfulness, gratitude, and self-reflection. By focusing on personal growth, forming meaningful relationships, and finding meaning and purpose in life, individuals, including children, can develop a deep sense of satisfaction that is not dependent on external circumstances and is not easily disturbed by life's problems. In conclusion, delight is a complex and multifaceted experience that both internal and external factors can influence. While external sources can bring temporary joy, true and lasting contentment can only be found within. Individuals can create a foundation for joy that will endure throughout their lives by focusing on personal growth and cultivating a positive mindset.

5. Proofread Your Happiness Essay

When proofreading your happiness essay, make sure to take your time and approach it methodically. Follow these steps:

  • Read through the entire essay to get a sense of its overall structure and flow.
  • Pay close attention to the introduction, as this sets the tone for the entire piece.
  • Look for typos, grammatical errors, and awkward phrasing .
  • Ensure your paragraphs are well-organized, with clear transitions between ideas. Check that your happy essay accurately reflects your thoughts and clearly conveys the message you want.
  • Finally, read the paper out loud to yourself, or have someone else read it to you.

This can help you pick up on any errors that you might have missed during your initial proofreading. Finally, the article will leave a lasting impression on your reader and enhance your credibility as a writer.

Happiness Essay Examples

If you're looking to write truly captivating happiness essays, it's always helpful to seek inspiration from various sources. Consider checking out these excellent essay examples about happiness:  Happiness essay example 1


Essay example about happiness 2

Happiness essay sample 3

Essay on happiness example 4

Example of a happiness essay 5

They offer a rich tapestry of perspectives on what enjoyment truly means. Whether you draw on your own experiences or delve into the experiences of others, a happiness essay example will serve as a valuable resource as you strive to make your mark on this timeless topic.

Happiness Essay Writing Tips

When writing a happiness essay, there are key tips to keep in mind to help you create a compelling piece of work. Here are a few suggestions to get you started in happiness essays writing:

  • Explore the concept from a cultural or historical perspective, looking at how attitudes towards your topic have changed over time across different societies.
  • Consider how relationships, community, and social connections shape our enjoyment. How can these factors interact?
  • Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches, such as positive or negative thinking, mindfulness, and self-care, offering a well-rounded perspective on the topic.
  • Reflect on the connection between happiness and success, considering whether one necessarily leads to the other or can be pursued independently of success.
  • Incorporate humor and lightheartedness into your writing, making your essay entertaining.

By going about integrating these unique tips into your writing day by day, you'll be able to craft essays on happiness that are both original and memorable, capturing the reader's imagination from start to finish. Students can explore a vast range of topics through our platform, from an essay about true friendship  and a  family essay to an illustration essay that will show how to convey complex ideas in a clear and engaging way.

Bottom Line on Happiness Essay Writing

To write a happiness essay, you should consider providing long and in-depth ways to explore what truly brings us joy. Instead of repeating common knowledge, take a personal approach and reflect on the things that delight you. Consider the fact that relationships, gratitude, mindfulness, and activities all contribute to shaping our joy. Your happiness essays should also showcase your introspective side. Examine any challenges or obstacles you have faced in your journey toward contentment. This will make your paper not only unique but also relatable and insightful. The goal is to create a piece that offers a fresh perspective on the concept of happiness and a true reflection of your experiences.


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Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

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The Philosophy of Happiness in Life (+ Aristotle’s View)

The Philosophy of Happiness in Life

We all hope to be happy and live a ‘good life’– whatever that means! Do you wonder, what does it actually mean?

The basic role of ‘philosophy’ is to ask questions, and think about the nature of human thought and the universe. Thus, a discussion of the philosophy of happiness in life can be seen as an examination of the very nature of happiness and what it means for the universe.

Philosophers have been inquiring about happiness since ancient times. Aristotle, when he asked ‘ what is the ultimate purpose of human existence ’ alluded to the fact that purpose was what he argued to be ‘happiness’. He termed this eudaimonia – “ activity expressing virtue ”. This will all be explained shortly.

The purpose of this article is to explore the philosophy of happiness in life, including taking a closer look at Aristotle’s philosophy and answering some of those “big” questions about happiness and living a ‘good life’. In this article, you will also find some practical tips that hopefully you can put in place in your own life. Enjoy!

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Happiness & Subjective Wellbeing Exercises for free . These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients identify sources of authentic happiness and strategies to boost wellbeing.

This Article Contains:

A look at the philosophy of happiness, aristotle on happiness, what is real happiness, the value and importance of having true happiness in life, the biggest causes that bring true happiness in life, 15 ways to create happy moments in life, five reasons to be happy from a philosophical perspective, finding happiness in family life, a look at happiness and productivity, how does loneliness affect life satisfaction, 6 recommended books, a take-home message.

Happiness. It is a term that is taken for granted in this modern age. However, since the dawn of time, philosophers have been pursuing the inquiry of happiness… after all, the purpose of life is not just to live, but to live ‘well’.

Philosophers ask some key questions about happiness: can people be happy? If so, do they want to? If people have both a desire to be happy and the ability to be happy, does this mean that they should, therefore, pursue happiness for themselves and others? If they can, they want to, and they ought to be happy, but how do they achieve this goal?

To explore the philosophy of happiness in life, first, the history of happiness will be examined.

Democritus, a philosopher from Ancient Greece, was the first philosopher in the western world to examine the nature of happiness (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). He put forth a suggestion that, unlike it was previously thought, happiness does not result from ‘favorable fate’ (i.e. good luck) or other external circumstances (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Democritus contended that happiness was a ‘case of mind’, introducing a subjectivist view as to what happiness is (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

A more objective view of happiness was introduced by Socrates, and his student, Plato.

They put forth the notion that happiness was “ secure enjoyment of what is good and beautiful ” (Plato, 1999, p. 80). Plato developed the idea that the best life is one whereby a person is either pursuing pleasure of exercising intellectual virtues… an argument which, the next key figure in the development of the philosophy of happiness – Aristotle – disagreed with (Waterman, 1993).

The philosophy of Aristotle will be explored in depth in the next section of this article.

Hellenic history (i.e. ancient Greek times) was largely dominated by the prominent theory of hedonism (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Hedonism is, to put it simply, the pursuit of pleasure as the only intrinsic good (Waterman, 1993). This was the Cyrenaic view of happiness. It was thought that a good life was denoted by seeking pleasure, and satisfying physical, intellectual/social needs (Kashdan, Biswas-Diener & King, 2008).

Kraut (1979, p. 178) describes hedonic happiness as “ the belief that one is getting the important things one wants, as well as certain pleasant affects that normally go along with this belief ” (Waterman, 1993).

In ancient times, it was also thought that it is not possible to live a good life without living in accordance with reason and morality (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). Epicurus, whose work was dominated by hedonism, contended that in fact, virtue (living according to values) and pleasure are interdependent (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

In the middle ages, Christian philosophers said that whilst virtue is essential for a good life, that virtue alone is not sufficient for happiness (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

According to the Christian philosophers, happiness is in the hands of God. Even though the Christians believed that earthly happiness was imperfect, they embraced the idea that Heaven promised eternal happiness (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

A more secular explanation of happiness was introduced in the Age of Enlightenment.

At this time, in the western world pleasure was regarded as the path to, or even the same thing as, happiness (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). From the early nineteenth century, happiness was seen as a value which is derived from maximum pleasure.

Utilitarians, such as the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, suggested the following: “ maximum surplus of pleasure over pain as the cardinal goal of human striving ” (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). Utilitarians believe that morals and legislation should be based on whatever will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

In the modern era, happiness is something we take for granted. It is assumed that humans are entitled to pursue and attain happiness (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). This is evidenced by the fact that in the US declaration of independence, the pursuit of happiness is protected as a fundamental human right! (Conkle, 2008).

Go into any book store and large sections are dedicated to the wide range of ‘self-help’ books all promoting happiness.

What is This Thing Called Happiness?

It is incredibly challenging to define happiness . Modern psychology describes happiness as subjective wellbeing, or “ people’s evaluations of their lives and encompasses both cognitive judgments of satisfaction and affective appraisals of moods and emotions ” (Kesebir & Diener, 2008, p. 118).

The key components of subjective wellbeing are:

  • Life satisfaction
  • Satisfaction with important aspects of one’s life (for example work, relationships, health)
  • The presence of positive affect
  • Low levels of negative affect

These four components have featured in philosophical material on happiness since ancient times.

Subjective life satisfaction is a crucial aspect of happiness, which is consistent with the work of contemporary philosopher Wayne Sumner, who described happiness as ‘ a response by a subject to her life conditions as she sees them ’ (1999, p. 156).

Thus, if happiness is ‘a thing’ how is it measured?

Some contemporary philosophers and psychologists question self-report as an appropriate measure of happiness. However, many studies have found that self-report measures of ‘happiness’ (subjective wellbeing) are valid and reliable (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Two other accounts of happiness in modern psychology are firstly, the concept of psychological wellbeing (Ryff & Singer, 1996) and secondly, self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

Both of these theories are more consistent with the eudaemonist theories of ‘ flourishing ’ (including Aristotle’s ideas) because they describe the phenomenon of needs (such as autonomy, self-acceptance, and mastery) being met (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Eudaimonia will be explained in detail in the next section of the article (keep reading!) but for now, it suffices to say that eudaemonist theories of happiness define ‘happiness’ (eudaimonia) as a state in which an individual strives for the highest human good.

These days, most empirical psychological research puts forward the theory of subjective wellbeing rather than happiness as defined in a eudaimonic sense (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Although the terms eudaimonia and subjectivewellbeing are not necessarily interchangeable, Kesebir and Diener (2008) argue that subjective wellbeing can be used to describe wellbeing, even if it may not be an absolutely perfect definition!

Can People be Happy?

In order to adequately address this question, it is necessary to differentiate between ‘ideal’ happiness and ‘actual’ happiness.

‘Ideal’ happiness implies a way of being that is complete, lasting and altogether perfect… probably outside of anyone’s reach! (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). However, despite this, people can actually experience mostly positive emotions and report overall satisfaction with their lives and therefore be deemed ‘happy’.

In fact, most people are happy. In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in the US (2006), 84% of Americans see themselves as either “very happy” or “pretty happy” (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Happiness also has an adaptive function. How is happiness adaptive? Well, positivity and wellbeing are also associated with people being confident enough to explore their environments and approach new goals, which increases the likelihood of them collecting resources.

The fact that most people report being happy, and happiness having an adaptive function, leads Kesebir and Diener (2008) to conclude that yes people can, in fact, be happy.

Do People Want to be Happy?

The overwhelming answer is yes! Research has shown that being happy is desirable. Whilst being happy is certainly not the only goal in life, nonetheless, it is necessary for a good life (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

A study by King and Napa (1998) showed that Americans view happiness as more relevant to the judgment of what constitutes a good life, rather than either wealth or ‘moral goodness’.

Should People be Happy?

Another way of putting this, is happiness justifiable? Happiness is not just the result of positive outcomes, such as better health, improved work performance, more ethical behavior, and better social relationships (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). It actually precedes and causes these outcomes!

Happiness leads to better health. For example, research undertaken by Danner, Snowdon & Friesen in 2001 examined the content of handwritten autobiographies of Catholic sisters. They found that expression in the writing that was characterized by positive affect predicted longevity 60 years later!


Happiness is derived not from pursuing pleasure, but by working towards goals which are reflected in one’s values (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Happiness can be predicted not merely by pleasure but by having a sense of meaning , purpose, and fulfillment. Happiness is also associated with better performance in professional life/work.

Social relationships and prosocial behavior

Happiness brings out the best in people… people who are happier are more social, cooperative and ethical (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Happy individuals have also been shown to evaluate others more positively, show greater interest in interacting with others socially, and even be more likely to engage in self-disclosure (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Happy individuals are also more likely to behave ethically (for example, choosing not to buy something because it is known to be stolen) (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

How to be happy?

The conditions and sources of happiness will be explored later on, so do keep reading… briefly in the meantime, happiness is caused by wealth, friends and social relationships, religion, and personality. These factors predict happiness.

happiness life essay

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Chances are, you have heard of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Are you aware that it was Aristotle who introduced the ‘science of happiness’? (Pursuit of Happiness, 2018).

Founder of Lyceum, the first scientific institute in Athens, Aristotle delivered a series of lectures termed Nicomachean Ethics to present his theory of happiness (Pursuit of Happiness, 2018).

Aristotle asked, “ what is the ultimate purpose of human existence? ”. He thought that a worthwhile goal should be to pursue “ that which is always desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else ” (Pursuit of Happiness, 2018).

However, Aristotle disagreed with the Cyrenaic view that the only intrinsic good is pleasure (Waterman, 1993).

In developing his theory of ‘happiness’, Aristotle drew upon his knowledge about nature. He contended that what separates man from animal is rational capacity – arguing that a human’s unique function is to reason. He went on to say that pleasure alone cannot result in happiness because animals are driven by the pursuit of pleasure and according to Aristotle man has greater capacities than animals (Pursuit of Happiness, 2018).

Instead, he put forward the term ‘ eudaimonia ’.

To explain simply, eudaimonia is defined as ‘ activity expressing virtue ’ or what Aristotle conceived as happiness. Aristotle’s theory of happiness was as follows:

‘the function of man is to live a certain kind of life, and this activity implies a rational principle, and the function of a good man is the good and noble performance of these, and if any action is well performed it is performed in accord with the appropriate excellence: if this is the case, then happiness turns out to be an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue’

(Aristotle, 2004).

A key component of Aristotle’s theory of happiness is the factor of virtue. He contended that in aiming for happiness, the most important factor is to have ‘complete virtue’ or – in other words – good moral character (Pursuit of Happiness, 2008).

Aristotle identified friendship as being one of the most important virtues in achieving the goal of eudaimonia (Pursuit of Happiness, 2008). In fact, he valued friendship very highly, and described a ‘virtuous’ friendship as the most enjoyable, combining both pleasure and virtue.

Aristotle went on to put forward his belief that happiness involves, through the course of an entire life, choosing the ‘greater good’ not necessarily that which brings immediate, short term pleasure (Pursuit of Happiness, 2008).

Thus, according to Aristotle, happiness can only be achieved at the life-end: it is a goal, not a temporary state of being (Pursuit of Happiness, 2008). Aristotle believed that happiness is not short-lived:

‘for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy’

Happiness (eudaimonia), to Aristotle, meant attaining the ‘daimon’ or perfect self (Waterman, 1990). Reaching the ‘ultimate perfection of our natures’, as Aristotle meant by happiness, includes rational reflection (Pursuit of Happiness, 2008).

He argued that education was the embodiment of character refinement (Pursuit of Happiness, 2008). Striving for the daimon (perfect self) gives life meaning and direction (Waterman, 1990). Having a meaningful, purposeful life is valuable.

Efforts that the individual puts in to strive for the daimon are termed ‘ personally expressive ’ (Waterman, 1990).

Personal expressiveness involves intense involvement in an activity, a sense of fulfillment when engaged in an activity, and having a sense of acting in accordance with one’s purpose (Waterman, 1990). It refers to putting in effort, feeling challenged and competent, having clear goals and concentrating (Waterman, 1993).

According to Aristotle, eudaimonia and hedonic enjoyment are separate and distinguishable (Waterman, 1993). However, in a study of university students, personal expressiveness (which is, after all a component of eudaimonia) was found to be positively correlated with hedonic enjoyment (Waterman, 1993).

Telfer (1980), on the other hand, claimed that eudaimonia is a sufficient but not a necessary condition for achieving hedonic enjoyment (Waterman, 1993). How are eudaimonia and hedonic enjoyment different?

Well, personal expressiveness (from striving for eudaimonia) is associated with successfully achieving self-realization, while hedonic enjoyment does not (Waterman, 1993).

Thus, Aristotle identified the best possible life goal and the achievement of the highest level of meeting one’s needs, self-realization many, many years before Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs!

Results from Waterman’s 1993 study provide empirical support for the association between ‘personal expressiveness’ and what was described by Csikszentimikalyi (1975) as “flow” (Waterman, 1993).

Flow , conceptualized as a cognitive-affective state, is an experience whereby the challenge a task presents to a person is aligned with the skills that individual has to deal with such challenges.

Understanding that flow is a distinctive cognitive-affective state combines hedonic enjoyment and personal expressiveness (Waterman, 1993).

Aristotle’s work Nicomachean Ethics contributed a great deal to the understanding of what happiness is. To summarise from Pursuit of Happiness (2018), according to Aristotle, the purpose and ultimate goal in life is to achieve eudaimonia (‘happiness’). He believed that eudaimonia was not simply virtue, nor pleasure, but rather it was the exercise of virtue.

According to Aristotle, eudaimonia is a lifelong goal and depends on rational reflection. To achieve a balance between excess and deficiency (‘temperance’) one displays virtues – for example, generosity, justice, friendship, and citizenship. Eudaimonia requires intellectual contemplation, in order to meet our rational capacities.

To answer Aristotle’s question of “ what is the ultimate purpose of human existence ” is not a simple task, but perhaps the best answer is that the ultimate goal for human beings is to strive for ‘eudaimonia’ (happiness).

Aristotle & virtue theory – CrashCourse

What does ‘true’ happiness look like? Is it landing the dream job? Having a child ? Graduating from university? Whilst happiness is certainly associated with these ‘external’ factors, true happiness is quite different.

To be truly happy, a person’s sense of contentment with their life needs to come from within (Puff, 2018). In other words, real happiness is internal.

There are a few features that characterize ‘true’ (or real) happiness. The first is acceptance . A truly happy individual accepts reality for what it is, and what’s more, they actually come to love ‘what is’ (Puff, 2018).

This acceptance allows a person to feel content. As well as accepting the true state of affairs, real happiness involves accepting the fact that change is inevitable (Puff, 2018). Being willing to accept change as part of life means that truly happy people are in a position to be adaptive.

A state of real happiness is also reflected by a person having an understanding of the transience of life (Puff, 2018). This is important because understanding that in life, both good and ‘bad’ are only short-lived means that truly happy individuals have an understanding that ‘this too shall pass’.

Finally, another aspect of real happiness is an appreciation of the people in an individual’s life. (Puff, 2018). Strong relationships characterize people who are truly ‘flourishing’.

Why is true happiness so important

Most people would say that, if they could, they would like to be happy. As well as being desirable, happiness is both important and valuable.

Happy people have better social and work relationships (Conkle, 2008).

In terms of career, happy individuals are more likely to complete college, secure employment, receive positive work evaluations from their superiors, earn higher incomes, and are less likely to lose their job – and, in case of being laid off, people who are happy are re-employed more quickly (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Positive emotions also precede and promote career success (Lyubomirsky, 2018). Happy workers are less likely to burn out, be absent from work and quit their job (Lyubomirsky, 2018). Further on in this article, the relationship between happiness and productivity will be explored more thoroughly.

It has also been found that people who are happy contribute more to society (Conkle, 2008). There is also an association between happiness and cooperation – those who are happy are more cooperative (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). They are also more likely to display ethical behavior (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Perhaps the most important reason to have true happiness in life is that it is linked to longevity. True happiness is a significant predictor of a longer, healthier life (Conkle, 2008).

It is not only the effects of happiness that benefit individuals. Whole countries can flourish too – according to research, nations that are rated as happier also score more highly on generalized trust, volunteerism and democratic attitudes (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

However, as well as these objective reasons why happiness is important, happiness also brings with it some positive experiences and feelings. For example, true happiness is related to feelings of meaning and purpose (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

It is also associated with a sense of fulfillment, plus a feeling of achievement that is attained through actively striving for, and making progress towards, valuable goals (Kesebir & Diener, 2008).

Interestingly, objective life circumstances (demographic details) only account for 8% – 15% of the variance in happiness (Kesebir & Diener, 2008). So what causes true happiness? Kesebir and Diener (2008) identified five sources of happiness:

Wealth is the first cause of happiness. Studies have shown a significant positive correlation between wealth and happiness. It is the case that having enough (i.e. adequate) money is necessary for happiness but is not sufficient to cause happiness. Money gives people freedom, and having enough money enables individuals to meet their needs – e.g. housing, food, and health-care.

Satisfaction with income has been shown to be related to happiness (Diener, 1984). However, money is not the guarantee of happiness – consider lottery winners. Whilst it is necessary to have sufficient money this alone will not cause happiness. So, what else is a source of happiness?

Having friends and social relationships has been shown to be a leading cause of happiness. Humans are primarily social beings and have a need for social connection.

A sense of community is associated with life satisfaction (Diener, 1984). Making and keeping friends is positively correlated with wellbeing. Aristotle (2000) stated that “no one would choose to live without friends, even if he had all the other goods” (p. 143).

In fact, the association between friendship/social support and happiness has been supported by empirical research. Furthermore, being satisfied with family life and marriage is the key to subjective wellbeing (Diener, 1984).

Another source of happiness is religion . While not true universally, religion has been associated with greater happiness. Positive effects have been found with taking part in religious services.

Having a strong religious affiliation has also been shown to be of benefit. Engaging in prayer, and having a relationship with God is also related to greater happiness.

Finally, a large determinant of happiness is personality . Research supports the fact that individual differences in how a person responds both to events and also to other people have an impact on the levels of a person’s happiness.

Lykken & Tellegen (1996) found that stable temperamental tendencies (those that are inherited genetically) contribute up to 50% in the total variability in happiness. This research found that many personality factors – extraversion, neuroticism – as well as self-esteem , optimism , trust , agreeableness, repressive defensiveness, a desire for control, and hardiness all play a part in how happy a person is.

We can, to a certain extent, determine how happy we feel. Kane (2017) has come up with 15 ways in which happiness can be increased:

1. Find joy in the little things

Savoring ordinary moments in everyday life is a skill that can be learned (Tartarkovsky, 2016). For most of us, we spend so much time thinking about things we’re not currently even doing! This can make us unhappy.

Happiness can, in fact, be predicted by where our minds wander to when we’re not focused on the present. By appreciating the simple things in life, we foster positive emotions…from admiring a beautiful flower to enjoying a cup of tea, finding joy in the little things is associated with increased happiness.

2. Start each day with a smile

It sounds easy, but smiling is associated with feeling happy. Beginning the day on a positive note can vastly improve wellbeing.

3. Connect with others

As mentioned in the previous section, having friendship and social support is definitely a source of happiness. So, to create more happy moments in life, step away from the desk and initiate a conversation with a work colleague, or send an SMS to someone you have not seen for a while. Take opportunities to interact with other people as they arise.

4. Do what you’re most passionate about

Using your strengths and finding an activity to engage in which leads to ‘flow’ has been identified as an enduring pathway to happiness. Being completely engaged in an activity is termed ‘flow’. What constitutes an experience of flow?

To begin with, the task needs to require skill but not be too challenging (Tartarkovsky, 2016). It should have clear goals and allow you to completely immerse yourself in what you’re doing so your mind doesn’t wander (Tartarkovsky, 2016). It should completely absorb your attention and give a sense of being ‘in the zone’ (Tartarkovsky, 2016). Perhaps the easiest way to identify a flow experience is that you lose track of time.

By doing what you’re most passionate about, you are more likely to use your strengths and find a sense of flow .

5. Count your blessings and be thankful

Gratitude is known to increase happiness. Gratitude has been defined as having an appreciation for what you have, and being able to reflect on that (Tartarkovsky, 2016). Gratitude creates positive emotions, enhances relationships and is associated with better health (Tartarkovsky, 2016).

Examples of ways to engage in gratitude include writing a gratitude journal, or express appreciation – such as, send a ‘thank you’ card to someone.

6. Choose to be positive and see the best in every situation

Taking a ‘glass half full’ attitude to life can certainly enhance feelings of happiness. Finding the positives in even difficult situations helps to foster positive affect. As one psychologist from Harvard Medical School, Siegel, said “relatively small changes in our attitudes can yield relatively big changes in our sense of wellbeing” (Tartarkovsky, 2016).

7. Take steps to enrich your life

A great way to develop a happier life is to learn something new. By being mentally active and developing new skills, this can promote happiness. For example, learn a musical instrument, or a foreign language, the sky’s the limit!

8. Create goals and plans to achieve what you want most

Striving for things we really want can make us feel happy, provided the goals are realistic. Having goals gives life purpose and direction, and a sense of achievement.

9. Live in the moment

Though easier said than done, a helpful way to create happy moments in life is to live for the moment – not to ruminate about the past, or to focus on the future. Staying in the ‘here and now’ can help us feel happier.

10. Be good to yourself

Treat yourself as well as you would treat a person whom you love and care about. Showing self-compassion can lead to happy moments and improve overall wellbeing.

11. Ask for help when you need it

Seeking help may not immediately come to mind when considering how to create happy moments. However, reaching out for support is one way to achieve happiness. As the old adage says “a problem shared is a problem halved”.

Having someone help you is not a sign of weakness. Rather, by asking for help, you are reducing the burden of a problem on yourself.

12. Let go of sadness and disappointment

Negative emotions can compromise one’s sense of happiness, especially if a person ruminates about what ‘could have been’. Whilst everyone feels such emotions at times, holding onto feelings of sadness and disappointment can really weigh a person down and prevent them from feeling happy and content.

13. Practice mindfulness

The positive effects of practicing mindfulness are widespread and numerous, including increasing levels of happiness. There is lots of material on this blog about mindfulness and its’ positive effects. Mindfulness is a skill and, like any skill, it can be learned. Learning to be mindful can help a person become happier.

14. Walk in nature

Exercise is known to release endorphins, and as such engaging in physical activity is one way to lift mood and create happy moments. Even more beneficial than simply walking is to walk in nature, which has been shown to increase happiness.

15. Laugh, and make time to play

Laughter really is the best medicine! Having a laugh is associated with feeling better. Also, it is beneficial for the sense of wellbeing not to take life too seriously. Just as children find joy in simple pleasures, they also love to play. Engaging in ‘play’ – activities done purely for fun – is associated with increased happiness.

Reasons to be happy

Philosophers believe that happiness is not by itself sufficient to achieve a state of wellbeing, but at the same time, they agree that it is one of the primary factors found in individuals who lead a ‘good life’ (Haybron, 2011).

What then, are reasons to be happy from a philosophical perspective… what contributes to a person living a ‘good life’? This can also be understood as a person having ‘psychosocial prosperity’ (Haybron, 2011).

  • One reason why a person can feel a sense of happiness is if they have been treated with respect in the last day (Haybron, 2011). How we are treated by others contributes to our overall wellbeing. Being treated with respect helps us develop a sense of self-worth.
  • Another reason to feel happy is if one has family and friends they can rely on and count on in times of need (Haybron, 2011). Having a strong social network is an important component of happiness.
  • Perhaps a person has learned something new. They may take this for granted, however, learning something new actually contributes to our psychosocial prosperity (Haybron, 2011).
  • From a philosophical perspective, a reason to be happy is a person having the opportunity to do what they do best (Haybron, 2011). Using strengths for the greater good is one key to a more meaningful life (Tartarkovsky, 2016). As an example, a musician can derive happiness by creating music and a sports-person can feel happy by training or participating in competitions. Meeting our potential also contributes to wellbeing.
  • A final reason to be happy from a philosophical perspective is a person having the liberty to choose how they spend their time (Haybron, 2011). This is a freedom to be celebrated. Being autonomous can contribute to a person living their best life.

Many of us spend a lot of time with our families. However, as much we love our partners, children, siblings, and extended families, at times family relationships can be fraught with challenges and problems. Nonetheless, it is possible for us to find happiness in family life by doing some simple, yet effective things suggested by Mann (2007):

  • Enjoy your family’s company
  • Exchange stories – for example, about what your day was like in the evening
  • Make your marriage, or relationship, the priority
  • Take time to eat meals together as a family
  • Enjoy simply having fun with one another
  • Make sure that your family and its needs come before your friends
  • Limit number of extra-curricular activities
  • Develop family traditions and honor rituals
  • Aim to make your home a calm place to spend time
  • Don’t argue in front of children
  • Don’t work excessively
  • Encourage siblings to get along with one another
  • Have family ‘in-jokes’
  • Be adaptable
  • Communicate, including active listening

Take time to appreciate your family, and focus on the little things you can do to find happiness in family life.

The aim of any workplace is to have productive employees. This leads to the question – can happiness increase productivity? The results are unequivocal!

Researchers Boehm and Lyubomirsky define a ‘happy worker’ as one who frequently experiences positive emotions such as joy, satisfaction, contentment, enthusiasm, and interest (Oswald, Proto & Sgroi, 2009).

They conducted longitudinal as well as experimental studies, and their research clearly showed that people who could be classified as ‘happy’ were more likely to succeed in their careers. Amabile et al. (2005) also found that happiness results in greater creativity.

Why are happy workers more productive?

It has been suggested that the link between positive mood and work appears to be mediated by intrinsic motivation (that is, performing a task due to internal inspiration rather than external reasons) (Oswald et al., 2009). This makes sense because if one is feeling more joyful, the person is more likely to find their work meaningful and intrinsically rewarding.

It has been found by some experimental studies that happiness raises productivity. For example, research has shown that the experience of positive affect means that individuals change their allocation of time to completing more interesting tasks, but still manage to maintain their performance for the less interesting tasks (Oswald et al., 2009).

Other research has reported that positive affect influences memory recall and the likelihood of altruistic actions. However, much of this research has taken place in laboratory sessions where participation was unpaid. Which certainly leads to the obvious question… does happiness actually increase productivity in a true employment situation?

Oswald and colleagues (2009) did some research with very clear results on the relationship between happiness and productivity. They conducted two separate experiments.

The first experiment included 182 participants from the University of Warwick. The study involved some participants watching a short video clip designed to try and increase levels of happiness, and then completing a task which they were paid for in terms of both questions answered and accuracy. The participants who watched the video showed significantly greater productivity.

Most interestingly, however, 16 individuals did not display increased happiness after watching the movie clip, and these people did not show the same increase in productivity! Thus, this experiment certainly supported the notion that an increase in productivity can be linked to happiness.

Oswald and colleagues also conducted a second study which involved a further 179 participants who had not taken part in the first experiment. These individuals reported their level of happiness and were subsequently asked whether they had experienced a ‘bad life event’ (which was defined as bereavement or illness in the family) in the last two years.

A statistically significant effect was found… experiencing a bad life event, which was classified by the experts as ‘happiness shocks’ was related to lower levels of performance on the task.

Examining the evidence certainly makes one thing clear: happiness is certainly related to productivity both in unpaid and paid tasks. This has tremendous implications for the work-force and provides an impetus for working towards happier employees.

How does loneliness affect happiness

According to the Belonging Hypothesis put forth by psychologists Baumeister and Leary in 1995, human beings have an almost universal, fundamental human need to have a certain degree of interaction with others and to form relationships.

Indeed, people who are lonely have an unmet need to belong (Mellor, Stokes, Firth, Hayashi & Cummins, 2008). Loneliness has been found in a plethora of research to have a very negative effect on psychological wellbeing, and also health (Kim, 1997).

What about ‘happiness’? In other words, can loneliness also have an impact on life satisfaction?

There is evidence to suggest that loneliness does affect life satisfaction. Gray, Ventis, and Hayslip (1992) conducted a study of 60 elderly people living in the community. Their findings were clear: the aged person’s sense of isolation, and loneliness , explained the variation in life satisfaction (Gray et al., 1992).

Clearly, lonely older persons were less satisfied with their lives overall. In other research, Mellor and colleagues (2008) found that individuals who were less lonely had higher ratings of life satisfaction.

It may be assumed that only older people are prone to feeling isolated and lonely, however, an interesting study by Neto (1995) looked at satisfaction with life among second-generation migrants.

The researchers studied 519 Portuguese youth who was actually born in France. The study found that loneliness had a clear negative correlation with the satisfaction with life expressed by the young people (Neto, 1995). Indeed, along with the perceived state of health, loneliness was the strongest predictor of satisfaction with life (Neto, 1995).

Therefore, yes, loneliness affects life satisfaction. Loneliness is associated with feeling less satisfied with one’s life, and, presumably, less happy overall.

Perhaps you have a desire to understand this topic further… great! Here are some books that you can read to further your understanding:

  • Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to brain science – S. Bok (2010) ( Amazon )
  • Nicomachean ethics – Aristotle (2000). R Crisp, ed. ( Amazon )
  • What is this thing called happiness? – F. Feldman (2010) ( Amazon )
  • Authentic happiness: Using the new Positive Psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment – M. Seligman (2004) ( Amazon )
  • Philosophy of happiness: A theoretical and practical examination – M. Janello (2014) ( Amazon )
  • Happiness: A Philosopher’s guide – F. Lenoir (2015) ( Amazon )

I don’t know about you but, whilst exploring the philosophy of happiness is fascinating, it can be incredibly overwhelming too. I hope that I have managed to simplify some of the ideas about happiness so that you have a better understanding of the nature of happiness and what it means to live a ‘good life’.

Philosophy can be complex, but if you can take one message from this article it is that it is important and worthwhile for humans to strive for wellbeing and ‘true happiness’. Whilst Aristotle argued that ‘eudaimonia’ (happiness) cannot be achieved until the end of one’s life, tips in this article show that each of us has the capacity to create happy moments each and every day.

What can you do today to embrace the ‘good life’? What ideas do you have about happiness – what does real happiness look like for you? What are your opinions as to what the philosophy of happiness in life means?

This article can provide a helpful resource for understanding more about the nature of happiness, so feel free to look back at it down the track. I would love to hear your thoughts on this fascinating topic!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Happiness Exercises for free .

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  • Aristotle (2004). Nicomachean Ethics . Hugh Treddenick (ed.). London: Penguin.
  • Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117 , 498 – 529.
  • Conkle, A. (2008). Serious research on happiness. Association for Psychological Science . Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observe/serious-research-on-happiness
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  • Kesebir, P., & Diener, E. (2008). In pursuit of happiness: empirical answers to philosophical questions. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3 , 117-125.
  • Kim, O. S. (1997). Korean version of the revised UCLA loneliness scale: reliability and validity test. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing,? , 871 – 879.
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  • Lykken, D., & Tellegan, A. (1996). Happiness is a stochastic phenomenon. Psychological Science, 7 , 186-189.
  • Lyubomirsky, S. (2018). Is happiness a consequence or cause of career success? Psychology Today . Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/how-happiness/201808/is-happiness-consequence-or-cause-career-success
  • Mann, D. (2007). 15 secrets of happy families. Web MD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/15-secrets-to-have-a-happy-family
  • Mellor, D., Stokes, M., Firth, L., Hayashi, Y. & Cummins, R. (2008). Need for belonging, relationship satisfaction, loneliness and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 45 , 213 – 218.
  • Neto, F. (1995). Predictors of satisfaction with life among second generation migrants. Social Indicators Research, 35 , 93-116.
  • Oswald, A. J., Proto, E., & Sgroi, D. (2009). Happiness and productivity, IZA Discussion Papers, No. 4645, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10419/35451
  • Plato (1999). The Symposium . Walter Hamilton (ed). London: Penguin Classics
  • Puff, R. (2018). The pitfalls to pursuing happiness. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/meditation-modern-life/201809/the-pitfalls-pursuing-happiness
  • Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development and wellbeing. American Psychologist, 55 , 68 – 78.
  • Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. (1996). Psychological wellbeing: meaning, measurement, and implications for psychotherapy research. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 65 , 14 – 23.
  • Tartarkovsky, M. (2016). Five pathways to happiness. Psych Central. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/five-pathways-to-happiness
  • The Pursuit of Happiness (2018). Aristotle. Retrieved from https://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/aristotle
  • Waterman, A. S. (1990). The relevance of Aristotle’s conception of eudaimonia for the psychological study of happiness. Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 10 , 39 – 44
  • Waterman, A. S. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64 , 678 – 691.

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1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

Philosophy, One Thousand Words at a Time

Happiness: What is it to be Happy?

Author: Kiki Berk Category: Ethics , Phenomenology and Existentialism Words: 992

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Do you want to be happy? If you’re like most people, then yes, you do.

But what is happiness? What does it mean to be “happy”? [1]

This essay discusses four major philosophical theories of happiness. [2]

"Mr. Happy" on the beach.

1. Hedonism

According to hedonism, happiness is simply the experience of pleasure. [3] A happy person has a lot more pleasure than displeasure (pain) in her life. To be happy, then, is just to feel good. In other words, there’s no difference between being happy and feeling happy.

Famous hedonists include the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus and the modern English philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. [4] These philosophers all took happiness to include intellectual pleasures (such as reading a book) in addition to physical pleasures (such as having sex).

Although we associate being happy with feeling good, many philosophers think that hedonism is mistaken.

First, it’s possible to be happy without feeling good (such as when a happy person has a toothache), and it’s also possible to feel good without being happy (such as when an unhappy person gets a massage). Since happiness and pleasure can come apart, they can’t be the same thing.

Second, happiness and pleasure seem to have different properties. Pleasures are often fleeting, simple, and superficial (think of the pleasure involved in eating ice cream), whereas happiness is supposed to be lasting, complex, and profound. Things with different properties can’t be identical, so happiness can’t be the same thing as pleasure.

These arguments suggest that happiness and pleasure aren’t identical. That being said, it’s hard to imagine a happy person who never feels good. So, perhaps happiness involves pleasure without being identical to it.

2. Virtue Theory

According to virtue theory, happiness is the result of cultivating the virtues—both moral and intellectual—such as wisdom, courage, temperance, and patience. A happy person must be sufficiently virtuous. To be happy, then, is to cultivate excellence and to flourish as a result. This view is famously held by Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. [5]

Linking happiness to virtue has the advantage of treating happiness as a lasting, complex, and profound phenomenon. It also explains how happiness and pleasure can come apart, since a person can be virtuous without feeling good, and a person can feel good without being virtuous.

In spite of these advantages, however, virtue theory is questionable. An important part of being virtuous is being morally good. But are immoral people always unhappy? Arguably not. Many bad people seem happy in spite of—or even because of—their unsavory actions. And a similar point can be made about intellectual virtue: unwise or irrational people aren’t always unhappy, either. In fact, some of these people seem happy as a direct result of their intellectual deficiencies. “Ignorance is bliss,” the saying goes!

But virtue theorists have a response here. Maybe some immoral people seem happy, on the surface; but that doesn’t mean that they are truly happy, at some deeper level. And the same thing can be said about people who lack the intellectual virtues: ignorance may lead to bliss, but that bliss isn’t true happiness. So, there seems to be some room for debate on these issues.

3. Desire Satisfaction Theory

According to the desire satisfaction theory, happiness consists in getting what you want—whatever that happens to be. A happy person has many of her desires satisfied; and the more her desires are satisfied, the happier she is.

Even though getting what you want can be a source of happiness, identifying happiness with desire satisfaction is problematic.

To start, this implies that the only way to become happier is by satisfying a desire. This seems wrong. Sometimes our happiness is increased by getting something we didn’t previously want—such as a surprise birthday party or getting stuck taking care of a neighbor’s cat. This implies that desire satisfaction is not necessary for happiness.

Desire satisfaction is not always sufficient for happiness, either. Unfortunately, it is common for people to feel disappointed when they get what they want. Many accomplishments, such as earning a degree or winning a tournament, simply don’t bring the long-lasting happiness that we expect. [6]

So, even if getting what we want sometimes makes us happy, these counterexamples suggest that happiness does not consist in desire satisfaction. [7]

4. Life Satisfaction Theory

According to the life satisfaction theory, happiness consists in being satisfied with your life. A happy person has a positive impression of her life in general, even though she might not be happy about every single aspect of it. To be happy, then, means to be content with your life as a whole.

It’s controversial whether life satisfaction is affective (a feeling) or cognitive (a belief). On the one hand, life satisfaction certainly comes with positive feelings. On the other hand, it’s possible to step back, reflect on your life, and realize that it’s good, even when you’re feeling down. [8]  

One problem for this theory is that it’s difficult for people to distinguish how they feel in the moment from how they feel about their lives overall. Studies have shown that people report feeling more satisfied with their lives when the weather is good, even though this shouldn’t make that much of a difference. But measuring life satisfaction is complicated, so perhaps such studies should be taken with a grain of salt. [9]

5. Conclusion

Understanding what happiness is should enable you to become happier.

First, decide which theory of happiness you think is true, based on the arguments.

Second, pursue whatever happiness is according to that theory: seek pleasure and try to avoid pain (hedonism), cultivate moral and intellectual virtue (virtue theory), decide what you really want and do your best to get it (desire satisfaction theory), or change your life (or your attitude about it) so you feel (or believe) that it’s going well (life satisfaction theory).

And if you’re not sure which theory of happiness is true, then you could always try pursuing all of these things. 😊

[1] This might seem like an empirical (scientific) question rather than a philosophical one. However, this essay asks the conceptual question of what happiness is, and conceptual questions belong to philosophy, not to science.

[2] Happiness is commonly distinguished from “well-being,” i.e., the state of a life that is worth living. Whether or not happiness is the same thing as well-being is an open question, but most philosophers think it isn’t. See, for example, Haybron (2020).

[3] The word “hedonism” has different uses in philosophy. In this paper, it means that happiness is the same thing as pleasure (hedonism about happiness). But sometimes it is used to mean that happiness is the only thing that has intrinsic value (hedonism about value) or that humans are always and only motivated by pleasure (psychological hedonism). It’s important not to confuse these different uses of the word.

[4] For more on Epicurus and happiness, see Konstan (2018). For more on Bentham and Mill on happiness, see Driver (2014), as well as John Stuart Mill on The Good Life: Higher-Quality Pleasures by Dale E. Miller and Consequentialism by Shane Gronholz

[5] For more on Plato and happiness, see Frede (2017); for more on Aristotle and happiness, see Kraut (2018), and on the Stoics and happiness, see Baltzly (2019).

[6] For a discussion of the phenomenon of disappointment in this context see, for example, Ben Shahar (2007).

[7] For more objections to the desire satisfaction theory, see Shafer-Landau (2018) and Vitrano (2013).

[8] If happiness is life satisfaction, then happiness seems to be “subjective” in the sense that a person cannot be mistaken about whether or not she is happy. Whether happiness is subjective in this sense is controversial, and a person who thinks that a person can be mistaken about whether or not she is happy will probably favor a different theory of happiness.

[9] See Weimann, Knabe and Schob (2015) and Berk (2018).

Baltzly, Dirk, “Stoicism”,  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy  (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2019/entries/stoicism/>.

Berk, Kiki (2018). “Does Money Make Us Happy? The Prospects and Problems of Happiness Research in Economics,” in Journal of Happiness Studies, 19, 1241-1245.

Ben-Shahar, Tal (2007). Happier . New York: McGraw-Hill.

Driver, Julia, “The History of Utilitarianism”,  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy  (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/utilitarianism-history/>.

Frede, Dorothea, “Plato’s Ethics: An Overview”,  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy  (Winter 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/plato-ethics/>.

Haybron, Dan, “Happiness”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy  (Summer 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2020/entries/happiness/>.

Konstan, David, “Epicurus”,  The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy  (Summer 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2018/entries/epicurus/>.

Kraut, Richard, “Aristotle’s Ethics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2018/entries/aristotle-ethics/>.

Shafer-Landau, Russ (2018). The Ethical Life: Fundamental Readings in Ethics and Moral Problems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Vitrano, Christine (2013). The Nature and Value of Happiness. Boulder: Westview Press.

Weimann, Joachim, Andreas Knabe, and Ronnie Schob (2015). Measuring Happiness . Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Related Essays

Meaning in Life: What Makes Our Lives Meaningful? by Matthew Pianalto

The Philosophy of Humor: What Makes Something Funny?  by Chris A. Kramer

Virtue Ethics  by David Merry

John Stuart Mill on The Good Life: Higher-Quality Pleasures by Dale E. Miller

Consequentialism by Shane Gronholz

Ethical Egoism by Nathan Nobis

Ancient Cynicism: Rejecting Civilization and Returning to Nature by G. M. Trujillo, Jr.

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Ethics and Absolute Poverty: Peter Singer and Effective Altruism  by Brandon Boesch

Is Death Bad? Epicurus and Lucretius on the Fear of Death  by Frederik Kaufman

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About the Author

Dr. Kiki Berk is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southern New Hampshire University. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the VU University Amsterdam in 2010. Her research focuses on Beauvoir’s and Sartre’s philosophies of death and meaning in life.

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Lawrence R. Samuel Ph.D.

The Psychology of Happiness

Is happiness written in our genes, or an acquired skill.

Updated August 24, 2023 | Reviewed by Devon Frye

  • Happiness has received much study over the years.
  • Experts have proposed different theories regarding the sources of happiness.
  • Recent research suggests that biology plays a significant role in one's level of happiness.

Look Studio/Shutterstock

It is safe to say that the pursuit of happiness —a phrase penned by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence—has served as a primary ambition for many Americans throughout the nation’s history. It was soon after World War I when—as I posit in Happiness in America : A Cultural History— the modern concept of happiness was born, part of the broad attempt to apply scientific principles to mental health. Happiness became an ever-louder part of the national conversation over the past century, riding on the greater interest in psychology and the expansion of that field, especially as related to personality .

In his 1926 Understanding Ourselves: The Fine Art of Happiness , for example, Harold Dearden, a physician, showed how individuals could become happier through an acquaintance with the principles of modern psychology. Since it was the nervous system that regulated both physical and psychical well-being, Dearden maintained (in the scientific parlance of the times), that one’s level of happiness could be managed through inner fortitude and the power of reason. Fears and worries, as well as harmful habits, instincts, impulses, and obsessions, could be eliminated by learning “the fine art of happiness,” he argued, with logic and rationalism the means by which to keep the more primitive goings-on of the mind at bay.

Improving the Chances for Joy

Louis Berg also believed that people could follow certain principles to increase one’s chances of being happy in life. Pursuing good “mental hygiene” was analogous to pursuing good physical health, he, like many in the medical field at the time, thought, with the former heavily reliant on maintaining a positive attitude and developing what was termed a “balanced” personality.

Proponents of mental hygiene—the movement founded by Clifford W. Beers in the early 20th century—argued that happiness was largely a result of how individuals related to society. “Social consciousness is the core of adjustment and happiness,” Berg stated in his 1933 textbook The Human Personality , with extroverts far more likely to be happy than those who shied away from interaction with others.

Happiness continued to gain traction in the field of psychology after World War II. Americans too often lived in the past and future, R.M. MacIver argued in his 1955 The Pursuit of Happiness: A Philosophy for Modern Living , with only living in the “momentary now” leading to the type of happiness that so many were seeking. Anticipating the kind of thinking in the field that was a few decades away—notably the concept of “flow”—MacIver recognized that time tended to stand still or disappear when one was truly happy, with only the present able to offer that level of transcendence.

Equally impressive, he was keenly aware of the individualization of happiness, i.e., that it was a different experience for everyone, this too making him ahead of his time. “Happiness is the resonance of the whole being as it moves towards that which fulfills it,” MacIver poetically wrote, nicely boiling down the abstract concept into “the harmony within you.”

By the 1980s, however, advances in genetics were making psychologists rethink the dynamics of happiness. Unhappiness had a strong genetic component while happiness did not, according to a study led by Edward Diener of the University of Illinois, implying that the former was mostly a function of nature and the other mostly of nurture.

Not Genetically Preordained

The research also suggested that happiness and unhappiness were thus not, as logic dictated, opposite or inverse emotions; rather, the two appeared to operate independently. Ridding oneself of some unhappiness in life, therefore, did not mean that one would become any happier, a counterintuitive notion that threw a monkey wrench into much of the out-with-the-bad, in-with-the-good brand of self-help being cast about at the time. The good news was that, at least according to this research, happiness was not genetically preordained, and could thus be achieved by those who were determined or lucky enough to find it.

In the 1990s, serious scholarly inquiry into the psychology of happiness was leading to new insights. In their article “Who Is Happy?” published in Psychological Science in May 1996, for example, Diener and David Myers argued that happiness was spread out evenly over the course of a lifetime—something not commonly believed. The pair also found four personal traits to be associated with high levels of happiness: extroversion , optimism , high self-esteem , and the feeling that one was in control of one’s life.

happiness life essay

Advancements in neuroscience and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 each had a direct effect on the trajectory of happiness in America. Individuals had what could be considered a happiness gene, scientists were concluding, making one’s relative state of happiness or unhappiness more a matter of biology than psychology. MRI scans plainly revealed when a person was happy, with that part of his or her brain lighting up like a Christmas tree. Altering one’s happiness gene could one day be possible, more scientists were beginning to think, with such an approach envisioned as being far more effective than all the how-tos grounded in some kind of attitudinal or behavioral modification put together.

Unless or until our emotions can be genetically programmed, however, many of us will no doubt continue our unalienable right to pursue happiness.

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Samuel, Lawrence R. (2018). Happiness in America: A Cultural History. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

Lawrence R. Samuel Ph.D.

Lawrence R. Samuel, Ph.D. , is an American cultural historian who holds a Ph.D. in American Studies and was a Smithsonian Institution Fellow.

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The Key to Happiness and Satisfaction with Life Essay

What most people wish for in life is how to remain happy. However, being happy and remaining satisfied with one’s life is a great challenge. Today, people associate happiness with having money and the ability to afford world pleasures. Many studies have shown that happiness is affected by different factors and money may not be among the top factors. For example, a study by Lingnan University’s Centre for Public Studies (2015) showed that there was an increase in the happiness index for people with a monthly household salary ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 by 7% while those with a monthly income less than $10,000 rose by 3%. Interestingly, those with high-income brackets of between $20,000 and $30,000 had their happiness index drop by 4.7%. These figures denote that happiness is not solely dependent on one’s wealth. Being surrounded by people especially friends and family is the key to happiness because they provide moral and social support, directs an individual in doing what pleases him, and provides real and lasting contentment with life.

Happiness has been mainly associated with moral and social support. Citing the sentiments of St. Aquinas and Aristotle, Mills (2014) pointed out that belonging to a tight-knit society enhances the feeling of being wanted which is a key factor in being happy. Even though the arguments by Aquinas and Aristotle were mainly based on the sense of belonging to a religious community and trusting in a Supreme being, their sentiments depict the importance of moral and social support. In modern society, such support can be realized if people have supportive families and friends. The social bonds between an individual and the family or friends provide a system where one feels protected and comfortable (Shannon, 2016). This is based on the understanding that compassion and the feeling of closeness between two or more people lead to a genuine and happy union in general life (Wu, 2014). It is in this regard that Mills (2014) states, “New friends expand your world by providing an entrance to new interests, opportunities, and activities and can be an invaluable source of support and information – and, just as happiness-inducing, you can play the same role for them” (p. 10).

Family members can guide individuals in the carrying out of the activities that please them. According to Shannon (2016), living well and happily is mainly dependent on one’s relationship with a spouse, other family members, and friends. For example, in the documentary ‘Happiness,’ the hunters and gatherers of Namibia in Africa were found to be having a high happiness index (Belic, 2013). This is despite their poor living conditions in the forest. Their happiness can be attributed to the family ties and support system that they use in the course of hunting and gathering. In the documentary, Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor at the University of California, advises that people should have the intention to be happy irrespective of the prevailing situation. For instance, the hunters have the intention to stay happy because they do not worry about material things. Their meaning and purpose in life are tied to getting daily food.

In conclusion, happiness is not defined by having material things. From the examples provided in the documentary “Happiness” and the assertions by Aristotle and Aquinas, the aspect of compassion that emanates from belonging to a social network, such as the family, leads to the feeling of satisfaction. Thus, friends and a supportive family are invaluable sources of happiness.

Belic, R. (2013). Happy: Happiness & its causes [Video file]. Web.

Lingnan University’s Centre for Public Studies. (2015). Happiness index for Hong Kong. Web.

Mills, R. (2014). A study of happiness. Journal of Undergraduate Research , 13 (1), 5-7.

Shannon, V. (2016). The keys to happiness. The New York Times . Web.

Wu, Z. (2014). Family is the most influential factor on happiness in high school students. Health , 5 (1), 336-341.

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IvyPanda. (2020, September 17). The Key to Happiness and Satisfaction with Life. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-key-to-happiness-and-satisfaction-with-life/

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Essay on How to Live a Happy Life

Students are often asked to write an essay on How to Live a Happy Life in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on How to Live a Happy Life

Understanding happiness.

Happiness is a feeling of joy and contentment. It’s not about having everything, but finding pleasure in what you have.

Practices for Happiness

Firstly, practice gratitude. Be thankful for what you have. Secondly, help others. It brings joy. Lastly, have hobbies. They make life fun.

Importance of Relationships

Good relationships bring happiness. Spend time with loved ones. Share, care, and enjoy together.

Healthy Body, Happy Life

A healthy body leads to a happy life. Eat well, exercise regularly, and sleep enough.

To live a happy life, value what you have, care for others, have fun, and stay healthy.

250 Words Essay on How to Live a Happy Life


Living a happy life is an art that everyone desires to master. While happiness is a subjective concept, certain universal principles can guide us towards leading a happier existence.

Embrace Positivity

Positivity is the cornerstone of a happy life. It involves focusing on the brighter side of life, even in challenging situations. Studies suggest that positive thinking can lead to increased life span, lower rates of depression, and better psychological and physical well-being.

Building Strong Relationships

Human beings are social creatures, and meaningful relationships contribute significantly to our happiness quotient. These relationships provide emotional support, reduce stress, and add purpose to our lives.

Taking care of physical health is equally important. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep not only keep us physically fit but also help in maintaining mental health.

Pursue Passions

Pursuing our passions gives us a sense of fulfillment and joy. They allow us to express ourselves and contribute to our personal growth.

Practicing gratitude can enhance our happiness levels. Acknowledging the good in our lives helps us maintain a positive outlook and appreciate what we have.

In essence, the pursuit of happiness is an individual journey. It involves embracing positivity, nurturing relationships, taking care of our health, pursuing our passions, and practicing gratitude. These are not just steps, but a lifestyle choice that leads to a happier, more fulfilled life.

500 Words Essay on How to Live a Happy Life

Introduction to happiness.

Happiness, an elusive and highly subjective term, has been the pursuit of humankind since the dawn of civilization. Philosophers, psychologists, and countless others have attempted to define what it means to live a happy life. While the definition of happiness may vary from person to person, there are some universal principles that can guide us towards a fulfilling and joyful existence.

The Power of Perspective

Our perspective shapes our reality. By adopting a positive outlook, we can significantly improve our happiness levels. This doesn’t mean ignoring life’s challenges, but rather viewing them as opportunities for growth. The practice of gratitude is a powerful tool in this regard. By appreciating the good in our lives, we can shift our focus from what’s lacking to what’s abundant.

Building Meaningful Relationships

Humans are inherently social creatures. We thrive on connection and community. Thus, cultivating meaningful relationships is integral to our happiness. This involves practicing empathy, kindness, and understanding, all of which foster deeper connections with those around us. Remember, it’s the quality of relationships, not the quantity, that truly matters.

Pursuit of Passion

Engaging in activities that we are passionate about brings us immense joy and satisfaction. Whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, or hiking in nature, these pursuits allow us to express ourselves and experience flow – a state of complete immersion in an activity that can lead to a profound sense of happiness.

Physical Health and Well-being

Our physical health directly impacts our emotional well-being. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep are crucial for maintaining our physical health. Exercise, in particular, releases endorphins, often termed as ‘feel-good’ hormones, which can significantly boost our mood and energy levels.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment, without judgment. By practicing mindfulness, we can reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and enhance our overall well-being. Meditation, a form of mindfulness, has been shown to increase happiness by promoting a sense of calm and clarity.

Conclusion: The Journey to Happiness

In essence, living a happy life is a journey, not a destination. It involves a continuous process of growth and self-improvement. It’s about finding balance, cultivating positive relationships, pursuing passions, taking care of our physical health, and practicing mindfulness. By integrating these principles into our lives, we can navigate the complexities of life with a sense of joy and fulfillment. Remember, happiness is not a constant state, but a series of moments that, when strung together, create a life well-lived.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

  • Essay on Happy Incident in My Life
  • Essay on Happiest Moment in Your Life
  • Essay on Goals in Life

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Essay On Happiness – 10 Lines, Short And Long Essay For Children

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Key Points To Remember When Writing An Essay On Happiness For Lower Primary Classes

10 lines on happiness for kids, paragraph on happiness for children, short essay on the importance of happiness for kids, long essay on happiness in english for children, what will your child learn from the essay on happiness.

The importance of happiness in life  cannot be negated by any means. It is a feeling we experience when we are full of joy. We feel happy and content when we accomplish something in life, get something new like a car, or house, a job, an admission, etc., visit a new place with loved ones, have quality family time, or get praise for our deeds. But, in the case of kids, they find happiness in trivial things, which for them, mean a lot. For instance, playing hide and seek, ludo with parents, visiting a park with grandparents, their favourite dish for dinner, an outing with family, bedtime story, a warm embrace, etc. Writing an  essay on happiness for classes 1, 2 and 3 kids  will allow them to explore their version of happiness and simultaneously learn the art of writing. This article comprises many such essays for your reference on the topic.

Writing an essay on happiness  for kids is tricky as they might not find the right expression to do it. Here are some key points for kids that they can use in writing an amazing essay on happiness.

  • Write an introduction explaining the concept of happiness.
  • Kids must write their definition of happiness and what makes them happy. They can recollect some old memories and write about them too.
  • The essay should be written in simple sentences.
  • The conclusion must summarise the topic well.

Not all words can catch the real essence of happiness, as the  importance of happiness  is beyond any expression. When kids write an  essay for classes 1 and 2  on this topic, they should explain their understanding of this emotion well. Writing in points is advisable for small kids at the learning stage of sentence construction. Given below are 10 lines on happiness for their reference:

  • Happiness comes with the feeling of inner joy and satisfaction.
  • Happiness spreads positivity and cheers all around.
  • One can not learn happiness; it is an emotion to experience.
  • To be happy, one need not be wealthy.
  • Happiness cannot be stored or measured but can be shared or spread.
  • Everyone has different things that make them joyous.
  • No one can steal happiness; it’s something that stays within.
  • Even a simple act of kindness or help can make an individual happy.
  • Virtues like sharing and giving can make one content and happy.
  • The UN declared 20th March the International Day of Happiness to strengthen the importance of happiness in life.

Happiness is a very common topic to be given to the kids in primary classes. Beyond complex statements, teachers expect them to write their understanding of happiness in simple sentences. Here is a paragraph that your kids can use as a reference.

Happiness is the most important thing in life. It is an emotion that can only be felt or lived. As human beings, we feel happy when we feel satisfied and content inside. I feel happiest when I play with friends in school and at home or go out with my parents on weekends. Family time makes me very happy. I feel happy when my mother hugs me before seeing me off to school. I feel happy when my father drops me at the bus stand before going to the office. I feel happy when we all sit together at the dinner table and share our day’s activities.

When students advance academically, they will be expected to write a short essay on the topic of happiness. Kids can refer to the template below to get some ideas and new points to mention.

Happiness is an emotion that an individual can only feel and showcase in actions. Many things make a person happy in their life. It can be a new home, new car, new dress, new toy, etc. But, in my case, I feel happy when I do good in my studies and my teachers, parents, and friends compliment me for the same. I want to achieve great success in my studies in my life and make my parents and teachers proud. My mother and father have many dreams regarding my future, and I would like to fulfil all of those and make them and myself happy. For me, the sense of achievement in life brings happiness and satisfaction. I feel happy when I learn new things in life and get motivated. I have understood that only you can make yourself happy, and I want to make myself happy with my hard work, passion, and achieving a sense of purpose in life.

An  essay for class 3 on happiness should be more detailed and have a clear perspective of the child’s experience. It can have many sub-heads for a better explanation of the topic. Given below is the template for their reference.

Life without happiness is dull and monotonous. Happiness is the key to everything, and it spreads positivity within us and to the people around us, and we cannot undermine its value. We should strive to achieve absolute happiness to lead a meaningful life.

Happiness And Its Benefits

Happiness is the reason to lead a fulfilling life. It is a state of mind that everyone should maintain and strive for. When we have a happy nature, we emit a positive vibe that attracts many optimistic people around us. Scientifically, a happy person leads a healthy life. Happiness keeps our heart health in check, our immune system stronger, and helps us fight negativity easily. Our doctor has asked my grandfather to laugh and stay happy to combat his health issues. He said you would not need these many medicines if you stay happy; you can get well naturally. As per him, a happy person can manage stress well and live a longer life. Happiness increases our motivation to do things better and take on new challenges head-on in life. Happiness is contagious; if we are happy, we can keep our loved ones happy too.

Discover The Inner Happiness

Happiness is the most basic thing that can be achieved with minimal effort. The key is discovering your inner satisfaction and joy, which can be done naturally. Finding what makes you happy is essential. It can be anything, studies, singing, dancing, etc. Drawing, giving food to the needy, and dancing makes me feel happy. My father has told me that if you feel happy doing something, you will excel. He said, when our minds and souls feel satisfied, the result of that action is always positive and worth mentioning.

Is Money The Key To Happiness?

Well, for some, it can be. But in real life, happiness is not subjected to having good money. Small things can make you happy. Delicious food, good friends, and relaxing family time can make anyone happy. I feel happy when my mum makes delicious pancakes on a rainy day, which don’t cost much. How you choose to see life decides your real happiness. Being happy is in your hands.

Ways To Keep Yourself Happy

  • Pursue your hobby:  Do whatever you like in your free time to boost your happiness. It can be painting, dancing, skating, swimming, or spending time with friends and family.
  • Count your blessings:  Be thankful and count your blessings in life. Remember what you have and not what you don’t.
  • Have positive thoughts:  It is a popular belief that “your thoughts make you”. So think good and positive about everything and everyone. And, you will be able to live with contentment.
  • Take one day at a time:  Don’t stress too much about the future. It will take its sweet time to happen. Live in the present and cherish every moment.

The most important thing your child will learn is the value of happiness in their life. They would learn to find joy in small moments in their daily activities and will also learn to structure such essays well.

1. Why Is It Important To Keep Yourself Happy?

Happiness leads to a fulfilling life and healthy. If we stay happy, we can keep everyone around us happy and cheerful.

2. How To Attract Happiness And Make It Last Longer?

Happiness is the most inexpensive virtue of life and can be explored in many ways. Our hobbies, likings and day-to-day activities can make us happy. Helping others and sharing can attract happiness in our life. We need to keep doing what is beneficial for our happiness and others around us to make it last longer.

Happiness can’t be bought but lived and felt. We all need to understand this to make our kids understand the same, and there is no better way than writing to make them learn.

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