What is Happiness?


What is Happiness?  

     Happiness is one of the broadest definitions. There have been numerous books talking about the “keys” to happiness. There is not one black-and-white answer to what happiness is. When we are seven years old maybe our happiness is defined as getting a happy meal at McDonalds. At sixteen our happiness could be that we are going to eventually get our driver’s license. At age 18 it might be based on getting accepted into college. Mid 20’s might be defined as happiness with a cozy night in.

      According to “What makes people happiest: Health, family, and Purpose,” it says that the generalized topics of being happy would be “looking to their health and well-being, their family, and having a sense of purpose.” When it mentioned the topic of “sense of purpose” this I found extremely interesting. When I hear this term, there are an array of ideas that come to my mind. To condense these ideas, I would interpret having a sense of purpose as wanting to follow or serve the greater good or a higher power. Interestingly enough this connection can be made with following religion or even serving our country. According to “Purpose May Be The Key To Happiness: 3 Reasons Why,” it says that when people feel a sense of purpose they “tend to feel more positive emotions – specifically contentment, relaxation, enthusiasm and joy.” This adds to my statement about how purpose gives people a sense of stability and something to follow, like a guideline of how to act. It is like a guidebook that people can reflect on and follow. It does make sense how following something gives people positive emotions and then pushes the more negative emotions away. I feel like stability allows humans to have some comfort in helping regulate the ways that they act in their daily life. 

     Such as in elementary school we are given a set of rules to follow (that would be various per classroom.) These rules are set there to give us a guideline of how to act in the classroom that is deemed appropriate. Knowing that these rules are in place, allows other people to expect how those around them would act. It is a predictable way to know the environment that you will be walking into. Because each person will have to act with respect (not have to as in they have no choice, but for the general group of people they would stick to those guidelines.) When we know our environment and what we are walking into we can better predict what might happen hence our anxiety could decrease. When we know what is going to happen then we have this preparedness that we can do. When we walk into the unknown, I don’t think we are exactly the happiest. How can we be happy when anything can happen? 

     Then this question brings us back to the general concept of what happiness is. Back to the article “What makes people happiest: Health, family, and Purpose,” they mentioned family. I firmly believe that family can bring happiness. Growing up with these people in our lives for nearly 18 years can either make or break our happiness. Like everything else, there is no guarantee that one family will be exactly like another family. I believe that happiness from a family comes from having a close relationship that would be looked at as a person-to-person relationship. When respect is equally given to both people (no matter their authority figure.) I think that the strongest bonds are those in that we can see someone else as a person rather than just someone that has the title of mother and daughter. Yes, those titles can be included but there is more to the relationship than the related aspect of it. It is a person-to-person type relationship. The families that have great communication and respect on both sides are those that are most likely to get the most joy out of the family. 

     In conclusion, happiness has so many more definitions that I could go into but when generalized into those definitions that the majority of people base it on, is what I focused on. 



What Makes People Happiest: Health, Family, and Purpose | Ipsos. https://www.ipsos.com/en/global-happiness-survey-march-2022. 

Tracy Brower, Ph.D. “Purpose May Be the Key to Happiness: 3 Reasons Why.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 20 Mar. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/tracybrower/2023/03/19/purpose-may-be-the-key-to-happiness-3-reasons-why/?sh=251862bc5427#:~:text=Purpose%20contributes%20to%20happiness—when,with%20life%20and%20overall%20wellbeing.