What Happiness Means To Us

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Each month, we upload a new writing prompt on our sidebar, encouraging people to write in on the topic. July’s writing prompt is HAPPINESS.

What is happiness? What makes you happy? How do you actively make yourself — or others — feel happy?

Here’s how our staff answered…

Sometimes I worry we have the wrong idea about happiness. We think it’s this perpetual state of chasing, when really, happiness exist in the little moments in life. It’s the smile on the face of someone you love. It’s a really great book. It’s the first spring day after a long, dreary winter. It’s the smell of chocolate chip cookies. It’s singing along to your favorite song at the top of your lungs. It’s laughing so hard your stomach hurts. And happiness doesn’t necessarily look the same for everyone – but it is all around us, even though sometimes we don’t feel it. So, to me, happiness is the little things, the small moments that really make us smile or laugh and think, “Life is good.” – Crystal

Happiness is an ever-moving bullseye on the target of life. The things that make us happy when we are 15 will not be the same things that make us happy at 25. In fact, things that make us happy yesterday, might not make us happy today. We change jobs, end and begin relationships, move from place to place, all in the pursuit of happiness. I think we sometimes over complicate the notion of what it is to be happy. We let all the sadness and bitterness and disappointment take over our lives and forget to appreciate the small things that can make us happy. Happiness is right there, whenever we decide to reach for it. We can appreciate the smell, taste, and warmth of a cup of coffee, and let go of all the anxieties that we can’t do anything about. That is happiness. Living in the moment, and making it your mission to enjoy that one moment is happiness. We can’t change the past and we have limited impact on the future, so don’t worry, enjoy life, and be happy. – Jessie

I can think of no better way to describe happiness than this quote that I heard years ago: “The three grand essentials of happiness are: Something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.” When I reflect on all the things that make me a happy person on the whole, everything almost always falls into one of these categories. I’m so grateful that I’ve got all three! However, I don’t purposely seek to fill my day with these three essentials. There’s another kind of happiness, a happiness that just lingers, and it’s up for the taking if you’re in the right mind-set. For instance, even if you didn’t have something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for, there are other opportunities to be happy all around you. A pretty purple weed, a singing bird, a handwritten letter, a song on the radio, a loaf of fresh bread from your neighbor, a phone call to your grandparents, a ray of sun bursting through gray skies, all of these things are just things but only a person who chooses to see what’s wonderful about each of them is really allowing a spark of happiness into their life. – Stephanie

Photo credit Katie Thomas

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