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What is Happiness?

Happiness. We often talk about being happy, and we spend our lives chasing happiness, but what is it? What does it mean? Is happiness a fleeting emotion, a sensation in the body, a mood? Is it about life satisfaction, or overall contentment?

Here’s another question for you to consider: what makes you happy? How do you know when you’re happy? How does happiness show up for you?

And another question: should “happy” be the natural human state? Are we all supposed to feel happy all the time?

We use this word so much, but do we actually know what it is? Generally speaking, we often use the word happiness in 2 ways:


  1. Experiencing positive emotions
  2. Experiencing an overall contentment with our lives


However, we all have a different understanding of happiness: what I think it is might not be the same as what you think it is. How I describe happiness and how I experience it might not be the same as you. Perhaps it’s worth spending some time reflecting on what happiness means for you.

Now, back to my last question, are human beings supposed to feel happy all the time? Is that our natural state? And does that mean that experiencing negative emotions is a sign that there is something wrong with us? Some would argue that this is a common myth about happiness that many of us believe. Perhaps being human means we experience both the positive and negative. Yes, there are things we can do to boost our mood, to encourage positive emotions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we can get rid of all the negative ones. Personally, I think it’s beautiful that humans can experience such a huge range of emotions, moods, thoughts. I believe it’s part of what makes us human.


So, I’d like to set you a challenge. Over the next few days, just reflect on your understanding of happiness. What does it mean to you? How do you experience it? What do you notice makes you happy? What do you believe about happiness?

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’re willing to share them with us. Comment below or on our socials!

Here are some further resources you might find useful to check out:


What is Happiness Anyway? https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/202009/what-is-happiness-anyway

The 3 Happiness Myths: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93LFNtcR1Ok

The Happiness Trap (book available to purchase through our recommended reading page): https://valleyssteps.org/recommended-reading/

By Bethan Jones

Course Wellbeing Practitioner