Make happiness happen


I hope you’re getting ready, because tomorrow is the first day of Happiness Happens Month. All month.

Maybe this is a good idea to have a whole month of celebrating what makes you happy, whatever that is for you. And if you share that happiness, you can make others around you feel good, too. It’s interesting that, while happiness is a personal experience, it is also contagious.

The month reminds us that happiness generally happens one small moment at a time, supporting my theory that it’s the little things in life that count the most. Those moments can give us a lift and boost our happiness, even if that feeling doesn’t last a long time.

Recently someone asked me if I am happy. I had to stop and consider that, because happiness is a rather fuzzy quality that comes and goes. It’s hard to pin down, somehow. If you aren’t unhappy, does that mean you’re happy? If nothing bad is happening personally in your life, does that mean you’re happy? If something really, truly devastating happens, does that mean you will never be completely happy again?

One definition I read of happiness said that it is the result of the possession or attainment of what one considers good. Another source told me that there really isn’t a formal definition of happiness; it’s something we know when we feel it. I like that definition better.

Happiness is the feeling that comes over you, according to another resource, when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It may be defined as flourishing, or living the good life. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment.

Sometimes I think that contentment passes for happiness, and some of the reading I did about it agreed with my theory. Contentment is closely associated with the concept of happiness and satisfaction. I am content that I finally got my refrigerator cleaned; maybe I am satisfied, too, but I’d have to say that’s not all the way to happiness.

Then there’s joy, which seems to be ramped-up happiness. One source I checked said that joy is not happiness. Joy is an emotion that comes from anticipating, acquiring, or even expecting something great or wonderful. You could describe it as exhilaration or sheer delight, often from an accomplishment or an event. Think wedding or graduation or career success. I believe joy can come from having a grown child who is fulfilled and successful.

As we enter this Happiness Happens Month, this is all something to mull over, perhaps. But don’t think about it too much, because, as I also read: “Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.” -Palmer Sondreal