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What Makes You Happy?

By September 26, 2008 - 6:34pm
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Ask 10 people the question and you'll get 100 different answers. From a baby's laugh to a cute kitten, gardening or a stroll on the beach, we each have a special response to things in life that make us feel happy.

But, what makes you happy way down deep inside? Have you ever tried to figure that out?

Have you ever tried to understand what happened to someone who can't seem to find that happy place in herself?

The Happiness Formula, BBC Two

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I feel happy when I feel completely and utterly myself, with all that entails -- good and bad, strengths and weaknesses, things i love to do, and so on.

That means, I'm usually a barefoot girl. I'm surrounded by dogs. I love doing creative work.

I feel happy when I'm lean and fit, and I can't claim to be either right now, which bugs me. But I'm on the way as far as those things are concerned.

I think good work makes us happy. Having a purpose to our days, whether that is working at an office or working at home or working to raise good children, seems to be critical to how we see ourselves personally and in the world. There are many parts of my life besides work, but in the times when I haven't worked, I've felt somewhat unmoored even if the other parts of my life are fine.

And, of course, on a lighter note, ice cream!

September 30, 2008 - 9:22am
EmpowHER Guest

What tends to make me happy is when I have enough money left over after all the bills are paid and I can sit down and relax to a nice walk in the park with my dog and not have my mind wander about this that and everything else going on. Serenity now.

September 27, 2008 - 3:04pm
HERWriter Guide

One thing that makes me content is order. An ordered home with no clutter really gives me peace. Cleanliness makes me happy. I am a huge fan of 'order' even though I work in a creative field where many of my peers are blissfully content in disorder!

The fact that my life is not set in stone. I enjoy some aspects of continuity and security (I need it, too) but I don't want the next 50 years to be predictable. I'm not sure where I'll be living 5 years from now. If it's here, then great! But if we move again, I consider it a grand new adventure!

On a more 'hallmark' note (!), seeing my bunch of toddlers having a blast makes me very happy. I also love when they are eating and liking their meal (not always the case) and how quiet they get as they sit together, munching at the table. That stuff, I love.

I also love when I have been creative, whether it's a painting I've done, or a piece I have written. I get a great sense of fulfillment from that.

Travel makes me happy because it's new, refreshing and exciting.

Weekend evenings in winter, with a fire on and all of us watching a movie.

Getting an email or phone call from someone I haven't heard from in ages.

A girls night out.

The smell of cut grass and clean laundry.

The softness and scent of my childrens skin.

Their innocence and utter lack of guile. Long may it last.

Lastly, a rare evening out with my husband, just the two of us. A nice meal in a great restaurant, where we can unwind and just be a couple for a little while.

So lots of things make me happy. Some are tangible, some more abstract. Some simple, some more complex.

Oh and I agree with Jenny - I think some people who are unhappy are that way because they have not or cannot fulfill their dreams. We all have dreams and that's a good thing. But sometimes dreams are just that - and it's better to have goals. The difference between the two being realism! And knowing the difference is key.

As she said, it's never too late to make a dream into a goal or to change dreams and create new ones. Letting go may be all it takes.

September 27, 2008 - 5:06am

Great, thought-provoking question ... and it's something I've thought about frequently. Here's what I've come up ... and surprisingly (or not) these are the same things that made me happy when I was 15 years old. I apologize if I fall into the side of Hallmark.

Spending time with family and friends, an intellectual/philosophical challenge, authenticity, when great things happen to people I care about, feeling grounded, wind, just about any kind of music, being outdoors or being active, people who have great spirit .... and when a quirky piece of furniture fits perfectly into a room (albeit, it's a brief happy.)

And yes, I've tried delving into reasons my once-happy friends don't seem so happy any more. Sometimes I think they are overwhelmed or they relinquished their dreams. But in my humble opinion, you're never too old and it's never too late.

September 26, 2008 - 8:27pm
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