International Day of Happiness: What Makes You Happy?

Thinking about today, International Day of Happiness, the question “what makes me happy?” might arrive in our minds. This is a tough question for anyone. When you sit down to really think about it you may ask yourself, when am I most happy? Who am I most happy with? What am I doing when I’m happy? These are all valid questions, and good ones, too. By sitting down and attempting to define your own happiness, you begin a really important introspective journey.

Happiness is a tricky thing because it is so subjective. Ask anyone what makes them happy and they are bound to have different answers, some specific and some general.

This week, I attempted to find some common themes in the subjectivity of happiness. I asked some people what made them happy and they gave me lots of answers, as expected. Some said reading, some said food, some said relaxation. But, almost everyone had a common thread in their answers: other people.

Every single person mentioned another person when they defined what made them happy. Some just simply said their friends made them happy, others said good relationships, and even simply having someone be kind to you. People were happy with friends and family, but their reasons for this varied. Some liked doing things for the people they love, others liked simply being around those people, and some people just liked laughing with them. Either way, the prominence of close relationships as a main thought of happiness was interesting and uplifting to hear about.

Not as often, but still prevalent in people’s responses, was achieving goals. Some people found that setting a goal and finally accomplishing it is both satisfactory and a means for happiness. By taking pride in your accomplishments, you take pride in yourself and what you have achieved. Many people associate that pride with happiness, especially after lots of hard work towards the goal.

And of course, hobbies. People’s hobbies or activities they spend time doing tend to make them happy. Oftentimes, hobbies can be competitive or simply relaxing. Either way, by working hard on something you care about, when rewarded with progress or a product, people feel satisfied or happy. However, hobbies may just be doing something you like with no product at the end. By simply doing something you enjoy that is not necessarily mandatory like work or homework, hobbies allow you to be in a place where you are doing what you want, which often results in happiness.

Something we rarely do is sit down and think about what makes us happy or what we are grateful for. For this year’s International Day of Happiness, take a moment to reflect on what or who makes you happy. And maybe, if you want to spread that happiness, let that someone who makes you happy know. This International Day of Happiness, remind the people you care about that you care about them. And don’t forget, that someone out there counts you as a person who makes them happy.