Last week, I asked you when you were happiest. As I expected, I got a wide range of answers. I’d like to share some common themes in your answers, my personal answer to this question and what I learned from reading through your responses.
Happiness through Activity
A number of you mentioned that you are happiest during a state of flow. Concentrating on an enjoyable activity.
“I’m most happy when I’m fully ‘immersed’ in something, whether it be reading, writing, playing guitar, singing, playing computer games or simply having an involving conversation.” – Hokum
“I’m happiest when I’m either moodling, or hanging out with friends and loved ones or in the flow state on a project.” - Jean
“There is a moment, sometimes extended over many minutes when my knowledge, my fitness and my readiness all come together in a way that I lose track of myself and am just part of the moment. That is when I am happiest.” - Diego
“I feel happiest while involved in an active, meaningful interaction” - Jonas
Happiness through Connection
Another common theme, both in your responses to when you are happy and when you are unhappy, was the importance of other people.
“When I feel a sense of being truly connected to someone or something. A girlfriend, a friend, nature…” – Frank
“My parents are very happy about me, so I’m happy” - Nxqd3051990
“Another point, which is not wholly positive, is that I often feel happiness as a result of the positive opinion of others. The most prominent examples in this case are college grades.” - Hokum
“My happy moments rarely happen when I’m alone.” - Jonas
I resonate with Hokum’s comment about how happiness is often linked to the approval of other people. And unfortunately that isn’t always a good thing. I’ve personally been trying to see how people balance not caring what others think of you while still staying connected to people.
Happiness through Wisdom
Here are some other excellent ideas on being happy offered readers here:
“Maybe we should spend less time trying to make ourselves happy and more time and energy trying to make others happy…” - Craig
“Eckhart Tolle makes a distinction between happiness and inner peace — Happiness is an emotion, and therefore, comes and goes. You generally get it right after you’ve obtained what you’ve wanted, but it’s typically not a persistent state.” - Jonas
“I think happiness doesn’t come from external situations, but comes from within. This might sound very cliche and new-agey, but I think once we’ve turned around and faced all our sorrows and fears and pains and insecurities – then happiness is the natural result. It’s almost as if happiness is underneath all the dust and rubbish we’ve cluttered our lives and hearts with.” - Albert
My Thoughts on Happiness
My answer to the question of when I’m happiest is when I’m creating something. Similar to the flow state others described above, creating something is one of my most enjoyable experiences. This creative state causes me to lose awareness of myself as I try to build something meaningful. This urge to create things is what started this blog, my self-improvement efforts and my endless push towards new projects.
As some people mentioned service and others opinions in their responses about what makes them happy, I believe these are often unstable sources of happiness. Ideally you should be helping other people with the things you create, but focusing entirely on helping people (and ignoring the creative urge) can leave you burnt out trying to please other people.
My personal answer to the question of how to increase happy moments would be to focus on building something you deem meaningful and challenging.
What are your thoughts on this subject and the ideas other readers submitted?