When Are You Happiest?

Today I’d like to get your feedback on a question: when are you happiest? I want to avoid biasing the results by putting qualifiers on what “happiest” means, so I’ll let you decide. I’m assuming that none of us can maintain a persistent state of absolute bliss. This must mean there are some sections of time you feel happier than others. I’m curious as to when you feel those moments are highest in your life.

I already have a personal answer to this question, but I’m interested in hearing the variety of responses people have. Add your comment to the bottom of this post, or e-mail me.

The above question is the one I’m most interested in, so if you only have time to answer one question — please add your response. But, here are a few possible follow-up questions you might want to elaborate on:

  1. When are you in your most unhappy state?
  2. Do you spend most your time in that happy state? If not, what prevents you from doing so?
  3. What external factors or internal factors need to be present in order for you to reach this state of happiness?

Depending on the amount of responses, I’d like to do a follow-up post to explore some of the ideas people come up with.

  • Seriy

    I am the happiest when I’m at my Bible Study Group.

    Most unhapy – when there’s nothign to do.

  • Jean Browman–Cheerful Monk

    One of my favorite quotes is by Brenda Ueland: “So you see, imagination needs moodling โ€” long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.” (See my latest post at Cheerful Monk entitled, Are You Spending Enough Time “Doing Nothing”? ) I’m happiest when I’m either moodling, or hanging out with friends and loved ones or in the flow state on a project. I spend most of my time in one of those states. Worries sometimes get in the way, but I regard them as chances to practice.

  • Jonas Park–Collected Stories

    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. It is also dependent on external factors. I’d assume you’re referring to this and not inner peace, since it’s the topic that touches on spirituality, meditative practices, seeing past the illusions of form, etc.
    I feel happiest while involved in an active, meaningful interaction with a small group of people who I find attractive due to their personality, depth, and yes, even look, and who feel the same way about me. Feeling of acknowledgment and confidence is downright buoyant, and it’s an experience I often crave yet rarely experience, either due to lack of my social skills or willingness to put a high priority on social interactions.
    My happy moments rarely happen when I’m alone. Being alone has a tendency to put me in a frenzy of looking for diversions, many of them related to artificial means of connecting with other people such as AIM, forum discussions, blogs, etc.

  • Hokum

    I will go with what Jean has said as far as ‘flow’ is concerned. 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. It helps when the immersion is active – when you feel as though you are actively solving creative problems. I suppose it boils down to those states of high concentration.

    It also feels great to relax after you’ve successfully applied yourself to something, when you feel you *deserve* it.

    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. This is where I’d like to see a change, certainly.

  • rn-elizabeth

    2 things consistently make me happy:
    When I can be of service, which is why I chucked my last career and went into nursing. The second is when I can transcend space and time, this one I will leave to your imagination. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Craig Harper

    Hey Scott,

    Surely different things make different people happy.
    So maybe happiness is an individual response to a range of varied stimuli?
    For one person, a crying baby might be a source of great happiness but for another….
    Not so much!

    And what about things which once made us happy… but not any more?
    Because we’ve changed.
    Maybe for the worse.
    Maybe we make ourselves miserable… focusing on what we don’t have… rather than enjoying what we do?

    Perhaps all that ‘therapy’ has made us more dysfunctional?
    Maybe we think and talk about it too much?
    Maybe I’m helping perpetuate the problem?
    Or not.

    Maybe we should spend less time trying to make ourselves happy and more time and energy trying to make others happy… and in doing so… we’d make ourselves happy!
    That’d be cool.

  • Nxqd3051990

    I’m a student so I’m happiest when I do my exercises well. My parents are very happy about me, so I’m happy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Albert | UrbanMonk.Net

    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 | UrbanMonk.Net
    Modern personal development, entwined with ancient spirituality.

  • Scott Young

    Thanks for all the great entries, everyone.

  • Santosh

    I m happy when i know i’ve accomplished something, if i can recognize n appreciate myself for what i’ve been doing then i am happy, even if anyone else does’nt recognize my work, it does’nt matter, if i’m true to myself then it shows within. Being good to others,helping others is all a part of being happy. On the other hand there are lots of reason that make u unhappy when something does’nt turn out way u expected, when u feel u’ve done something wrong. Though i feel we can’t really distinguish each n every moment based on this, being happy is a state of mind too, we can choose to be happy even though we feel we don’t/can’t make that choice n leave it to our past experiences or just let it go out of our control, coz its us who decide how our mind should react to any situation, we’ve trained ourselves.

  • Mike M in Boston

    I most happy when I also feel secure. Specifically when all the bills are paid and I have extra money. When my car, house and all my gear is working properly. All in all, happiness is a blissful time when I don’t have anything to stress me.

  • Diego

    I am not sure what the state is called, but 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. And it is REALLY hard to attain.

  • Hokum

    I think I understand where you’re coming from, Jonas.

  • Scott Young

    Thanks for the ideas everyone.

  • Joyce Brigham

    I’m at my happiest when I’m hanging out with my husband (who happens to be my best friend), my mom, and/or my sister. There is nothing better than feeling totally loved and accepted.

  • Felicity

    I’m happiest when I’m engrossed with something and not thinking “meta-thoughts” in terms of it. I’m not thinking outside myself, in other words, or worrying about what could go wrong or whether I deserve whatever good experience I’m having.

  • ronald middleton

    The idea of being happiest seems inconceivable to me. In my mind, happiness is a state of mind. Having said that, one can choose to be happy, sad, uncomfortable or glad. If and only if one will subcride to owning there life and take responsability for it, can you truley find happiness. As a child, happiness was a new bike. As an adult happiness is fleeting and a quest. I have found happiness in many ways. Be it new love that eventuley faided, a 1000 wining hand of black jack or playing and understanding my dog. Happiness is and always will be a state of mind