Towards A Definition Of Happiness


There is many a definition of happiness

I did some searches on the definition of happiness, and now I know why others do such searches too. There are just so many 'definitions' that the mind boggles.

Free e-book and more with your new (free) subscription to the Happiness Hub monthly e-zine I checked offline and online dictionaries as well as wikipedia.com and various websites. There simply seems to be no one definition of happiness on which everyone agrees -- which is not at all surprising, because everyone is unique.

Many of the websites seemed to have a page or more devoted to defining happiness. However, what was listed there was often not a definition of happiness as such, but rather a quote of someone's thoughts about what brings happiness. For me a definition should be a succinct statement of what it is that one is defining.

Here is how some sources define happiness

See also my pages of happiness quotes


Some quotes of people who have tried to define happiness

George Sheehan: Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.

My comment: Huh? ... 'to do with struggling and enduring'?


Robert Ingersoll: Happiness is not a reward - it is a consequence.

My comment: This still doesn't say what happiness is, only how it comes. I also don't agree with what he says.


Aristotle: Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.

My comment: I agree with Aristotle. But it still doesn't define what happiness is. Perhaps he felt the same way as I do: that surely everyone knows what happiness is, seeing that everyone wants it?


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Oscar Levant: Happiness is not something you experience, it’s something you remember.

My comment: Wow! I'm not even going to try to figure what that means.


Margaret Lee Runbeck: Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.

My comment: Hmmmm. I guess she is saying that happiness is a way of living. Yet, I'd say it still isn't quite on the button as far as a definition is concerned.


Denis Waitley: Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

My comment: Aha! Here's someone who sees happiness as an experience.


Wikipedia's definition of happiness

Happiness is an emotion associated with feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense joy. A variety of philosophical, religious, psychological and biological approaches have been taken to defining happiness and identifying its sources.

My comment: This is the closest to a happiness definition I've seen so far, and I think it is a pretty good one.

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How thefreedictionary.com defines of happiness

What is happiness? "A state of tranquility free from anxiety and emotional disturbance."

My comment: This one is close to how I see happiness, in a way, though I would say that happiness is a bit more than just freedom from negatives. For me it is a positive, exhilarating feeling.


How merriam-webster.com sets out to define happiness

... a state of well-being and contentment

... a pleasurable or satisfying experience

My comment: Yep ... I can relate to that.


dictionary.com explains: what is happiness

–noun 1. the quality or state of being happy. 2. good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

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Synonyms 1, 2. pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentedness, delight, enjoyment, satisfaction. Happiness, bliss, contentment, felicity imply an active or passive state of pleasure or pleasurable satisfaction. Happiness results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good: the happiness of visiting one's family. Bliss is unalloyed happiness or supreme delight: the bliss of perfect companionship. Contentment is a peaceful kind of happiness in which one rests without desires, even though every wish may not have been gratified: contentment in one's surroundings. Felicity is a formal word for happiness of an especially fortunate or intense kind: to wish a young couple felicity in life. —Antonyms 1. misery.

My comment: I think the above helps to clarify the variety of what happiness is all about. It's not easy to define happiness in just a few words.


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My own simple definition of happiness

Happiness is the experience of feeling good.

Expansion of that definition of happiness: Happiness (feeling good) is experienced in many hues and shades, in many intensities, and in many circumstances. But it is always, always, experienced inside the human physiology, although the experience of happiness may often be triggered by outside circumstances.

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