If you’re over 50—or if you’re currently enrolled in kindergarten—you’ll know the title is from a song. Although whether we’re really happy or not may not be a simple thing to know, we all clap our hands anyway.
But how do we know if we’re happy, technically speaking? Well that’s a matter for experts to examine, including Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and bestselling author on the subject of living long, healthy & happy. I’ve read Buettner’s articles and many others about happiness—took a whole college course in psychology focusing on what makes happiness tick—and I’ve come up with my personal best list.
Top 7 ways you know if you’re happy:
- You laugh a lot. Like every day. Multiple times a day. Sounds simple, right? But really think about this one before you answer it for yourself. How often do you laugh? (Also, how often do you cry?)
- You like going to work every day. Especially if you’re like me and you don’t have to go anywhere! It’s no surprise that a long commute can be a big negative in people’s lives according to Buettner. It’s also no surprise that liking your job can make you happy.
But did you know that you don’t even have to like your job to be happy if you like the people you work with?
In fact, according to Buetner and others, liking your fellow employees and having friends at work is more important than making more money. I can personally attest to the truth of this!
- You have a great social network and get together with friends/family often. Everyone agrees about how important the people in your life are to your happiness, right? Maybe it’s hard to put this into practice in every day life, but those who do are happiest.
- You are healthy. While it’s not something we think about, according to statistics, it is harder to be happy when you’re unhealthy. So don’t take this one for granted.
- You make a decent living. No need for riches. But just in case, I did buy a Powerball ticket when the jackpot went to $625 million yesterday. It would be a kick to play Santa Claus with all that money. Which brings me to the next tell for happiness.
- You focus on others with acts of kindness, helpfulness, care, donating and/or volunteering. Or maybe you’re there for someone with a shoulder to cry on in a tragedy. Of course, you probably already know how these things can make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
- Life Balance. You have the right amount of work, socializing and sleep—and all those other personal care things to keep you healthy, like staying active. This is no news for anyone who spends too much time at work, or too much time sitting around. Or not enough time sleeping!
Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?
I’m going to work on getting more sleep!
Tell me what you’re going to do to improve your happiness.
Join the Authors' Billboard Newsletter mailing list and get a newsletter filled with new releases and books on sale every Friday.
Start out your subscription with a free book!
About USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Queen
A romantic at heart and a writer by nature, Stephanie Queen writes angsty-funny college and sports romance. She’s also written romantic thrillers and rom-coms and has published more than fifty books–so far.
Although she’s lost count of all the jobs she had before she settled on being a Novelist, her favorite was selling cookies as a Keebler Elf. She is a graduate of UConn (go Huskies!) and Harvard U and lives in New Hampshire with her family and her cat, Kitty.
An Indian philosopher despaired with this focus on happiness. I wish I had kept the book. The point was that for us humans it is more important to cultivate wisdom. Perhaps acquire knowledge. Because biologically and on an evolutionary level we are happy already. It is a given. I live across from a primary school. During their breaks the kids are extremely happy and boisterous about it. No life guides, no wellness experts, no wellbeing gurus. However if happiness becomes the major focus all what will happen is that adults revert to being children. Which is not what life is about.
Thank you for your post, Stephanie. It raises a lot of issues obviously. A lot of people struggle with the happiness concept. I truly think some people really don’t know what happiness is. Most often this is because of growing up in a dysfunctional family. I’ve seen young children who are deeply unhappy. Just being a child does not mean they’re happy. This is a complex issue and focusing on being happy is “work” for a lot of people, and it does not make them revert to being a child.