Health Experts Answer: What Is Happiness?

Health Experts Answer: What Is Happiness?

What is the definition of happiness? Mental health experts offer their take.

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By: Hope Cristol
 
Good news for anyone striving for a sunnier outlook: There are more tips and tricks than ever to boost your mood, including these
six surprising ways to get happy. (We love the idea of adults coloring!) But none of that great advice on
how to be happier answers the fundamental question: What, exactly, is happiness? To help you know it when you’ve got it, we asked four health experts for their definitions.
 
Related: See how stress could be affecting your happiness. Download our FREE app for Android devices.

2 / 5 Lack of Anger, Sadness or Fear

Happiness is above all a pleasant feeling, but it’s not the same feeling every time. It can be a warm sense of contentment, or it can be over-the-top joy. But happiness can also be defined by what’s lacking in that moment: When you feel happy, you have a relative lack of anger, sadness and fright. — 
Ronald Siegel, PsyD, assistant professor of psychology, part time, Harvard Medical School
 
Related: Check out this interview with Ronald Siegel on the science of happiness.

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3 / 5 It’s Not About Money

Many of us link happiness with wealth and status, but if those things could buy happiness, the rich and famous wouldn’t have so many problems! Still, we work long hours and push ourselves to the brink of exhaustion on a daily basis. We have overstretched our personal boundaries and forgotten that true happiness comes from living an authentic life fueled with a sense of purpose and balance. — 
Kathleen Hall, founder of The Stress Institute and author, “Alter Your Life: Overbooked? Overworked? Overwhelmed?”
 
Related: Is there any amount of money that can buy happiness?

4 / 5 Feeling Grateful, Giving Back

Happiness is when we feel content and grateful for our gifts and blessings, and also when we feel that we are using our gifts and blessings to help others. This may seem like a tall order, but remember it isn’t something you should expect to experience all the time. We may see only periodic glimmers of happiness — but the optimism about experiencing it is what motivate and inspires us. — 
William Stillman, award-winning author of autism and special needs parenting books
 
Related: Find out surprising health benefits of happiness

5 / 5 Live Life Your Way

Can you approach the world and each new day with brand new eyes, be open to learning, be inquisitive and accepting of what life has to offer you? That would be one definition of happiness. Here’s another one: I have a sign on my desk that reads, “To be happy and successful is to live life in your way.” It’s just like what the ancients said: To thine own self be true. — 
Judi Hollis, PhD, family therapist, weight-loss expert and author, “Fit is a Family Affair”
 
Related: Find out how being satisfied with your life can help you live longer.

Happiness

Happy? Happiness has a powerful impact on one’s general health. This positive emotion can boost your mood, lift your spirits and inspire you. Learn more from our experts about happiness.

Learn more about Happiness
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