What Is Happiness?

The November 2017 issue of National Geographic features the article The Search For Happiness with Costa Rica, Denmark and Singapore touted as some of the most joyful places on the planet based on the different strands of happiness: pleasure, purpose and life satisfaction. These different strands of happiness braid together in complementary ways to create lasting joy. How people view their life as a whole, how they view their life in the moment and their physical well-being all contribute to their sense of happiness.

In the National Geographic’s Atlas of Happiness, Malaysia is completely left out. Whether this is an oversight or intentional, it begs the question: Is Malaysia a happy country? Under the current situation in Malaysia, I would think the answer is no.

So what is happiness? What would make us happy?

The ancient Greeks defined happiness as the joy that we feel when we’re striving after our potential. True happiness comes from a life of meaning – of doing what is worth doing.

Happiness is a combination of how satisfied we are with our life and how good we feel on a day-to-day basis. The scientific term for happiness is called “subjective-well being (SWB).”

Happy people focus on what they have while unhappy people focus on what is missing. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

Regardless of where we are on the happiness spectrum, we have our own way of defining happiness. Happiness is a kind of choice that we make and create for ourselves. Make daily choices that favour happiness.

Happiness is a choice

Happiness is a choice

Simple things in life can make us happy. For me, happiness can come from:

Taking time off to smell the roses

Being grateful for little things in your life

Letting go of negative feelings and be forgiving


A random act of kindness from a stranger

Laughing so hard it hurts

My favourite coffee in the morning

The thrill of personal achievement

Popping bubble wrap

Organising my home office

Listening to my favourite music

A nap when I really need one

Checking things off my to-do list

A book I can’t put down

Listening to rain as I fall asleep

The way sunlight gives clouds their silver linings

Seeing some photos that inspire me

A good meal

A beautiful sunset

A beautiful rainbow

A good movie

Browsing books at Popular Bookstore

Watching the price of Bitcoin going up

Meeting up with old friends and schoolmates

Family trips

Writing blog articles

Beautiful flowers

Waking up after a restful sleep

Chocolate melting in my mouth

Being out in the field taking photographs

Family bonding time

Doing little acts of kindness

Innocent smiles of babies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *