happiness in the new year

happy childrenhappy new year to all! what more should i say? of course i want you all to be happy. but what does that mean? what does happiness mean? so many different things to different people. “contentment with one’s situation,” i read somewhere today, “is the greatest happiness one can have.” definitely, that is one great happiness. one among many – and a happiness that may seem meaningless to some.

since there seem to be so many ideas around happiness, i thought i’d see what some of our readers say about it. here you have it:

  • rivka  mentions ayn rand’s question of whether an individual has a right to happiness.
  • leprechaun makes a connection between happiness and luck
  • christa from giggle on says we’re responsible for our own happiness; similarly, dan says happiness is a choice.
  • donna finds joy and happiness difficult to come by after spending years in a cult.
  • marja talks about the happiness that washed over her after her garden party that launched her latest book, a firm place to stand, about her experience supporting others and being supported in mental illness (neat tidbit – i was in the middle of writing this sentence when tina, who had originally introduced me to marja, phoned me up out of the blue)
  • “joy and purpose is found in living a life looking outward and upward; not inward” says meri ellen
  • in the anorexia forum, supportive messages:
  • “your body needs food! you are very underweight and your body is probably screaming for nourishment! i know it is soooo hard to eat but you have to. you need more than what you are consuming right now. you want to gain your life back. you want to be healthy and happy! anorexia takes both health and happiness away and you do not want that. you want to enjoy life and live it to the fullest :)”
  • “health and happiness is the most important thing in life- not what you look like.”
  • the same person talks about overcoming the voice of anorexia, eating a snack, and the happiness that brought being proud of herself for that
  • andrew wonders whether there is a connection between income levels and health
  • “happiness happens when you’re not worrying about it.” says hibs
  • chelle feels she’s found the secret to happiness: live in the moment.; let go of all your grudges; don’t be the judge; accept what happens as a bigger plan in life; want less; help others
  • chollie feels that happiness starts with humility
  • snow thinks that happiness is elusive, and that people often fake being happy
  • and lastly, i just got a message from a friend who said, “i’m so happy i’m not starting a new diet today!”

quite the grab-bag. what’s your take on happiness?

image by carf


  1. Dear Isabella,

    My new year will be happy and I can tell you that I’m very grateful for having you in my life! Thanks for everything you’ve done for me in the blogging world 🙂

    Raul’s last blog post..My New Year?s Eve 2008

  2. Happiness is within all of us. By avoiding those things which lead to sufferinf we allow our happiness to emerge.

  3. I differentiate happy from happiness for some reason. I just read a post from Melindaville about pleasure and happiness. I tend to equate happy with pleasure. I think that there is a difference between pleasure/happy and happiness. Both, if obtained via healthy means, are important to life. But, happiness is a harder fought battle to attain. Many people miss the difference and seek happiness via pleasure which cannot be achieved.

    Happiness to me is contentment within. Actually, it is more than that to me because there is a spiritual aspect, emotional, self-identity, etc.

    I’m thinking solidity of self.

    Just some thoughts.

    Happy New Year!!

    I am really grateful that I found you this past year. Definitely one of my highlights.

    ClinicallyClueless’s last blog post..Happy New Year!!!!

  4. Thanks Isabella,

    I am sorry that I have not visited your blog in so long, and I hope that 2009 represents a year of happiness, fulfillment and joy for you and your family.

    I don’t know that there is one correct definition for happiness, although I think that Alexander’s comment is pretty close on, and from my personal viewpoint, being in tune and aligned with god is an absolutely critical aspect of true happiness.

    With respect to income levels, I am personally not convinced that there is a great correlation between happiness and income levels, although higher income levels do make life more comfortable.

    I think happiness is a decision which any individual can make regardless of his or her income level.

    Andrew’s last blog post..Happy new year and my goals for blogging

  5. Thank you very much, Isabella.
    I wish you a very happy new year.
    I must confess that I am still trying to find out what happiness means to me. I hope this year brings me closer to the answer.
    Warm regards,

    Raj’s last blog post..Silvia’s reflections on India

  6. There isn’t much of a link between wealth and happiness after basic needs (socially defined) are met.

    There is a strong link between place in the social hierarchy and health. (Agency and relationship make up the most important determinant of health – for details see Michael Marmot’s The Social Syndrome).

    For me happiness is being able to live with authenticity – and not have to compromise my values for the sake of money or social pressure.

  7. Happy New Year!!!

    We all have the happy, the joy and the giggles within us. We can choose to tap into these feelings at any time.

    We don’t live our lives in a 24/7 state of bliss and some people have chemical imbalances that makes it more challenging to tap into joy….but we ALL have the ability to touch happy at any time.

    Many blessings and giggles to each one of you for a fantabulous (yes, I make up words) New Year!!!

    Christa at Giggle On’s last blog post..9 Tips to Boost Your Mood

  8. hi everyone – i’m finally getting around to acknowledging all your great comments here!

    @raul – thanks for your wishes. yes, knowing you is definitely an ingredient in my happiness! (i’m lucky enough to live in vancouver and to be able to spend some time with the fabulous raul aka hummingbird in the flesh!)

    @alexander and @andrew – yes, for those of us whose lives are focused on spirituality, nearness to god/goddess/the source or whatever name calls to us is definitely at the core of happiness …

    @CC the difference you make between happiness and happy is very interesting! of course it would be interesting to think now about pleasure … are you talking about sense pleasure? how would you define pleasure?

    @evan what you said about authenticity – interesting: as i was savouring that word (it is a very flavourful word, isn’t it?) i immediately went back to the feeling of the core. when i am authentic, i am connected to god …

    @christa – yes! giggles! smiles! laughter! when they come right from the belly (from the core?) it is happiness.

    and @raj – i, too, wish for you to move closer to happiness.

    and as it says in the buddhist metta prayer: may you all be peaceful, may you all be healthy, may you all be free from suffering – and may you all be happy.

  9. Thanks a lot! I wish you happiness to, whatever it may mean to you!

    Everyone has different ways of getting it I guess, mine is just to be in a nice position in life… I think love is a great factor too.

  10. hi there oliver and chelle!

    chelle, when you say it’s what you make it out to be, do you mean it’s what you recognize as happiness, or what you choose to call happiness?

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