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IzzyAndHerBeans's avatar

How happy would you consider yourself to be?

Asked by IzzyAndHerBeans (353 points ) January 24th, 2012

What makes you happy? Are you currently satisfied with your life? In psychology today, we began talking about what factors influence a person’s happiness. Much to my surprise, attractiveness didn’t make the list. Rather, people claim to be happy based on the closeness of their friends, religious faith and an outgoing personality. What are your thoughts?

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18 Answers

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I am a very happy person. I have very few friends, and the ones I do have aren’t close. I am an athiest and I am kind of an introvert – so it can’t be any of the factors you mentioned.

I really think it must be a brain chemistry thing, because I have had just as much crap happen to me during my life as anyone else, but I am still basically happy.

Another happy person I know is the music teacher at the school where I work. He has been battling pancreas cancer for a decade.

I could say that the reason I am happy is because of my four children, my two grandchildren, a job that I love and financial security. I could also say that this music teacher I know loves his job, his family, and yadda-yadda. But the fact is, even if one of those things went south, we would probably still be happy people.

And on the other side of the coin, I know some people who are always unhappy even though they have more reason to be happy than I do. That is why I say I think it is either a frame of mind or just the way my brain works.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I appear happy on the outside and I don’t like to transfer my negativity to others. Deep inside, no I am NOT happy, not satisfied, I feel so much is missing!

Coloma's avatar

I’d say in my 50’s now I am quite content, especially being in a space now of really embracing my peace and solitude, even as a natural born extrovert. I think contentment is about as close to ongoing “happiness” as one can get. I like who I am, I know what I stand for, I am authentic and genuine and enjoy my own company. No complaints here.

I think having a sense of gratitude and the ability to be at peace with yourself is tantamount to happiness/contentment.

marinelife's avatar

I am fairly happy most of the time.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@Coloma You sound like me! Except for the extrovert part.

Coloma's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt

Haha, well, I am morphing into more of a hermit mode the last few years, I love people and conversation, but, more & more, I just like being by myself doing my own thing. :-)

downtide's avatar

On a scale f one to ten, about seven though it does fluctuate a bit. Overall I’m happy with my life now but I have so many regrets and I feel like I wasted forty years.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@downtide So don’t ruin the next 40 by worrying about the last 40. :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Pretty happy. I have love in my life. I have amazing kids. I have many degrees and am working towards another because I love learning. I have shelter and food and clothing even if we struggle, financially. I have my mind and good friends and the ability to speak openly. I’m lucky.

Charles's avatar

On a scale between 1 and 10, I probably average an 8 with a standard deviation of 1.
Happily married
Four healthy kids
Employed (at least for now)
Financially OK

Those four things above probably contribute to 95% of a person’s overall happiness.

Biggest happiness risks:
Family stress of raising four kids and two elderly (89, 90) parents (there is a LOT of yelling and screaming and crying and fighting and banging and spilling, etc in our house – LOUD)
Health issues (not major)
Job stability

Jeruba's avatar

Looking at your list and applying it to myself:
closeness of friends: not especially; I have a very small circle of close friends, and I don’t see or talk to them all that much; very little of my daily life depends on them. I rate closeness on the quality of our time together, including how comfortable we feel together and how freely we confide in one another, even if it’s only once every two months.
religious faith: negative; I am a committed atheist and entirely content with my beliefs; I’m also a Buddhist lightweight
outgoing personality: nope—and I object to the implication that introverts shouldn’t expect to be happy; in fact, I think those who are more self-sufficient stand a better chance

How about the things that I think are most important?
– good family relationships
– meaningful work (not necessarily a “job”)
– absorbing interests
– the means to meet and exceed basic needs
– time for awareness
– healthy attitude: realistic and generally positive
I rate high in all those things. And I would describe myself as generally happy.

Nevertheless, much of the time I feel dissatisfied and a bit restless. I’m always looking for something more, and then more. I think this probably stems from a certain insatiable idealism left over from my youth, together with a disinclination to make as much effort as it would take to turn so many ideas into reality. There’s a recipe for discontent.

As for happiness, the more I think about happiness, the less able I am to define it. Sometimes I think happiness comes only in single glorious but passing moments. I never expect to know a deep tranquility because my mind doesn’t settle down. But would I truly change anything in my life? I’d probably wish only for better physical health for myself and those close to me.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I am very happy! I have a wonderful growing family, a career that I love, and people around me that make my day brighter. I am very satisfied with where I am in my life and where things are headed. I suppose I base my happiness on the things in my immediate surroundings that are positive. There are always bad things going on around all of us, but I prefer to focus on the good things.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think @Jeruba nailed it. Everything she said except I am an extrovert, but an extrovert who is happy to be by myself as long as I have the option to go and seek out other people when I feel the desire.

I am quite happy and content with my life. Things that could increase my contentedness would be better work-life balance with more time to undertake creative pursuits. I do have a strong yearning to have more time to undertake pursuits outside of my work AND to be able to do work in my community. The lack of these things don’t make me unhappy, they just leave me with a desire to do more in these areas.

I don’t see physical attractiveness as having much to do with happiness. There are many beautiful people who spend their lives feeling sad and miserable and many less attractive people who are very happy and content. If your happiness is too wound up with how you look, how do you manage the aging process? Doesn’t matter how beautiful we start off, eventually gravity will take over and those wrinkles will appear.

ninjacolin's avatar

Happy happy happy.
Joy joy joy.

:)

YARNLADY's avatar

I made a pledge to myself a long time ago to be happy every single day for the rest of my life, and so far it is working.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ll wager 85% happy. 15% encompasses health issues, financial security and fears about stuff I rarely think about except when I think about them.~

Keep_on_running's avatar

I’m only truly happy when I’m dreaming. That sounds so bad, but it’s true.

AshLeigh's avatar

I am usually a pretty happy person. Although today just isn’t my day.
There are many things that make me happy.
My brothers music. The way his words ring true.
The poem my best friend wrote for me. How he always knows what to say to make me laugh. The way his nose crinkles when he laughs.
Hugging someone I love.
A big tub of Ice Cream.
My boyfriends terrible singing.
I am a sucker for the simple things in life. All I need are good friends, good music, and a lot of sleep.
I like shoulders to cry on, I like friends to hug, I like reasons to smile.

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