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For Happiness in the New Year, Stop Overdoing Everything

Overachieving and overthinking are ways we try to feel more secure, but they can seriously hurt our mental and physical health..

opinion essay happiness

Julia DiGangi

Updated Dec. 30, 2023 12:11 am ET

Each New Year, we pledge to transform our bodies, improve our careers, organize our homes and develop new hobbies. We dedicate ourselves to doing more—more exercise, more work, more activities and social engagements. On its face, striving for more sounds pretty good. But it also has a dark side that we need to resist. 

As a neuropsychologist, much of my work focuses on how people respond to stress. I often find myself helping people understand the effects of self-defeating behaviors that I call the Overs. It’s a familiar list: overworking, overachieving, overthinking, overexplaining, overgiving, overcommitting and overaccommodating.

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What Is Happiness?

Defining Happiness, and How to Become Happier

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

opinion essay happiness

Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change.

opinion essay happiness

Verywell/ Jiaqi Zhou

How to Cultivate Happiness

How to be a happier person.

Happiness is something that people seek to find, yet what defines happiness can vary from one person to the next. Typically, happiness is an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. While happiness has many different definitions, it is often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction. 

When most people talk about the true meaning of happiness, they might be talking about how they feel in the present moment or referring to a more general sense of how they feel about life overall.

Because happiness tends to be such a broadly defined term, psychologists and other social scientists typically use the term ' subjective well-being ' when they talk about this emotional state. Just as it sounds, subjective well-being tends to focus on an individual's overall personal feelings about their life in the present.  

Two key components of happiness (or subjective well-being) are:

  • The balance of emotions: Everyone experiences both positive and negative emotions, feelings, and moods. Happiness is generally linked to experiencing more positive feelings than negative ones.
  • Life satisfaction: This relates to how satisfied you feel with different areas of your life including your relationships, work, achievements, and other things that you consider important.

Another definition of happiness comes from the ancient philosopher Aristotle, who suggested that happiness is the one human desire, and all other human desires exist as a way to obtain happiness. He believed that there were four levels of happiness: happiness from immediate gratification, from comparison and achievement, from making positive contributions, and from achieving fulfillment. 

Happiness, Aristotle suggested, could be achieved through the golden mean, which involves finding a balance between deficiency and excess.

Signs of Happiness

While perceptions of happiness may be different from one person to the next, there are some key signs that psychologists look for when measuring and assessing happiness.

Some key signs of happiness include:

  • Feeling like you are living the life you wanted
  • Going with the flow and a willingness to take life as it comes
  • Feeling that the conditions of your life are good
  • Enjoying positive, healthy relationships with other people
  • Feeling that you have accomplished (or will accomplish) what you want in life
  • Feeling satisfied with your life
  • Feeling positive more than negative
  • Being open to new ideas and experiences
  • Practicing self-care and treating yourself with kindness and compassion
  • Experiencing gratitude
  • Feeling that you are living life with a sense of meaning and purpose
  • Wanting to share your happiness and joy with others

One important thing to remember is that happiness isn't a state of constant euphoria . Instead, happiness is an overall sense of experiencing more positive emotions than negative ones.

Happy people still feel the whole range of human emotions—anger, frustrastion, boredom, loneliness, and even sadness—from time to time. But even when faced with discomfort, they have an underlying sense of optimism that things will get better, that they can deal with what is happening, and that they will be able to feel happy again.

Types of Happiness

There are many different ways of thinking about happiness. For example, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle made a distinction between two different kinds of happiness: hedonia and eudaimonia.

  • Hedonia: Hedonic happiness is derived from pleasure. It is most often associated with doing what feels good, self-care, fulfilling desires, experiencing enjoyment, and feeling a sense of satisfaction.
  • Eudaimonia: This type of happiness is derived from seeking virtue and meaning. Important components of eudaimonic well-being including feeling that your life has meaning, value, and purpose. It is associated more with fulfilling responsibilities, investing in long-term goals, concern for the welfare of other people, and living up to personal ideals.

Hedonia and eudemonia are more commonly known today in psychology as pleasure and meaning, respectively. More recently, psychologists have suggested the addition of the third component that relates to engagement . These are feelings of commitment and participation in different areas of life.

Research suggests that happy people tend to rank pretty high on eudaimonic life satisfaction and better than average on their hedonic life satisfaction.  

All of these can play an important role in the overall experience of happiness, although the relative value of each can be highly subjective. Some activities may be both pleasurable and meaningful, while others might skew more one way or the other.

For example, volunteering for a cause you believe in might be more meaningful than pleasurable. Watching your favorite tv show, on the other hand, might rank lower in meaning and higher on pleasure.

Some types of happiness that may fall under these three main categories include:

  • Joy: A often relatively brief feeling that is felt in the present moment
  • Excitement: A happy feeling that involves looking forward to something with positive anticipation
  • Gratitude: A positive emotion that involves being thankful and appreciative
  • Pride: A feeling of satisfaction in something that you have accomplished
  • Optimism: This is a way of looking at life with a positive, upbeat outlook
  • Contentment: This type of happiness involves a sense of satisfaction

While some people just tend to be naturally happier, there are things that you can do to cultivate your sense of happiness. 

Pursue Intrinsic Goals 

Achieving goals that you are intrinsically motivated to pursue, particularly ones that are focused on personal growth and community, can help boost happiness. Research suggests that pursuing these types of intrinsically-motivated goals can increase happiness more than pursuing extrinsic goals like gaining money or status.  

Enjoy the Moment

Studies have found that people tend to over earn—they become so focused on accumulating things that they lose track of actually enjoying what they are doing.  

So, rather than falling into the trap of mindlessly accumulating to the detriment of your own happiness, focus on practicing gratitude for the things you have and enjoying the process as you go. 

Reframe Negative Thoughts

When you find yourself stuck in a pessimistic outlook or experiencing negativity, look for ways that you can reframe your thoughts in a more positive way. 

People have a natural negativity bias , or a tendency to pay more attention to bad things than to good things. This can have an impact on everything from how you make decisions to how you form impressions of other people. Discounting the positive—a cognitive distortion where people focus on the negative and ignore the positive—can also contribute to negative thoughts.

Reframing these negative perceptions isn't about ignoring the bad. Instead, it means trying to take a more balanced, realistic look at events. It allows you to notice patterns in your thinking and then challenge negative thoughts.

Impact of Happiness

Why is happiness so important? Happiness has been shown to predict positive outcomes in many different areas of life including mental well-being, physical health, and overall longevity.

  • Positive emotions increase satisfaction with life.
  • Happiness helps people build stronger coping skills and emotional resources.
  • Positive emotions are linked to better health and longevity. One study found that people who experienced more positive emotions than negative ones were more likely to have survived over a 13 year period.
  • Positive feelings increase resilience. Resilience helps people better manage stress and bounce back better when faced with setbacks. For example, one study found that happier people tend to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and that these benefits tend to persist over time.
  • People who report having a positive state of well-being are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors such as eating fruits and vegetables and engaging in regular physical exercise.
  • Being happy may make help you get sick less often. Happier mental states are linked to increased immunity.

Some people seem to have a naturally higher baseline for happiness—one large-scale study of more than 2,000 twins suggested that around 50% of overall life satisfaction was due to genetics, 10% to external events, and 40% to individual activities.

So while you might not be able to control what your “base level” of happiness is, there are things that you can do to make your life happier and more fulfilling. Even the happiest of individuals can feel down from time to time and happiness is something that all people need to consciously pursue.

Cultivate Strong Relationships

Social support is an essential part of well-being. Research has found that good social relationships are the strongest predictor of happiness. Having positive and supportive connections with people you care about can provide a buffer against stress, improve your health, and help you become a happier person.

In the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a longitudinal study that looked at participants over 80 years, researchers found that relationships and how happy people are in those relationships strongly impacted overall health.

So if you are trying to improve your happiness, cultivating solid social connections is a great place to start. Consider deepening your existing relationships and explore ways to make new friends. 

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is good for both your body and mind. Physical activity is linked to a range of physical and psychological benefits including improved mood. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise may play a role in warding off symptoms of depression, but evidence also suggests that it may also help make people happier, too.

In one analysis of past research on the connection between physical activity and happiness, researchers found a consistent positive link.  

Even a little bit of exercise produces a happiness boost—people who were physically active for as little as 10 minutes a day or who worked out only once a week had higher levels of happiness than people who never exercised.

Show Gratitude

In one study, participants were asked to engage in a writing exercise for 10 to 20 minutes each night before bed.   Some were instructed to write about daily hassles, some about neutral events, and some about things they were grateful for. The results found that people who had written about gratitude had increase positive emotions, increased subjective happiness, and improve life satisfaction.

As the authors of the study suggest, keeping a gratitude list is a relatively easy, affordable, simple, and pleasant way to boost your mood. Try setting aside a few minutes each night to write down or think about things in your life that you are grateful for.

Find a Sense of Purpose

Research has found that people who feel like they have a purpose have better well-being and feel more fulfilled.   A sense of purpose involves seeing your life as having goals, direction, and meaning. It may help improve happiness by promoting healthier behaviors. 

Some things you can do to help find a sense of purpose include:

  • Explore your interests and passions
  • Engage in prosocial and altruistic causes
  • Work to address injustices
  • Look for new things you might want to learn more about

This sense of purpose is influenced by a variety of factors, but it is also something that you can cultivate. It involves finding a goal that you care deeply about that will lead you to engage in productive, positive actions in order to work toward that goal.

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Challenges of Finding Happiness

While seeking happiness is important, there are times when the pursuit of life satisfaction falls short. Some challenges to watch for include:

Valuing the Wrong Things

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but there is research that spending money on things like experiences can make you happier than spending it on material possessions. 

One study, for example, found that spending money on things that buy time—such as spending money on time-saving services—can increase happiness and life satisfaction.  

Rather than overvaluing things such as money, status, or material possessions, pursuing goals that result in more free time or enjoyable experiences may have a higher happiness reward.

Not Seeking Social Support

Social support means having friends and loved ones that you can turn to for support. Research has found that perceived social support plays an important role in subjective well-being. For example, one study found that perceptions of social support were responsible for 43% of a person's level of happiness.  

It is important to remember that when it comes to social support, quality is more important than quantity. Having just a few very close and trusted friends will have a greater impact on your overall happiness than having many casual acquaintances.

Thinking of Happiness as an Endpoint

Happiness isn’t a goal that you can simply reach and be done with. It is a constant pursuit that requires continual nurturing and sustenance.

One study found that people who tend to value happiness most also tended to feel the least satisfied with their lives.   Essentially, happiness becomes such a lofty goal that it becomes virtually unattainable. 

“Valuing happiness could be self-defeating because the more people value happiness, the more likely they will feel disappointed,” suggest the authors of the study.

Perhaps the lesson is to not make something as broadly defined as “happiness” your goal. Instead, focus on building and cultivating the sort of life and relationships that bring fulfillment and satisfaction to your life. 

It is also important to consider how you personally define happiness. Happiness is a broad term that means different things to different people. Rather than looking at happiness as an endpoint, it can be more helpful to think about what happiness really means to you and then work on small things that will help you become happier. This can make achieving these goals more manageable and less overwhelming.

History of Happiness

Happiness has long been recognized as a critical part of health and well-being. The "pursuit of happiness" is even given as an inalienable right in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Our understanding of what will bring happiness, however, has shifted over time.

Psychologists have also proposed a number of different theories to explain how people experience and pursue happiness. These theories include:

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

The hierarchy of needs suggests that people are motivated to pursue increasingly complex needs. Once more basic needs are fulfilled, people are then motivated by more psychological and emotional needs.

At the peak of the hierarchy is the need for self-actualization, or the need to achieve one's full potential. The theory also stresses the importance of peak experiences or transcendent moments in which a person feels deep understanding, happiness, and joy. 

Positive Psychology

The pursuit of happiness is central to the field of positive psychology . Psychologists who study positive psychology are interested in learning ways to increase positivity and helping people live happier, more satisfying lives. 

Rather than focusing on mental pathologies, the field instead strives to find ways to help people, communities, and societies improve positive emotions and achieve greater happiness.

Finley K, Axner M, Vrooman K, Tse D. Ideal levels of prosocial involvement in relation to momentary affect and eudaimonia: Exploring the golden mean . Innov Aging . 2020;4(Suppl 1):614. doi:10.1093/geroni/igaa057.2083

Kringelbach ML, Berridge KC. The neuroscience of happiness and pleasure .  Soc Res (New York) . 2010;77(2):659-678.

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Lee MA, Kawachi I. The keys to happiness: Associations between personal values regarding core life domains and happiness in South Korea . PLoS One . 2019;14(1):e0209821. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0209821

Hsee CK, Zhang J, Cai CF, Zhang S. Overearning . Psychol Sci . 2013;24(6):852-9

Carstensen LL, Turan B, Scheibe S, et al. Emotional experience improves with age: evidence based on over 10 years of experience sampling . Psychol Aging . 2011;26(1):21‐33. doi:10.1037/a0021285

Steptoe A, Wardle J. Positive affect and biological function in everyday life . Neurobiol Aging . 2005;26 Suppl 1:108‐112. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2005.08.016

Sapranaviciute-Zabazlajeva L, Luksiene D, Virviciute D, Bobak M, Tamosiunas A. L ink between healthy lifestyle and psychological well-being in Lithuanian adults aged 45-72: a cross-sectional study . BMJ Open . 2017;7(4):e014240. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014240

Costanzo ES, Lutgendorf SK, Kohut ML, et al. Mood and cytokine response to influenza virus in older adults . J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci . 2004;59(12):1328‐1333. doi:10.1093/gerona/59.12.1328

Lyubomirsky S, Sheldon KM, Schkade D. Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change . Review of General Psychology. 2005;9 (2):111–131. doi:0.1037/1089-2680.9.2.111

The Harvard Gazette. Good genes are nice, but joy is better .

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By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Opinion The pursuit of happiness is happiness

opinion essay happiness

“In order to master the unruly torrent of life the learned man meditates, the poet quivers, and the political hero erects the fortress of his will.”

— José Ortega y Gasset

But a journalist, whose job is to chronicle and comment on the tor­rent, knows that this is not amenable to being mastered. That is what it means to be unruly. Besides, the enjoyment of life is inseparable from life’s surprises, and hence from its contingencies. Surprises and con­tingencies have propelled this columnist through a happy half-century of arriving at his office each morning impatient to get on with the pleasure of immersion in the torrent.

Because of where I live and work, the continuity of America’s institutions and arguments is never far from my mind.

The poet E. E. Cummings — or as he’s remembered, e.e. cummings — wrote of a “footprint in the sand of was.” As a Washingtonian, I live immersed in “was” — in history. I have spent almost all of my adult life in Washington and still am stirred by its grand vistas and monuments. And by the fact that the brick sidewalks of Georgetown, where I work in a house built in 1810, have been trod by politicians, jurists and statesmen who have made American principles vivid and the American project successful.

Having now completed five decades as a columnist, I suspect a few readers might be interested in learning how someone could have the good fortune to tumble into such a career. In September 1958, four months after my 17th birthday, I came out of the Illinois wilderness to matriculate at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Soon thereafter, I did what a young man from central Illinois would naturally do: I took the train to New York City. Arriving in the splendor of Grand Central Terminal, I plunked down a nickel for a New York tabloid in order to see what was going on in Gotham. This purchase of a New York Post was a life-changing event because in it I found a column by Murray Kempton .

opinion essay happiness

I do not remember what his subject was that day, but his subjects generally were of secondary importance to his style, which reflected his refined mind and his penchant for understated passion, mordantly expressed. Here, for example, is a sentence from his October 1956 report on President Dwight David Eisenhower campaigning for reelection:

In Miami he had walked carefully by the harsher realities, speaking some 20 feet from an airport drinking fountain labeled “Colored” and saying that the condition it represented was more amenable to solution by the hearts of men than by laws, and complimenting Florida as “typical today of what is best in America,” a verdict which might seem to some contingent on finding out what happened to the Negro snatched from the Wildwood jail Sunday.

This 75-word sentence — sinewy, ironic and somewhat de­manding — paid a compliment to his readers: He knew they could and would follow a winding syntactical path through a thought so obliquely expressed as to be almost merely intimated. Kempton understood that the swirling, stirring society in which Americans are immersed is constantly clamoring for their attention, plucking at their sleeves and even grabbing them by the lapels with journalism, politics, advertising and other distractions. Furthermore, Kempton knew that reading newspaper columns is an optional activity, so a writer must make the most of his ration of words. Reading a columnist’s commentary on political and cultural subjects is an acquired taste, and a minority one at that: It will be acquired only if it is pleasant, even fun.

However, the fact that most Americans do not read newspapers, let alone the commentary columns, is actually emancipating for colum­nists. The kind of people who seek out written arguments are apt to bring to the written word a fund of information and opinions. Having a self-selected audience of intellectually upscale readers allows the columnist to assume that his or her readers have a reservoir of knowledge about the world. So, he can be brief — most of my writ­ings are approximately 750 words — without being superficial.

Today, America has a much more clamorous media environment than Kempton knew. New technologies — cable television, the Internet, social media — produce a blitzkrieg of words, written and spoken. The spoken words are often shouted by overheated individuals who evidently believe that the lungs are the seat of wisdom. Here, however, is the good news: Amid the cacophony, and because of it, there is an audience for some­thing different, for what Kempton exemplified and some of us aspire to — trenchant elegance.

Amid the cacophony, and because of it, there is an audience for some­thing different.

My path from my Grand Central Terminal epiphany to a life practicing the columnists’ craft was circuitous. After college, I studied for two years at Oxford. As I prepared to leave that magical place, I was undecided about my preferred career path — law or teaching political philosophy. So, I applied to Princeton’s graduate school. I do not remember all the reasons, but I suspect they included this one: Princeton is located between New York and Philadelphia, two National League baseball cities. My father, a philosophy professor, was a born academic; I obviously was not.

Still, having earned a PhD, I was teaching at the University of Toronto in the autumn of 1969 when Everett Dirksen from Pekin, Ill., who was minority leader of the U.S. Senate, died. Senate Republicans shuffled their leadership, and Colorado’s Gordon Allott was elected chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. He decided he wanted to hire a Republican academic to write for him. In the late 1960s, the phrase “Republican academic” was not quite an oxymoron, but then as now such creatures were thin on the ground. Allott, however, found me north of the border and brought me to Washington.

After three years on the Senate staff, I called William F. Buckley Jr., with whom I was acquainted and for whose National Review I had written a few things. I told him that I thought his magazine, which was then and still is produced in New York, needed a Washington editor. He had made a practice of collecting young writers and was probably inured to their impertinence. His characteristically generous reply to me was: You’re right, I do, and you’re it. In January 1973, I began writing columns for National Review and also for The Washington Post, which was just starting a syndication service. Fifty years and 6,000 or so columns later, I number myself among the fortunate few who have lived this familiar axiom: If you love your work, you will never work a day in your life.

So, as a believer in free markets, and hence in the price system’s rational allocation of society’s resources and energies, I am amused by the fact that this system has made a mistake regarding me. Under sensible pricing of labor, people should be paid the amount necessary to elicit their work. I, however, am paid to do what I would do without pay.

It might seem peculiar to derive pleasure from working in a Washing­ton that for many years has been sunk in visceral, mindless partisanship. And, truth be told, the bitterness is often inversely proportional to the stakes. Furthermore, it might seem perverse to enjoy writing cultural criticism at a time when the culture is increasingly coarse and silly. However, one reason the temperature of the nation’s discourse is high is that the stakes are high. Today’s fights are not optional, and they are worth winning.

In recent years, colleges and universities have received from the public increased attention and decreased admiration. This is because America’s most dispiriting intellectual phenomenon is the degradation of higher education , which is being swept by two plagues to which it should be immune: fads and hysterias. But because some of the noblest achievements of American civilization, our great research universities, are imperiled, the nation’s future is, too.

George F. Will joined Washington Post Live for a special tribute honoring around the release of his new book. Watch highlights.

Although there are many kinds of colleges and universities, the idea of a university is inherently aristocratic: Higher education is not for everyone, and it is not primarily vocational or even “practical,” as this is commonly understood. Rather, institutions of higher education — some much more than others — should be answers to a question posed by Alexis de Tocqueville. His “ Democracy in America ,” which has rightly been called the greatest book about a nation written by a citizen of another nation, implicitly but insistently asked this: Can a nation so thoroughly committed to equality cultivate and celebrate excellence, which distinguishes the few from the many? Much depends on our being able to answer this question in the affirmative. Much depressing evidence suggests we cannot.

Under sensible pricing of labor, people should be paid the amount necessary to elicit their work. I, however, am paid to do what I would do without pay.

Then there is the role of courts in contemporary American governance. The fact that courts are increasingly central to the nation’s political arguments explains the ferocity of the struggles over the confirmation of presidential nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court . Many thoughtful people think courts have become too important. I disagree, in part because of various instances in which basic rights have routinely been imperiled by majoritarian institutions but have been protected by judicial ones.

There is also much to reflect on about cultural matters, broadly construed, including the interesting fact that “parent” has become a verb, and sexual mores have … well, let Peter de Vries, the wittiest writer since Mark Twain, explain: “A hundred years ago Hester Prynne of ‘The Scarlet Letter’ was given an A for adultery. Today she would rate no better than a C-plus.”

What William Wordsworth felt about the world — that it is “too much with us” — is how I feel about almost all presidents. They permeate the national consciousness to a degree that is unhealthy and, strictly speaking, unrepublican and anti-constitutional. Entire forests are felled to produce the paper for books about presidents. What we more urgently need is attention paid to the ideas that have consequences as presidents come and go. They are all temporary; the Constitution and the American creed bide.

The more fuss is made about new media — the Internet, Google, Facebook, Instagram and so on (and on) — the more I am convinced that books remain the primary transmitters of ideas. In fact, because of what makes new media so enchanting to so many, the importance of books is increasing. When television was a new medium, the witty Fred Allen, whose career was in radio, quipped that television enabled you to have in your living room people you would not want in your living room.

The new media enable the instantaneous dissemination of thoughts, most of which should never have been thought, let alone given written expression. The velocity imparted by new media somehow is an in­centive for intemperate discourse. Books, however, have long gestations and, usually, careful editors. One of the most demanding and satisfying facets of this columnist’s craft is taking the many hours required to distill to its essence a worthy book that took another author many years to write; to offer just one example, to be able to acquaint a large readership with the lapidary sentences and mind-opening nuggets of information in Rick Atkinson’s military histories — a specialty now almost extinct in the academy.

It has been well said that the United States is the only nation founded on a good idea, the proposition that people should be free to pursue happiness as they define it. In recent years, however, happiness has been elusive for this dyspeptic nation, in which too many people think and act as tribes and define their happiness as some other tribe’s unhappiness. As a quintessentially American voice, that of Robert Frost, said, “The best way out is always through.” Perhaps the information, the reasoning and, I hope, the occasional amusements in newspaper columns can help readers think through, and thereby diminish, our current discontents.

They will diminish if, but only if Americans adhere to two categorical imperatives: They should behave as intelligently as they can, and should be as cheerful as is reasonable. The pursuit of individual happiness, and of a more perfect union, never reaches perfect fulfillment, but never mind. “The struggle itself toward the heights,” wrote Albert Camus , “is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

For Americans, the pursuit of happiness is happiness.

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Essays About Happiness: 5 Essay Examples and 6 Writing Prompts

Being happy and content is essential to living a successful life. If you are writing essays about happiness, start by reading our helpful guide.

Whenever we feel positive emotions rushing through our heads, chances are we are feeling happy. Happiness is what you feel when you enter the house, the smell of your favorite food being cooked or when you finally save up enough money to buy something you’ve wanted. It is an undeniably magical feeling. 

Happiness can do wonders for your productivity and well-being; when you are happy, you are more energetic, optimistic, and motivated. So it is, without a doubt, important. However, do not become caught up in trying to be happy, as this may lead to worse problems. Instead, allow yourself to feel your emotions; be authentic, even if that means feeling a little more negative.

5 Top Essay Examples

1. causes of happiness by otis curtis, 2. how to be happy by tara parker-pope, 3. reflections on ‘happiness’ by shahzada sultan.

  • 4.  Happiness is Overrated by John Gorman

5. Toxic positivity by Suhani Mahajan

6 prompts for essays about happiness, 1. why is it important to be happy, 2. what is happiness to you, 3. the role of material things in happiness, 4. how does happiness make you more productive, 5. is true happiness achievable, 6. happiness vs. truth.

“If you don’t feel good about yourself you will have a similarly negative attitude towards others and education is one way of having good self-esteem, as it helps you to live life successfully and happily. Education is one way of getting that dream job and education is an essential cog in the wheel to living comfortably and happily. One English survey that included over 15,000 participants revealed that 81 percent of people who had achieved a good level of education had a high level of life satisfaction.”

Based on personal beliefs and research, Curtis’ essay describes different contributing causes to people’s happiness. These include a loving, stable family and good health. Interestingly, there is a positive correlation between education level and happiness, as Curtis cites statistics showing that education leads to high self-esteem, which can make you happier. 

“Socratic questioning is the process of challenging and changing irrational thoughts. Studies show that this method can reduce depression symptoms. The goal is to get you from a negative mindset (“I’m a failure.”) to a more positive one (“I’ve had a lot of success in my career. This is just one setback that doesn’t reflect on me. I can learn from it and be better.”)”

Parker-Pope writes about the different factors of happiness and how to practice mindfulness and positivity in this guide. She gives tips such as doing breathing exercises, moving around more, and spending time in places and with people that make you happy. Most importantly, however, she reminds readers that negative thoughts should not be repressed. Instead, we should accept them but challenge that mindset.

“Happiness is our choice of not leaving our mind and soul at the mercy of the sways of excitement. Happiness cannot eliminate sorrow, suffering, pain or death from the scheme of things, but it can help keep fear, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, pessimism and other fathers of unhappiness at bay.”

Sultan discusses what happiness means to her personally. It provides an escape from all the dreariness and lousy news of daily life, not eliminating negative thoughts but keeping them at a distance, even just for a moment. She writes that to be happy; we should not base our happiness on the outcomes of our actions. We cannot control the world around us, so we should not link our happiness to it. If something doesn’t go our way, that is just how the world works. It is useless to be sad over what we cannot control.

4.   Happiness is Overrated by John Gorman

“Our souls do float across the sea of life, taking on water as they go, sinking ever so slightly — perhaps even imperceptibly — into despair. But our souls are not the bucket. Happiness itself is. And it’s the bucket we use to pour water out our souls and keep us afloat. What we really need is peace. Peace patches the holes in our souls and stops the leaking. Once we have peace, we will no longer need to seek happiness.”

In his essay, Gorman reflects on how he stopped trying to chase happiness and instead focused on finding peace in life. He writes that we are often so desperate looking for happiness that our lives become complicated, chaotic, and even depressing at times. He wants readers to do what they are passionate about and be their authentic selves; that way, they will find true happiness. You might also be interested in these essays about courage .

“That’s the mindset most of us have. Half of toxic positivity is just the suppression of 200% acceptable feelings such as anger, fear, sadness, confusion, and more. Any combination of such feelings is deemed “negative.” Honestly, mix ‘em up and serve them to me in a cocktail, eh? (Fine, fine, a mocktail. I reserve my right to one of those little umbrellas though.)

But by closing ourselves off to anything but positivity, we’re experiencing the same effects as being emotionally numb. Why are we doing this to ourselves?”

Mahajan writes about the phenomenon known as “toxic positivity” in which everyone is expected to be happy with their lives. It trivializes people’s misfortunes and sufferings, telling them to be happy with what they have instead. Mahajan opposes this, believing that everyone’s feelings are valid. She writes that it’s okay to be sad or angry at times, and the stigma around “negative feelings” should be erased. When we force ourselves to be happy, we may feel emotionally numb or even sad, the exact opposite of being happy. 

Essays About Happiness: Why is it important to be happy?

Many would say that happiness aids you in many aspects of your life. Based on personal experience and research, discuss the importance of being happy. Give a few benefits or advantages of happiness. These can include physical, mental, and psychological benefits, as well as anything else you can think of. 

Happiness means different things to different people and may come from various sources. In your essay, you can also explain how you define happiness. Reflect on this feeling and write about what makes you happy and why. Explain in detail for a more convincing essay; be sure to describe what you are writing about well. 

Essays About Happiness: The role of material things in happiness

Happiness has a myriad of causes, many of which are material. Research the extent to which material possessions can make one happy, and write your essay about whether or not material things can truly make us happy. Consider the question, “Can money buy happiness?” Evaluate the extent to which it can or cannot, depending on your stance.  

Happiness has often been associated with a higher level of productivity. In your essay, look into the link between these two. In particular, discuss the mental and chemical effects of happiness. Since this topic is rooted in research and statistics, vet your sources carefully: only use the most credible sources for an accurate essay.

In their essays, many, including Gorman and Mahajan, seem to hold a more critical view of happiness. Our world is full of suffering and despair, so some ask: “Can we truly be happy on this earth?” Reflect on this question and make the argument for your position. Be sure to provide evidence from your own experiences and those of others. 

In dystopian stories, authorities often restrict people’s knowledge to keep them happy. We are seeing this even today, with some governments withholding crucial information to keep the population satisfied or stable. Write about whether you believe what they are doing is defensible or not, and provide evidence to support your point. 

For help with this topic, read our guide explaining “what is persuasive writing ?”

For help picking your next essay topic, check out our top essay topics about love .

opinion essay happiness

Martin is an avid writer specializing in editing and proofreading. He also enjoys literary analysis and writing about food and travel.

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Australian author Helen Garner: ‘[Happiness is] something you glimpse in the corner of your eye until one day you’re up to your neck in it. And before you’ve had time to take a big gasp and name it, it’s gone.’

Helen Garner on happiness: ‘It’s taken me 80 years to figure out it’s not a tranquil, sunlit realm’

In a series of short essays, writers consider what happiness means to them now, after the reckoning of the past few years

  • Read more in the What makes me happy now series

W hat is happiness, anyway? Does anybody know? It’s taken me 80 years to figure out that it’s not a tranquil, sunlit realm at the top of the ladder you’ve spent your whole life hauling yourself up, rung by rung. It’s more like the thing that Christians call grace: you can’t earn it, you can’t strive for it, it’s not a reward for virtue. It exists all right, it will be given to you, but it’s fluid, it’s evasive, it’s out of reach. It’s something you glimpse in the corner of your eye until one day you’re up to your neck in it. And before you’ve had time to take a big gasp and name it, it’s gone.

So I’m not going to spend what’s left of my life hanging round waiting for it. I’m going to settle for small, random stabs of extreme interestingness – moments of intense awareness of the things I’m about to lose, and of gladness that they exist. Things that remind me of other things. Tiny scenes. Words that people choose, their accidentally biblical turns of phrase. Hand-lettered signs, quotes from books, offhand remarks that make me think of dead people, or of living ones I can no longer stand the sight of. I plan to keep writing them down, praising them, arranging them like stepping stones into the dark. Maybe they’ll lead me somewhere good before I shrivel up and blow away.

On a shop window, somewhere up in Coburg: “Halal Meats, All the Fishes and Groceries.”

“Resentment is like taking poison and hoping that someone else will die.”

The under-16s footy coach leaning on the fence and muttering between clenched teeth, “ Don’t turn your back on the play. ”

The fact that the footy season exists, that it’s coming around again. The poetry of footy journalism: a player who “slides out of the pack like a gymnast’s ribbon”.

A family who, in the Age death notices, salutes their father in two words: “Our champion.”

Twenty minutes into a bout of gardening, when I notice I’m moving very slowly from task to task; when haste and impatience have left me.

One driver to another, on the 59 tram: “Quin. She was heavy drinker, you know? Quin? Of England? She die ressently, you know? She drink every day. That why she live a good age.”

An art critic on Delacroix: “… the deep appeal of violence in life and art, and the place of aggression in any realistic account of human purposes.”

My grandsons, who once curled in my lap and sucked their thumbs, striding down the steps into my kitchen: a room suddenly full of man.

The closing words of an article about a theatre company: “For the loneliness. For the forgiveness.”

Sitting shoulder to shoulder with the murdered man’s mother, leafing through magazines, laughing and sighing over trashy celebrities and pretty, ill-cut Chinese garments you can buy online. How hard she hugs me, when I leave.

‘Happiness exists all right, it will be given to you, but it’s fluid, it’s evasive, it’s out of reach.’

Gospel shouters. The fact that Aretha Franklin once walked this earth.

The theatre nurse gripping my hand at the moment the anaesthetic knocks me out.

The surprise of feeling my face soften at the theme music of the Japanese series Midnight Diner.

Realising that I have an enormous vocabulary.

How one of our chooks crouches and shivers and tramples with her feet when I open the gate.

My granddaughter getting a mullet and a job making cocktails and a gig singing jazz in a bar.

Finding a clean hanky in my apron pocket.

Learning how little it takes to please me.

Stuck in traffic on Brunswick Road, listening to Glen Campbell singing By the Time I Get to Phoenix . I know every note, every pause, every beautiful American place-name – Albuquerque, Oklahoma – and the freight of what’s left unsung. Why is he leaving? Why didn’t she believe he would? The singer’s voice hovers over the woman, her door, her work, her bed, while he vanishes down the endless highway – he’s a tail-light, a pin-point, and he’s gone.

Helen Garner is the author of The Spare Room, Joe Cinque’s Consolation and Helen Garner’s Diaries, volumes 1-3

  • Helen Garner
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Suzie Pileggi Pawelski, MAPP and James Pawelski, Ph.D.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness, but Getting Rid of Clutter Can

Science suggests simplification, not accumulation, as a root of well-being..

Posted December 29, 2023 | Reviewed by Ray Parker

  • Owning less leads to a happier and more meaningful life.
  • Letting go of unnecessary things clears your physical and mental space.
  • You should prioritize experiences over possessions.

Source: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

As the holidays rolled around this year, I (Suzie) told my husband (James) not to buy me anything. While I didn’t want to sound “bah humbug,” I already have too much stuff. I certainly don’t need another knick-knack.

Nor do I desire anything additional. I have no room for yet another item that will take up cherished space in our city home.

However, I mentioned there is one caveat: I will accept anything that can be consumed, like wine, chocolate, or flowers. Something that doesn’t leave a footprint and that I don’t have to maneuver around worrying about breaking, losing, or maintaining.

Our son chimed in to wisely suggest I add “experiences” to my list since they are more meaningful than things and are something that our family all enjoyed. I couldn’t agree more and was happy he brought this up.

The memories of experiences live on in our hearts and uplift us, which is in stark contrast to the dust that collects and resides on the numerous items we acquire over the years that often end up stressing us out.

Source: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

“The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness.” (Nietzsche)

I’ve always told James that excess things clutter my mind, like excess words clutter his. As a philosopher who is very deliberate and precise with his words, he got that instantly. So, we are on a personal mission to clean out our home in 2024.

As we wrote in our previous post, my childhood home was recently put up for sale. My siblings and I spent a lot of time clearing it out and sorting through various pieces of furniture, beautiful ceramics, and random tchotchkes before the closing.

To make room in our home for a few beloved family heirlooms, we’ve been parting with objects that are no longer useful, in good shape, or “spark joy,” as popularized by Marie Kondo.

Science seems to support this simplification method as well.

In a 2021 empirical literature review of 23 studies that involved more than 10,000 participants, researchers found a positive relationship between “voluntary simplicity” (often used interchangeably with minimalism) and well-being.

Defined as “a lifestyle limiting possessions and clutter to live deliberately according to one’s purpose,” the term was first coined by social philosopher Richard Gregg, who wrote a popular 1936 book titled The Value of Voluntary Simplicity .

Since that time, others have expounded on the idea and that of minimalism with which it overlaps. Both terms share the core values of reducing consumption and redirecting one’s attention from physical accumulation and goods to personal growth and human good.

Practicing voluntary simplicity is associated with a myriad of psychological benefits, including enhanced mood, increased mindfulness , lower stress and anxiety , and better relationships, as reported in the recent Journal of Positive Psychology literature review study.

Recent research has seemed to catch up to what we humans have instinctively known and felt when in cluttered surroundings: When we tidy up our physical environment, our emotional space often follows suit and naturally cleans up as well.

Source: Pexels / Pixabay

I can see clearly now the rain (clutter) is gone.

Here are some suggestions to help you reap the benefits of decluttering your home:

  • Reevaluate your belongings. Get rid of what is no longer useful or joyful. Let go of excess clutter. Simplify and share your surplus with others. Donate to a favorite charity. Discard anything in bad shape: Things that are tattered, broken, or stress you out.
  • Resist a sudden urge to buy something new. Ask yourself if you really need it or if there is a void you’re trying to fill. Perhaps the purchase is an attempt to suppress an uncomfortable emotion . If so, is there a better way for you to manage than buying something? Perhaps call a friend or go for a walk outdoors to clear your mind.
  • Reconsider buying mementos and instead gift experiences . Spending money on experiences rather than things is associated with greater well-being. Not only will you likely experience positivity in the moment but also down the road through the memories created. It’s a win-win for all.
  • Recapture your memories by photographing your mementos. As we wrote in our previous post, capturing them digitally is one great way to savor your beloved mementos without taking up limited storage space in your home. You can revisit these treasured objects whenever you choose.
  • Reinvest in Relationships. Remember that relationships are key to well-being. The less upkeep we have for our physical environment, the more time we invest in what matters most: more meaningful things, like our relationships with friends and family.

In sum, simplifying our physical environments may also help us clean up our emotional environments. Letting go of clutter helps us feel lighter and less overwhelmed.

As a result, we feel more present in the moment, enabling us to connect more deeply with ourselves and others.

Dunn, E. W., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2011). If money doesn't make you happy, then you probably aren't spending it right. Journal of consumer psychology , 21 (2), 115-125.

Hook, J. N. & Hodge, A.S., Zhang, H., Van Tongeren, D. R. & Davis, D. E. (2021) Minimalism, voluntary simplicity, and well-being: A systematic review of the empirical literature, The Journal of Positive Psychology , 18:1, 130-141, DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2021.1991450

Pileggi Pawelski, S., Pawelski, J.O. (2018). Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts . NY: TarcherPerigee.

Suzie Pileggi Pawelski, MAPP and James Pawelski, Ph.D.

Suzie Pileggi Pawelski, MAPP , and James Pawelski, Ph.D. are the authors of Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love that Lasts (January 2018).

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Opinion: Happiness is a trap. Here’s what to pursue instead

Posted: May 9, 2023 | Last updated: July 12, 2023

Editor’s note:  Monica C. Parker is an expert on the future of work and the founder of global human analytics and change consultancy HATCH Analytics. She has been an opera singer, a museum exhibition designer and a homicide investigator defending death row inmates. She is the author of “ The Power of Wonder: The Extraordinary Emotion That Will Change the Way You Live, Learn, and Lead .” The views expressed here are her own. Read more opinion on CNN. 

Headlines bellow with the war in Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis, climate catastrophe and yet another mass shooting. It feels tone-deaf, almost absurd really, to encourage people to be happy. And yet, we live in a world obsessed with happiness.

Between chief happiness officers, the Happy Planet Index, Gross National Happiness, and the World Happiness Report ( Finland scored the highest  again  this year), it seems as though happiness has some good PR. And let’s not forget Madison Avenue marketers — brands, and anyone associated with selling those brands — want to be involved with happiness, too. Throughout modern history, and with little contesting, happiness has been seen as the end goal and just reward for a life of laudable toil.

Before the ancient Greek philosophers, happiness, like most things in life, was seen as a benefaction granted by the gods. (The English word “happiness” comes from the  Icelandic root  happ  or “luck,” so at least etymologically, luck seems to have always played some role in our happiness.) It was the great iconoclast Socrates who became the first to suggest that happiness was a cognitive and meaning-making pursuit, something in a person’s control, rather than simply a gift bestowed by the gods. And now, the positive thinking movement, abundance theory and any other number of  self-help genres  see some form of happiness as the primary objective and something we can achieve if we just try hard enough.

It’s an unfortunate irony then that in a world fixated on happiness, people are so chronically unhappy. There are  280 million  people with depression globally, according to the World Health Organization, and in the United States alone,  40 million  people are suffering from anxiety, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. It’s a further tragic irony that we are so bad at knowing what will make us happy. This phenomenon of misjudging what will make us happy is called  affective forecasting , and as humans, we “miswant” a lot of things that we have been conditioned to believe will make us happier than they actually do. How often have we felt a certain kind of deflation after that big purchase or much-anticipated night out when it didn’t live up to our expectations?

Between self-help gurus, philosophers and marketers all telling us how to be happy, it’s easy to get confounded. How  do  we achieve happiness? As captivating as it is, that question isn’t the right one. This one is: What if we’re so fixated on happiness that we’ve failed to question whether happiness is what we should be pursuing? What if, after two millenniums of debating the relative benefits of varying types of happiness, we could focus on another, more enduring, more impactful emotional state that will bring us both happiness and more significant benefits? Simply put, it feels like we are on a racetrack, chasing the wrong rabbit.

Why not pursue wonder? Each of us has experienced wonder. It’s as universal an emotion as happiness and fear. Everyone knows the goosebumpy feeling we get viewing a grand vista or seeing children take their first steps. It’s an experience that makes us feel like a small part of a bigger system, and that, in turn, makes our problems seem smaller, too. Still, we all too often seek the comfort of simple positive emotions such as happiness rather than sit in the discomfort of negative or mixed emotions, even though they contribute to more profound well-being.

We resist negative emotions such as sadness or fear at our peril. Psychologist and philosopher  Kirk Schneider  refers to happiness as “potential fool’s gold,” believing the “compulsion to think positively” (i.e., toxic positivity) is equally as bad as the “compulsion to think negatively” and can actually block us from experiencing the “wonder-amazement of living.” Embracing negative emotions not only adds to the richness of our human experience, but negative emotions are also a way to broaden our emotional vocabulary, which helps us call up a greater variety of coping skills. In fact, research shows that people with higher emotional granularity, or  emodiversity , use more  positive coping mechanisms  and recover more quickly from stress.

Even better than embracing your negative emotions is embracing both positive and negative emotions at the same time. Holding two seemingly opposable emotional forces in your mind simultaneously, also called  co-activation , is a powerful coping mechanism that increases our sense of meaning and gratitude in the face of adversity. While emotions such as happiness are known as “positively valenced” and emotions such as sadness are “negatively valenced,” some emotions like bittersweetness, sympathy, nostalgia and wonder are mixed or “dually valenced” emotions.

Paradoxically, this tendency toward feeling just positive purely or negative emotions is further exacerbated when we are stressed, precisely when we could most benefit from the ameliorating effects of mixed emotions. The thinking is that our  emotions sit on a continuum  from simple to complex. Under stress, we lean on our mental shortcuts, defaulting to simple emotions such as “happy” or “sad” instead of embracing the multidimensionality of a complex emotion such as wonder. These types of complex emotions make us more resilient. In essence, by holding both positive and negative thoughts in our mind simultaneously, we can better metabolize traumatic experiences and make meaning of them.

In  one study  of bereaved spouses, those widows and widowers who recalled both positive and negative elements of their deceased spouses were better able to manage their grief. Author Susan Cain, who wrote a bestselling book on the emotion of bittersweetness, described mixed emotions as being “some of the most sublime aspects of being human, and they happen to be connected to our appreciation of how fragile life can be, and the impermanence of life.”

I have experienced this dynamic myself. I vividly recall being a student in Miami, huddling under a mattress with my roommates for what was, at the time, the worst hurricane in history. The aftermath of Hurricane Andrew was utter chaos — street signs bent to right angles, trees whose roots were torn from the ground, towering stories high. I felt certain it was the worst I could witness. That was, of course, until Hurricane Katrina when my family had to evacuate New Orleans.

What an unparalleled sense of helplessness, watching our beautiful city’s slow descent into a watery wasteland, all on prime-time TV. In both instances, it was impossible to be happy given the destruction, the loss. But part and parcel of my grief was my sense of wonder. Curious about how we would rebuild, in awe of the brutish impassivity of the storm but also in awe of the sacrifice of the first responders. And that sense of wonder granted me the resilience to heal and to hope.

Thankfully we don’t have to live through a natural disaster to see the benefit of wonder over happiness. Consider celebrating a milestone birthday. It’s natural to be happy reflecting on our life’s accomplishments, pleased to be alive. But if we were to view that experience through a wonder lens — reflecting in an openly curious way on the challenges we had, the mistakes we made, our regrets, and in awe of the impermanence of life — that experience becomes not only richer but an opportunity for greater personal growth.

And wonder doesn’t just bestow resilience. In fact, in side-by-side comparisons by researchers, wonder’s quantum benefits are greater than that of happiness. Wonder makes us more creative and more desirous of studying the world around us. It makes us humble, less materialistic, more generous and better community members. Wonder-prone people are more likely to perform better in school and work and build healthier relationships. Wonder makes us less stressed and feel like we have more time. A very prosocial emotional experience, wonder quite simply makes us want to be better, more tolerant people.

If those aren’t reasons enough to motivate us toward more wonder, the physiological benefits are particularly compelling. Researchers have found a link between people who experience wonder and lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones and decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines, the latter of which are the markers associated with a number of diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. These links suggest a direct “ biological pathway ” between wonder and better health.

The world, the people in it, and our experiences are not binary or easily defined. Two things can coexist in opposition to each other, and both can be true at the same time. Wonder embraces life’s beautiful, messy complexity in a way happiness doesn’t. It allows for nuance and depth. It allows for the reality of a simultaneously sucky and sublime existence. That uncomfortable balancing coexistence feels more true to me than a manufactured cajoling toward happiness.

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Opinion: Happiness is a trap. Here’s what to pursue instead

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Happiness Argumentative Essays Samples For Students

135 samples of this type

Do you feel the need to examine some previously written Argumentative Essays on Happiness before you begin writing an own piece? In this free collection of Happiness Argumentative Essay examples, you are provided with a fascinating opportunity to explore meaningful topics, content structuring techniques, text flow, formatting styles, and other academically acclaimed writing practices. Using them while crafting your own Happiness Argumentative Essay will surely allow you to finish the piece faster.

Presenting superb samples isn't the only way our free essays service can aid students in their writing ventures – our authors can also compose from scratch a fully customized Argumentative Essay on Happiness that would make a solid foundation for your own academic work.

Free Argumentative Essay On The Learning Process

Example of the cruelty of crime in our society argumentative essay.

I believe that this question is important for understanding the essence of crimes. Their background and main driving forces allow us to find a proper way to prevent them, as well as decrease the number of recidivism incidences. I believe that the majority of crime is violent in nature, but I interpret violence in this case in somewhat other manner, than it is commonly understood. To explain this statement, I will describe what violence is in my point of view, why it can become the source of crimes and how this knowledge can be used to change the current situation.

Example Of Happiness is an Illusion Argumentative Essay

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Good Argumentative Essay On What Does Aristotle Think Is Required To Live A Happy Life

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Jerome K. Jerome

Free argumentative essay on stoicism a lifestyle for happiness

Although Chrysippus created the first account of Stoicism, the Greek Zeno is considered to be the founder of Stoicism, running his own school in Athens. The name “Stoicism” comes from the location where the members of the school gathered, the stoa poikilê, the porch (Baltzy). Perhaps the most appealing thing about Stoicism’s teaching is that a man can reach a state of perfection, infallibility, and therefore happiness.

Wong Kar Wai Argumentative Essay Examples


Wong Kar-Wai is a director based from Hong Kong, who is hugely respected as not only a director, but an artist who is constantly mentioned by critics and film enthusiasts alike. Although many of his films did not go on to become big as other major films in the Box Office, Wong Kar-Wai's films have begun to be well known for breaking the contemporary style of Hong Kong cinema.

Stuff And Happiness Argumentative Essay

Example of argumentative essay on what is happiness exactly, is happiness really happiness.

In his article, Life Satisfaction, Ethical Reflection, and The Science of Happiness, author Dan Haybron argues that being satisfied with one's life is necessary or rather important, but that it does not matter as much as one might think. Specifically, the argument is centered on the idea that happiness and its definition is varied depending on the individual. Moreover, another argument made is that what humans consider as happiness is in fact, satisfaction with life. This paper discusses Haybron's claims and whether there is merit in his argument.

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1. In William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and of Experience," Blake attempts to dig into the very nature of existence and perception; part of the primary message of the works is that childhood is an innocent time that should be protected, but it is capable of being corrupted by the structures and rules of the adult world. As we get older and move through life, getting more experiences, we lose our innocence and start to become adults because of what the government, the church and the rich do to us.

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Essay on Happiness

List of essays on happiness, essay on happiness – short essay (essay 1 – 150 words), essay on happiness – for kids and children (essay 2 – 200 words), essay on happiness – 10 lines on happiness written in english (essay 3 – 250 words), essay on happiness (essay 4 – 300 words), essay on happiness – ways to be happy (essay 5 – 400 words), essay on happiness – for school students (class 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 standard) (essay 6 – 500 words), essay on happiness – ways of developing happiness (essay 7 – 600 words), essay on happiness – sources of suffering, happiness and conclusion (essay 8 – 750 words), essay on happiness – long essay on happiness (essay 9 – 1000 words).

Happiness is defined by different people in different ways. When we feel positive emotions we tend to feel happy. That is what happiness is all about. Happiness is also regarded as the mental state of a person in an optimistic manner.

Every person defines happiness in his/her own manner. In whatever manner you may define happiness; the truth is that it is vital for a healthy and prosperous life.

In order to make students understand what true happiness is all about, we have prepared short essays for students which shall enlighten them further on this topic.

Audience: The below given essays are exclusively written for school students (Class 3, 4 ,5, 6 and 7 Standard).


Happiness is a state of mind and the feeling expressed when things are going great. It is what we feel when we get our first car, buy a new house or graduate with the best grades. Happiness should be distinguished from joy. When joy is a constant state of mind, happiness depends on events in our lives.

Importance of Happiness:

The opposite of happiness is sadness which is a state of negativity in the mindset. When we remain sad for an extended period of time it can lead to depression. To avoid this state of mind we must always remind ourselves of happenings in our lives that made us happy.


Though life throws countless challenges at us on a daily basis, if we drown in those challenges we would definitely become depressed. It is important that we find positive things in our daily lives to get excited about and feel the happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind which makes you feel accomplished in life and having everything in this world without a single reason to repent. Well, although there can be no perfect definition of happiness; happiness is when you feel you’re at the top of the world where a sense of complete satisfaction prevails.

The meaning of happiness is relative and varies from people to people. For some, happiness is when you experience professional success, reunions with family and friends, eating out, reading books or watching good movies. While for others, happiness can be accomplished by some weekend activities which might help you de-stress and get the satisfaction of mind.

If you involve yourself in social activities where you help the needy and provide support to the weaker section of the society, you can experience happiness if not anything else. When a young boy flies a kite, plays with mud, and watches the nature, for him, that is the greatest happiness in the world.

The happiness of mind is often considered quite contrary to jealousy and anger which you experience once you have failed or unaccomplished any desired goal. You should always try to rehearse the ways of keeping yourself satisfied and keeping away from negativity to experience peace and happiness in life. True happiness begins where desire ends!

What is happiness? It is a state of being happy. But it does not mean to be happy all the time. Happiness is a feeling of something good that is happening in our life. We feel happy when we achieve something. But happiness is spread when our dear one is happy as well. Some people find true happiness in playing with their pets, while some may find happiness in staying engaged in creative work.

Happiness is often derived from channelizing thoughts to positive thinking. However, it is not as simple as it may sound.

To achieve the state of complete happiness one has to practice on improving the state of life by:

1. Staying contended in life with what you have. Cribbing and grumbling never lead to happiness.

2. Staying focused on the current life instead of daydreaming of the good days or old days.

3. Stop blaming for something that went terribly wrong in life. The life is all about moving on. Stop worrying and set new goals in life.

4. Being thankful to God for all the good things that you have in your life.

5. Having good people around you who can boost up positivity in your life.

Everyone desires to be happy in life. Happiness cannot be achieved without establishing complete control of one’s thoughts as it is very easy to be carried away by the waves of thoughts and emotions surrounding us. Remind yourself of the good things of your life and be thankful about it.

What is happiness? Some would state that happiness implies being well off. Others would state that for them, happiness intends to be sound. You will discover individuals saying that for them happiness implies having love in their life, having numerous companions, a great job, or accomplishing a specific objective. There are individuals, who trust that the want of a specific wish would make happiness in their life; however, it may not be so. Having true happiness is something which is desired by all.

The Path to Happiness:

There are small things which when incorporated into our daily lives, can lead us to the path of happiness. For instance, instead of thinking about problems, we should actually be thinking about the solutions. Not only will we be happier but we shall also be able to solve our problems faster. Similarly, once in a while, you start the day with the longing to achieve a few targets. Toward the day’s end, you may feel disappointed and miserable, in light of the fact that you haven’t possessed the capacity to do those things. Take a look at what you have done, not at what you have not possessed the capacity to do. Regularly, regardless of whether you have achieved a ton amid the day, you let yourself feel disappointed, due to some minor assignments you didn’t achieve. This takes away happiness from you.

Again, now and then, you go throughout the day effectively completing numerous plans, yet as opposed to feeling cheerful and fulfilled, you see what was not cultivated and feel troubled. It is out of line towards you.

Each day accomplishes something good which you enjoy doing. It may tend to be something little, such as purchasing a book, eating something you cherish, viewing your most loved program on TV, heading out to a motion picture, or simply having a walk around the shoreline. Even small things can bring great levels of happiness in our lives and motivate us for new goals.

Happiness is not what you feel from outside, rather it is something which comes from your inner soul. We should find happiness in us rather than searching for it in worldly desires.

Happiness is defined by different people in different ways. Some find happiness in having a luxurious life while some find it in having loving people around them rather than money. True happiness lies within us and our expectation of happiness. It is something that should be felt and cannot be explained in words.

Even though this simple word has a lot of meaning hidden in it, many fail to understand the real one or feel the real happiness. Finding happiness in the outer world is the main reason for this failure. Nothing can buy you happiness, whether be the favorite thing you desire for or the person you love the most or the career you build, unless and until you feel it within yourself.

Ways to be Happy:

Bring happiness and soulful life to yourself rather than expecting it from the outside world like things, money, etc. Being happy is not as easy as advised to be one happier person. To be content and happy with whatever you have and yourself it takes time and patience. You should practice to be a happier person in all moments and eventually you will notice that no sorrow can sink you down.

Whatever good or bad happened in your past shouldn’t bother your present. Learn to live today with more happiness than yesterday and forget about your past sadness for a harmonious life. Thankfulness to the life you got is another important character you should acquire to be happy. If you compare yourself with someone with better luxurious life, then you will never be happy or content and do it the other way.

Don’t depress your mind with bad and negative thoughts about yourself and around. Try to find every goodness in a situation you face and accept the things that already happened, whether good or bad. Never forget to choose merrier and positive people to be closer to you so that their vibes will also help you in being one merrier person.

Whenever you feel low and depressed never hesitate to go to those around you to find happiness. But be aware of those negative ones that may pull you even deeper into the bad thoughts. Always surround yourself with positive thinking and motivating people so that you can rise higher even from the deepest fall.

Happiness is nothing but a feeling that will be seeded into your soul only if you wish to and nothing other than yourself can indulge this feeling in you. Don’t spoil your life finding happiness somewhere else.

Happiness is a very complicated thing. Happiness can be used both in emotional or mental state context and can vary largely from a feeling from contentment to very intense feeling of joy. It can also mean a life of satisfaction, good well-being and so many more. Happiness is a very difficult phenomenon to use words to describe as it is something that can be felt only. Happiness is very important if we want to lead a very good life. Sadly, happiness is absent from the lives of a lot of people nowadays. We all have our own very different concept of happiness. Some of us are of the opinion that we can get happiness through money, others believe they can only get true happiness in relationships, some even feel that happiness can only be gotten when they are excelling in their profession.

As we might probably know, happiness is nothing more than the state of one being content and happy. A lot of people in the past, present and some (even in the future will) have tried to define and explain what they think happiness really is. So far, the most reasonable one is the one that sees happiness as something that can only come from within a person and should not be sought for outside in the world.

Some very important points about happiness are discussed below:

1. Happiness can’t be bought with Money:

A lot of us try to find happiness where it is not. We associate and equate money with happiness. If at all there is happiness in money then all of the rich people we have around us would never feel sad. What we have come to see is that even the rich amongst us are the ones that suffer depression, relationship problems, stress, fear and even anxiousness. A lot of celebrities and successful people have committed suicide, this goes a long way to show that money or fame does not guarantee happiness. This does not mean that it is a bad thing to be rich and go after money. When you have money, you can afford many things that can make you and those around you very happy.

2. Happiness can only come from within:

There is a saying that explains that one can only get true happiness when one comes to the realisation that only one can make himself/herself happy. We can only find true happiness within ourselves and we can’t find it in other people. This saying and its meaning is always hammered on in different places but we still refuse to fully understand it and put it into good use. It is very important that we understand that happiness is nothing more than the state of a person’s mind. Happiness cannot come from all the physical things we see around us. Only we through our positive emotions that we can get through good thoughts have the ability to create true happiness.

Our emotions are created by our thoughts. Therefore, it is very important that we work on having only positive thoughts and this can be achieved when we see life in a positive light.

Happiness is desired by every person. However, there are very few persons that attain happiness easily in life.

It is quite tough to get happiness in life as people usually link it with the things and the people around them. The simple fact is that happiness usually starts as well as finishes with your own life. All those people who understand this fact easily get the true happiness in their life.

Happiness in Relationships:

There are lots of people who link happiness with the money and there are few others also who link it with the personal relations. It is very important to know that if you are not happy with yourself then, it is not possible to remain happy in your relationship as well.

The problems in the relationship have been increasing speedily and the main cause behind it is the huge amount of expectation that we have from the other individual. We always want them to make us feel happy. For example, some people feel happy if their partner plans a surprise for them or if he/she buy them a new dress. But all these things are not a true source of happiness in life.

Ways of Developing Happiness:

The lack of happiness in the relationship not only exists in couples but also in the relationship of friends, sister – brother or parent-child.

The following are the few ways that help in creating happiness in the relationships:

1. Pay Attention to Yourself:

You should always pay attention to yourself to get happiness. You should not give importance to any other person in your life in comparison to yourself and also expect the same from that person. Giving too much importance to the other and not receiving anything back from them makes a person disappointed and happiness gets lost.

2. Have some Initiative:

You can make the plan of traveling outside yourself. Don’t wait for your parent, partner or kid to take you outside. You can ask them to come along with you if they want. But, if they decline your offer then, don’t get discouraged and carry on your trip plan along with full happiness.

3. Provide some Space:

It is necessary to provide some amount of space to every individual and spend some time with oneself. It helps in creating happiness.

Happiness is Necessary for Good Life:

It does not matter that whether you are a working expert, a schoolchild, a retired person or a housewife, happiness is necessary for everybody to live a good and happy life. Happiness is essential for an individual’s emotional comfort. A person who is not fit emotionally will feel an impact on his complete health that will drain very soon.

Unluckily, despite the fact that happiness is tremendously necessary, people do not give so much importance to all those habits which can keep them happy. They are so excessively captivated inside their professional lives as well as other nuts and bolts of life that they overlook to relish the happy memories of their life. It is also the main reason that problems like anxiety, stress, and depression are increasing gradually in people’s lives today.

Happiness is an internal feeling. It is a healthy emotion. Happiness helps us to stay fit both mentally and physically. Happiness helps in lowering stress and keeping away from any health issues. The reason of happiness may be different for different person. You just need to find out what actually makes you happy. So, if you want real happiness in life then, you need to understand that only you can make yourself happy.

“There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way” this sentence has been attributed to Buddha. Well, at least that’s what it says on one sticker in my dorm room. The fact is that man has occupied himself with the path to happiness for millennia. Something happened during our evolution that made us deeply question the purpose of our existence. People like Buddha are part of the answer, or at least they try to give us the answer.

Since these questions have troubled us there have been many who sought to answer them and by doing so, they formed philosophies and religions. The search for earthly happiness will make many do incredible deeds but if this energy is used in the wrong way it can cause great suffering. How can we know which recipe for happiness is the best one and what we should devote our time and attention to? The trick is, there is no right answer and as the first sentence of this essay states, there is no way to be happy because being happy is the way. That’s how I got my head around this problem, let me explain some more.

Source of Suffering:

At the expense of sounding Buddhist, when you think about most of the things that make us unhappy are material in nature. They are the things that we really do not need but they make us feel happy. This notion is not just something the wise man from the 6 th century BC India expressed but many more have said this before and after him. Socrates and Jesus to name just a few.

What I find interesting in the struggle for happiness is the paradox present in the instructions to reach it. One has a  thought all through life to be good and hard working so he can get the things he wants and needs later on in life but then as you start to struggle for the money you realize that your life is turning into a money grabbing game. So, the source of happiness and stability becomes the source of all your anxiety and aggression. Naturally, we can see how some people thought that all material things stand on the path to our happiness.

But what about the immaterial, what if you are in love with someone you are not supposed to love? The above instruction would tell you to surrender your heart’s desire and you will be free from constraints. Is this happiness? Or is it the struggle to do and achieve the impossible the real source of happiness?

Source of Happiness:

People often forget that they are animals and like all of them they have a logic to their nature and their own specific needs. Like all the other animal’s people are caught in the struggle for existence and sometimes surviving the day can be a real ordeal if you get caught in the wrong circumstances. Men has made himself safe from most of the things that could have harmed him in nature but in doing so he forgot what he has made.

Think about the present from a historical perspective. Even a hundred years ago most people lost up to 80% of all their children to diseases, clean water was a rarity for most of our existence, and people actually had to labor to make food and to have enough to feed their family all through the year. The fact is we have a lot to be grateful for in the present age and the fact that some of us are unhappy because we do not have all our heart’s desires is just a symptom of collective infancy. Having all of your loved ones around you, with a roof to shelter under and with lots of delicious food is the only source of happiness man needs everything else should just be a bonus.

Happiness cannot be found by rejecting everything that is material or by earning more money then you can spend. The trick is to find balance by looking at yourself and the lives of people around you and by understanding that there is a lot to be grateful for, the trick is to stop searching for a path and to understand that we are already walking on one. As long as we are making any type of list of the prerequisite for our life of happiness, we will end up unsatisfied because life does not grant wishes we are the ones that make them come true. Often the biggest change in our lives comes from a simple change of perspective rather than from anything we can own.

Happiness is the state of emotional wellbeing and being contented. Happiness is expressed through joyful moments and smiles. It is a desirable feeling that everybody want to have at all times. Being happy is influenced by situations, achievements and other circumstances. Happiness is an inner quality that reflects on the state of mind. A peaceful state of mind is considered to be happiness. The emotional state of happiness is mixture of feelings of joy, satisfaction, gratitude, euphoria and victory.

How happiness is achieved:

Happiness is achieved psychologically through having a peaceful state of mind. By a free state of mind, I mean that there should be no stressful factors to think about. Happiness is also achieved through accomplishment of goals that are set by individuals. There is always happiness that accompanies success and they present feelings of triumph and contentment.

To enable personal happiness in life, it is important that a person puts himself first and have good self-perception. Putting what makes you happy first, instead of putting other people or other things first is a true quest towards happiness. In life, people tend to disappoint and putting them as a priority always reduces happiness for individuals. There is also the concept of practicing self-love and self-acceptance. Loving oneself is the key to happiness because it will mean that it will not be hard to put yourself first when making decisions.

It is important for an individual to control the thoughts that goes on in their heads. A peaceful state of mind is achieved when thoughts are at peace. It is recommended that things that cause a stressful state of mind should be avoided.

Happiness is a personal decision that is influenced by choices made. There is a common phrase on happiness; “happiness is a choice” which is very true because people choose if they want to be happy or not. Happiness is caused by circumstances and people have the liberty to choose those circumstance and get away from those that make them unhappy.

Happiness is also achieved through the kind of support system that an individual has. Having a family or friends that are supportive will enable the achievement of happiness. Communicating and interacting with the outside world is important.

Factors Affecting Happiness:

Sleep patterns influence the state of mind thus influence happiness. Having enough sleep always leads to happy mornings and a good state of mind for rest of the day. Sleep that is adequate also affects the appearance of a person. There is satisfaction that comes with having enough sleep. Enough rest increases performance and productivity of an individual and thus more successes and achievements are realized and happiness is experienced.

Another factor affecting happiness is the support network of an individual. A strong support network of family and friends results in more happiness. Establishing good relationships with neighbors, friends and family through regular interactions brings more happiness to an individual. With support network, the incidences of stressful moments will be reduced because your family and friends will always be of help.

Sexual satisfaction has been established to affect happiness. It is not just about getting the right partner anymore. It is about having a partner that will satisfy you sexually. There is a relationship between sex and happiness because of the hormones secreted during sexual intercourse. The hormone is called oxytocin and responsible for the happiness due to sexual satisfaction. Satisfaction also strengthens the relationships between the partners and that creates happiness.

Wealth also plays a significant role in happiness. There is a common phrase that is against money and happiness: “money cannot buy happiness” is this true? Personally, I believe that being financially stable contributes to happiness because you will always have peace of mind and many achievements. Peace of mind is possible for wealthy people because they do not have stressors here and then compared to poor people. Also, when a person is wealthy, they can afford to engage in luxurious activities that relaxes the mind and create happiness. For a person to be wealthy, they will have had many achievements in life. These achievement make them happy.

A good state of health is an important factor that influences the happiness of individuals. A healthy person will be happy because there are no worries of diseases or pain that they are experiencing. When a person is healthy, their state of mind is at peace because they are not afraid of death or any other health concerns. Not only the health of individuals is important, but also the health of the support system of the person. Friends and family’s state of health will always have an impact on what we feel as individuals because we care about them and we get worried whenever they are having bad health.

Communication and interactions are important in relation to an individual’s happiness. Having a support system is not enough because people need to communicate and interact freely. Whenever there are interactions like a social gathering where people talk and eat together, more happiness is experienced. This concept is witnessed in parties because people are always laughing and smiling in parties whenever they are with friends.

Communication is key to happiness because it helps in problem solving and relieving stressors in life. Sharing experiences with a support system creates a state of wellbeing after the solution is sought. Sometime when I am sad, I take my phone and call a friend or a family member and by the time the phone call is over, I always feel better and relieved of my worries.

Happiness is an important emotion that influences how we live and feel on a daily basis. Happiness is achieved in simple ways. People have the liberty to choose happiness because we are not bound by any circumstances for life. Factors that influence happiness are those that contribute to emotional wellbeing. Physical wellbeing also affects happiness. Every individual finds happiness in their own because they know what makes them happy and what doesn’t.

Emotions , Happiness , Psychology

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Happiness Essay for Students and Children

500+ words essay on happiness.

Happiness is something which we can’t describe in words it can only be felt from someone’s expression of a smile. Likewise, happiness is a signal or identification of good and prosperous life. Happiness is very simple to feel and difficult to describe. Moreover, happiness comes from within and no one can steal your happiness.

Happiness Essay

Can Money Buy You Happiness?

Every day we see and meet people who look happy from the outside but deep down they are broken and are sad from the inside. For many people, money is the main cause of happiness or grief. But this is not right. Money can buy you food, luxurious house, healthy lifestyle servants, and many more facilities but money can’t buy you happiness.

And if money can buy happiness then the rich would be the happiest person on the earth. But, we see a contrary image of the rich as they are sad, fearful, anxious, stressed, and suffering from various problems.

In addition, they have money still they lack in social life with their family especially their wives and this is the main cause of divorce among them.

Also, due to money, they feel insecurity that everyone is after their money so to safeguard their money and them they hire security. While the condition of the poor is just the opposite. They do not have money but they are happy with and stress-free from these problems.

In addition, they take care of their wife and children and their divorce rate is also very low.

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Happiness Comes from Within

As we now know that we can’t buy happiness with money and there is no other shortcut to happiness. It is something that you feel from within.

In addition, true happiness comes from within yourself. Happiness is basically a state of mind.

Moreover, it can only be achieved by being positive and avoiding any negative thought in mind. And if we look at the bright side of ourselves only then we can be happy.

Happiness in a Relationship

People nowadays are not satisfied with their relationship because of their differences and much other reason. But for being happy in a relationship we have to understand that there are some rules or mutual understanding that keeps a relationship healthy and happy.

Firstly, take care of yourself then your partner because if you yourself are not happy then how can you make your partner happy.

Secondly, for a happy and healthy relationship give you partner some time and space. In addition, try to understand their feeling and comfort level because if you don’t understand these things then you won’t be able to properly understand your partner.

Most importantly, take initiative and plan to go out with your partner and family. Besides, if they have plans then go with them.

To conclude, we can say that happiness can only be achieved by having positive thinking and enjoying life. Also, for being happy and keeping the people around us happy we have to develop a healthy relationship with them. Additionally, we also have to give them the proper time.

FAQs about Happiness

Q.1 What is True Happiness? A.1 True happiness means the satisfaction that you find worthy. The long-lasting true happiness comes from life experience, a feeling of purpose, and a positive relationship.

Q.2 Who is happier the rich or the poor and who is more wealthy rich or poor? A.2 The poor are happier then the rich but if we talk about wealth the rich are more wealthy then the poor. Besides, wealth brings insecurity, anxiety and many other problems.

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Happiness: Personal View and Suggestions Essay

Introduction, personal view about happiness, suggestions on how to be happy, works cited.

Happiness means different things for different people. This notwithstanding, every person is concerned about being happy. Drawing from a study by Radwan (1), defining what happiness is a very difficult task. For certain people, happiness is as a result of being content. It is a unique reaction by a person who feels that everything is going the way he or she desires. To some, it is a feeling that one experiences after attaining set goals.

According to Carlin and Capps (185), most people tend to describe happiness in ways that are quite vivid than definitions of happiness. Despite the fact that people have no problem identifying an expression of happiness when they come across one, no agreement on definitions of happiness exists. This view is also supported by Selin and Davey (294), who argued that defining happiness has been complicated by the fact that no common measurement parameters exist.

A major challenge when it comes to defining happiness has to do with the fact that it has many different faces (Lawrence and Lawrence 6). Despite the huge interest expressed by people in happiness and how to define it, it is very rare that most people will spend time thinking about the concept. Personally, I believe that happiness should be defined as that experience that causes an individual to feel alive. Despite the fact that defining happiness is complicated, there are certain things that can be said about happiness.

First, happiness depends on an individual’s way of looking at things. By and large, what makes one person happy may not trigger happiness in another person. For instance, while money will bring happiness to some people, it may not create happiness for others. Secondly, happiness may be realized by a person who gets what meets a need in his or her life. An individual who is financially insecure may experience happiness when he or she finally gets a job with a stable income. I am also of the opinion that happiness just occurs as people go about their businesses.

I strongly believe that true happiness always comes from within a person. It is a feeling of self assurance. While some people are of the opinion that individuals are the best judges of their own happiness, others are convinced that outsiders are better placed when it comes to judging happiness. Unlike the happiness that is from within, happiness due to external factors is bound to disappear after sometime. For example, any happiness that is as a result of one having all the money he or she desires to have fades away when the money gets depleted. While some people will be happy because they have money and everything else they may require, others are not bothered with material wealth and will be happy with or without money.

In order to maximize happiness, nations and communities should put a number of things into consideration when formulating public policies. Among other things, policy makers should come up with plans to ensure that individuals can get rid of all negative emotions that often lead to unhappiness. It is also imperative for policy makers to see to it that public policies include a training component about happiness. Without a doubt, it is necessary to train everyone about happiness and how to go about getting happiness. As has already been explained, one approach of creating happiness in an individual is to ensure that all bad feelings are done away with. Through training, individuals may also be advised on the best way possible to determine what creates happiness for them.

Another requirement for an individual’s happiness is the ability for one to think positively. It is therefore important for policy makers to figure out how to encourage people to be positive thinkers even in the face of serious challenges. As pointed out by Radwan (1), being positive opens an avenue for an individual to be hopeful and this in turn leads to a feeling of happiness. For an individual to increase his or her level of happiness, it is necessary to be aware of the things that make him or her happy. Nations and communities can take advantage of this fact to help people to be happy. Policy makers should be tasked with the responsibility of coming up with policies that lead to the creation of an environment that leads to the availability of those things that make people happy.

A number of factors have been identified as having an impact on the happiness of individuals (Selin and Davey 297). They include income, security, democracy, freedom, culture, and values. Although the actual connection between income and happiness is not very clear, research undertaken by some research professionals indicate that the level of an individual’s income has a huge effect on his or her happiness. According to McEachern (180), happiness is a basic human right that cannot be taken away from an individual and improving the economy is one strategy that a nation or a community can adopt to create happiness. Arguably, the same can also be said about democracy and happiness. In addition, culture plays a very important role in determining a person’s level of happiness. For this reason, it is imperative for policy makers to think about integrating these factors in the formulation of policies that are meant to promote happiness in people’s lives. Security is equally important when considering happiness and state governments must see to it that people live in a secure environment. According to Biswas-Diener (76), every development should be geared towards promoting happiness in the society.

Without a doubt, happiness is a very important need for every human being. For this reason, efforts must be made to come up with policies that will create a healthy environment for happiness to be realized. State governments are therefore expected to do everything possible to create an environment where individuals can be free to pursue happiness. Security also plays a critical role in promoting happiness.

Biswas-Diener, Robert. Positive Psychology as Social Change. Amherst, MA: Springer Science & Business Media, 2011. Print.

Carlin, Nathan and Donald Capps. 100 Years of Happiness: Insights and Findings from the Experts. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2012. Print.

Lawrence, Denis And Anne Lawrence. Happiness Makes You Healthy: Research and Practice. USA, Lulu, 2013. Print.

McEachern, William. Macroeconomics: A Contemporary Approach. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

Radwan, Farouk. Definition of Happiness and How to be Happy in Life . 2014. Web.

Selin, Helaine and Gareth Davey. Happiness across Cultures: Views of Happiness and Quality of Life in Non-Western Cultures, Amherst, MA: Springer Science & Business Media, 2012. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 23). Happiness: Personal View and Suggestions. https://ivypanda.com/essays/happiness-personal-view-and-suggestions/

"Happiness: Personal View and Suggestions." IvyPanda , 23 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/happiness-personal-view-and-suggestions/.

IvyPanda . (2020) 'Happiness: Personal View and Suggestions'. 23 June.

IvyPanda . 2020. "Happiness: Personal View and Suggestions." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/happiness-personal-view-and-suggestions/.

1. IvyPanda . "Happiness: Personal View and Suggestions." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/happiness-personal-view-and-suggestions/.


IvyPanda . "Happiness: Personal View and Suggestions." June 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/happiness-personal-view-and-suggestions/.

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Opinion Essay: Happiness is considered very important in life. Why is it almost impossibl to define?

Why is it difficult to define.

opinion essay happiness

An opinion essay

An opinion essay

Learn how to write an opinion essay.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and tips and do the exercises.



Information will soon be so easy to find on the internet that people will not need to remember anything. Do you agree?

Nowadays all the information we could ever need is available online and some people say that means the end of having to learn anything.

It is true that these days everything you want to know is a few clicks away as long as you have internet access. However, not everyone has working internet all the time, for example in certain buildings or remote locations, so we do need to be able to remember information. Moreover, it takes time to look up everything you need to know online, whereas remembering something is immediate. The human memory is a much more efficient system.

Another problem is the quality of the information online. How do we know if it is accurate or reliable? We need to think about other facts we know and remember how to compare information from different websites. Knowing (and remembering) how to find certain information will be more important than knowing the information itself.

Finally, the internet is a good tool but it is not a useful replacement for our brains. If we did not remember anything, we would all spend even more time on our phones and computers than we already do, which is not good for society.

In conclusion, the internet offers us many things but it is still important to use our knowledge and memories. We need our memories to function without the internet and we also need to know how to use the internet properly.

  • Read the question carefully. Respond to all ideas in it or all parts of it.
  • Plan your ideas first and then choose the best ones.
  • Introduce your essay by restating the question in your own words.
  • Show understanding of both sides of the argument.
  • Use linking words to connect your ideas.
  • Draw your conclusion from the main ideas in your essay. Don't introduce new ideas at the end.

What do you think about the question? Would it be better or worse if we never learned anything and just used the internet instead?

Language level

I think the use of the internet is not only in conflict with learning, but It has made the speed of learning faster and more comfortable.

On the one hand, With the advent of the internet and access to data whenever we want, we were able to free our minds from memorizing a lot of unnecessary data. It caused that instead of spending our time to remember the formulas and data, we use our time for a deeper understanding of the concepts. Concentration on understanding was a big step in order to make us more clear about how to apply scientific concepts practically, and It made the evolutionary process of turning scientific concepts into experimental tests go faster. Going through this evolutionary process quickly, in turn, caused, firstly, the faster growth of modern technologies and, secondly, the creation of many new data, concepts, and sciences. And now the data volume is so much that not only you can never remember or learn them, but you have to choose the best one that works for you. Somehow, the internet has changed how to learn. It has focused on analyzing the options and choosing the best one to learn Instead of memorizing a bunch of content.

On the other hand, Theoretically speaking, One of the laws In the world is that everything can be useful or harmful in turn. This law also applies to the internet. In fact, how to use the internet determines whether it is useful or harmful. Like many other tools that have been invented such as smartphones, smartwatches, electric cars, and so on we have spent time learning how to use them. In order to get the best out of the internet and don't waste our time, we must take the time to learn how to search. The searching skill is the most important one that helps us find better results.

In conclusion, Given the two analyzed reasons above, I agree with the idea that easy access to Information makes people get rid of memorizing lots of data. But this has nothing to do with the quality or quantity of learning.

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I think it depends on the type of information. Some information are easier to remember, and hence it's more efficient to have them in memory instead of looking for them online. However, some complex information is offered online, and it will be impractical if we tried to remember it. Additionally, I believe that learning is not just about acquiring knowledge. It's about learning how to think with this knowledge available and solve problems efficiently. That's why the internet is considered a valuable tool to promote learning, not to replace it.

Nowadays we are witnesses how far technology has developed in a short time. A huge of information is backing up on internet and if you have access of surfing you can find any information that you are looking for. However, there are some relevant aspects that should be taking into account when we are talking about using always internet instead of learning. In this sense, the purpose of this essay will be to explain why it is not a good idea. Firstly, as you know, most of the information on internet is fake. For that reason, it is impossible the learning process can be replaced by internet use. If you are looking for reliable information you have to learn how it works. In other words you need of learning even if you want to use internet all the time because you have to discern what of all information is useful for you purpose. For example, if you are a student and want to write an essay about a specific topic you likely have to search for the best information if you want to get a job position or scholarship. Secondly, there is a high demand for professionals who have specific skills in the field that they are pretending to be involved. That’s why learning always is a must for satisfying the requirements of companies and institutions. For instance, in the education field, the main aim is the learning and knowledge which are essential on a daily life to be an expert in your field of action and these skills can’t be acquired through internet surfing. To sum up learning and knowledge are fundamentals in a current world that is demanding professionals highly qualified even in our daily live and the internet is far away of satisfying the required skills that you get every day through the practice, research and networking.

I think it become worse and dangerous for our society, we need to control it making rules. Without internet, many skills and knowledge could´nt be used.

I believe that, The internet become even more dangerous for young people who barely discovered the world around them, If they count on it for seeking information without parental supervision, it would be a disaster!

In nowadays,there are many ways to reach information.The Internet is just one of them but maybe most promising one.The Internet helps us to find information easily and efficently.

However there are some negative sides of Internet.For instance realibilty of information.There are no real control on Internet.I reckon there will not be soon.This reduces the trust in internet.This is why People will always need another source to be make sure and need to remember information.

It is also necesseray for objectivity. You can not just have one source and expect true and impartial information. It is against nature of science.This is not how science works.People must have and process the information.In this way we expand our knowledge.When we make brainstorm we always end up with another information. If we don’t have and process the information how Science works?

I suppose in the future People will never trust completely to Internet. They will always need another source and they will need to interrogate source of information.In conclusion Internet is by far most promising invention People have ever invented.However Internet is not beyond our brain and imagination.We will always need to posses and process the information.

It is about my hometown: My hometown is a beautiful, attractive and cool. N'beika is one of the most famous places in Mauritania where attractive views and economic capacities are in. It is located in Tagant which is in middle of the map. Therefore, It is one the biggest cities in the country. As there are interesting geographical features such as: high Mountains, nice valleys, light hills and wonderful pools. Historically, N'beika played an important role in culture, trade exchange and fighting colonialist. Also it has saved historical landmarks, for example: manuscripts, books and cities which the most important is Gasr Albarka. In the north, there have tourist views and in the East big mountains with lovely valleys like Matmata where there are some Alligators in and other attractive animals. As well as from the south and the west there are some fields, forests and farms. Moreover, people are interested in agriculture, trade, development and education. Furthermore, there are many schools and Mahidras and three colleges providing well-deserved education to students. What's more, mall shops is offering demands and created jobs for unemployment. There are different favourite for people , some of them are crazy about football as youth, and some people like doing agriculture and development. Moreover, there are entrepreneurs doing a small business like selling clothes, pitch, barbershop... etc. In conclusion, N'beika is a gift of Allah that has given to people to spend nice moments in order to feel happy and to invest for everything we want due to gain lots of money .

I believe it is amazing updated technology which has helped us a lot in our lives. In todays era everyone has access to internet over the globe. you can easily find all the information on internet that is required to you. Even though learn many new skills which aren't even taught you from the help of internet. it is good help for book writer like us where we can be part of book writing communities or book writing resources to enhance our skills and provides more guidance to others.

It would be unfortunate if we never learned anything at all. It is true that the Internet has become such a vital part of our social lives, and has made information accessible. However, Relying on the Internet all the time may hinders our growth as a person whereas, using our memory to remember things and recalled information can widen our horizons, broaden our perspective and harness our skills. Learning is a lifelong process that enables us to function effectively and brings out our full potentials.

Without learning the internet would not exit. There needs to be learning to develop skills and knowledge.

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Opinion David Brooks

The Sidney Awards

Credit... Brea Souders for The New York Times

Supported by

David Brooks

By David Brooks

Opinion Columnist

  • Dec. 28, 2023

If you want to help people, there are many fine causes you can donate to. If you want to change the world, support a small magazine. It’s hard to imagine the Progressive era or the New Deal without a small magazine, The New Republic. There probably would have been no Reagan revolution without another small magazine, National Review. The Partisan Review had a circulation of roughly 5,000 to 7,000 at its peak but set the tone for America’s postwar intellectual life.

Small magazines cohere a community of thinkers. They develop a body of ideas. They plant flags and inspire social movements. They create a persona that serves as an aspirational ideal for people, a way to live their lives. Small magazines can alter history in a way big media outlets just can’t. So with the 20th annual Sidney Awards, which I named for the philosopher, public intellectual and expert polemicist Sidney Hook and are dedicated to celebrating some of the best long-form essays, this year we’ll pay special attention to these vanguard publications.

I generally don’t agree with the arguments of those on the populist right, but I have to admit there’s a lot of intellectual energy there these days. (The Sidneys go to essays that challenge readers, as well as to those that affirm.) With that, the first Sidney goes to Christopher Caldwell for his essay “ The Fateful Nineties ” in First Things. Most people see the 1990s as a golden moment for America — we’d won the Cold War, we enjoyed solid economic growth, the federal government sometimes ran surpluses, crime rates fell, tech took off.

Caldwell, on the other hand, describes the decade as one in which sensible people fell for a series of self-destructive illusions: Globalization means nation-states don’t matter. Cyberspace means the material world is less important. Capitalism can run on its own without a countervailing system of moral values. Elite technocrats can manage the world better than regular people. The world will be a better place if we cancel people for their linguistic infractions.

As Caldwell sums it up: “America’s discovery of world dominance might turn out in the 21st century to be what Spain’s discovery of gold had been in the 16th — a source of destabilization and decline disguised as a windfall.”

Some of this year’s Sidney Award winners are kind of cerebral, but John Jeremiah Sullivan’s essay “ Man Called Fran, ” from Harper’s, is pure candy. Once you start reading it, you will not be able to stop. It starts when the author was bothered by a vague, unpleasant smell spreading through part of his house. He called plumber after plumber, but nobody could figure it out. Then one plumber said that while his firm had “good plumbers,” sometimes you need a crew with “crackhead power.” He added, “A crackhead will just throw himself at a wall, even if it’s totally pointless.” Sullivan found two plumbers with this kind of power, one named Fran, and what happened next is remarkable, touching and deep.

The New Atlantis is a fantastic magazine that helps us understand the burdens and blessings of modern science and technology — the social effects of everything from Covid to artificial intelligence and lab-grown meat. In “ Rational Magic ,” Tara Isabella Burton profiles a group of tech-adjacent thinkers who have become disillusioned with the alienating emptiness of the world Silicon Valley is creating: its dry rationalism, its emphasis on the technological over the humanistic. Many such people, she writes, are searching for some sort of spirituality. She follows them into the world of occultism, mushrooms and ecstatic dance classes. Burton is picking up on a broader trend I’ve also been noticing recently. New forms of religion and spirituality are popping up where you least expect them — among the techies, among those on the hard, progressive left.

The Hedgehog Review is another favorite magazine of mine. Each issue offers deep and substantive takes on our culture. In “ The Great Malformation ,” Talbot Brewer observes that parenthood comes with “an ironclad obligation to raise one’s children as best one can.” But these days, parents have surrendered child rearing to the platforms that dominate the attention industry — TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and so on: “The work of cultural transmission is increasingly being conducted in such a way as to maximize the earnings of those who oversee it.”

He continues: “We would be astonished to discover a human community that did not attempt to pass along to its children a form of life that had won the affirmation of its elders. We would be utterly flabbergasted to discover a community that went to great lengths to pass along a form of life that its elders regarded as seriously deficient or mistaken. Yet we have slipped unawares into precisely this bizarre arrangement.” In most societies, the economy takes place in a historically rooted cultural setting. But in our world, he argues, the corporations own and determine the culture, shaping our preferences and forming, or not forming, our conception of the good.

I confess that until this year, I was unfamiliar with Places Journal, which offers scholarly but accessible articles on architecture, the landscape and the built environment. This year Shannon Mattern contributed “ Fountain Society ,” a fascinating history of water fountains. I had not known that Aaron Burr started a water company in the 18th century, nominally to provide New Yorkers with clean water but really so he could raise money to go into banking, creating what would become Chase Bank.

Societies reveal their values by how they treat water. Mattern writes: “Clearly the drinking fountain and the water bottle are more than two different options for quenching thirst. They’re embodiments of two different systems, two different sociopolitical narratives, about the provision of water. The fountain is an exemplar of public infrastructure and collective responsibility. The ubiquitous bottle of branded water is an accouterment of consumer culture — a small but telling instance of the triumphant market mentality that has in the past half-century remade so many aspects of our lives.”

It’s rare that an essay jolts my convictions on some major topic. But that happened with one by Subrena E. Smith and David Livingstone Smith, called “ The Trouble With Race and Its Many Shades of Deceit ,” in New Lines magazine. The Smiths are, as they put it, a so-called mixed-race couple. She has brown skin; his is beige. They support the aims of diversity, equity and inclusion programs but argue that there is a fatal contradiction in many antiracism programs. “Although the purpose of anti-racist training is to vanquish racism, most of these initiatives are simultaneously committed to upholding and celebrating race,” they write. “In the real world, can we have race without racism coming along for the ride? Trying to extinguish racism while shoring up race is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it.”

I’ve heard this argument — that we should seek to get rid of the whole concept of race — before and dismissed it. I did so because too many people I know have formed their identity around racial solidarity; it’s a source of meaning and strength in their lives. The Smiths argue that this is a mistake because race is a myth: “The scientific study of human variation shows that race is not meaningfully understood as a biological grouping, and there are no such things as racial essences. There is now near consensus among scholars that race is an ideological construction rather than a biological fact. Race was fashioned for nothing that was good. History has shown us how groups of people ‘racialize’ other groups of people to justify their exploitation, oppression and annihilation.”

One of the joys of small magazines is that they discover writers. Comment is a magazine that brings theological thinking to bear on public issues (and you should know that my wife is the editor in chief). This year, Comment published a powerful essay by Skyler Adleta, who was homeless in high school and is now a construction project manager in Ohio. His voice has power and depth. In “ The Providence of Poverty ” he writes about his father’s alcoholism: “I’ve only really known a shade of my dad, like glimpsing at dead, fallen leaves to study the intricacies of a large, old tree. My dad is an addict. Addiction is like rot, a slow decay imperceptible at first, that works its way from the inside out. When you at last survey the great damage, it may no longer be the person you are surveying, but the remnants of the attack itself. I despise addiction beyond any other ailment because of this.”

The essay traces his relationship with his dad and his decision not to forsake him. He concludes: “So I will continue to climb this mountain with my dad. Whether he likes it, or even realizes it, or not. And when his knees buckle and he falls to his face, he will at the very least not be alone. The question will be whether he allows his son, reinforced by our Lord, to carry him the rest of the way. If he does accept it, it will be a glorious occasion. The great old tree will be restored. The orphan will, at last, be face to face with his father.” Reading the essay, I felt myself in the presence of a bright new talent.

This year I’ve organized the Sidneys around small magazines. But I should conclude by adding that the big magazines, like The New Yorker and The Atlantic (where I also write), also had fantastic years and remain essential reading for any cultivated person. For example, if some year I’m feeling lazy when it comes time to compile the Sidneys, I could save a lot of effort if I just wrote down a single sentence: “Read what Caitlin Flanagan and Jennifer Senior wrote over the past 12 months.” These two writers, who work at The Atlantic, consistently produce masterpieces, as they did this year. Flanagan had a marvelously entertaining piece on the timeshare industry, “ The Timeshare Comes for Us All .” Senior had a moving and powerful piece called “ The Ones We Sent Away, ” on all those people who have been institutionalized and in some cases forgotten because they suffered from brain damage, extreme autism or some other mental disability.

As always, I’m grateful to two phenomenal aggregators who help me find Sidney nominees: Robert Cottrell, who founded The Browser, which gathers the best essays in English from around the world, and Conor Friedersdorf, who publishes the Best of Journalism newsletter, which lands in my inbox every Sunday morning and who catches me up on all the stuff I should have read the previous week.

This year’s nominees convince me once again that we’re living in a golden age of nonfiction.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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David Brooks has been a columnist with The Times since 2003. He is the author, most recently,  of “How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen.” @ nytdavidbrooks



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    In the Opinion essay "Happiness Is Other People," Ruth Whippman writes: But while placing more and more emphasis on seeking happiness within, Americans in general are spending less and less ...

  6. Opinion

    Opinion The pursuit of happiness is happiness By George F. Will Columnist | Follow September 14, 2021 at 11:53 a.m. EDT (Jesse Dittmar for The Washington Post) "In order to master the unruly...

  7. Essays About Happiness: 5 Essay Examples and 6 Writing Prompts

    1. Causes of Happiness by Otis Curtis "If you don't feel good about yourself you will have a similarly negative attitude towards others and education is one way of having good self-esteem, as it helps you to live life successfully and happily.

  8. Opinion

    Their delight is seeing the glow on the graduate's face, the laughter in her voice, the progress of his journey, the blooming of a whole person. Happiness usually involves a victory for the self ...

  9. Opinion

    When the World Feels Dark, Seek Out Delight. Dec. 31, 2023. Charles Desmarais. By Catherine Price. Ms. Price is the author of the How to Feel Alive newsletter. Her latest book is "The Power of ...

  10. Helen Garner on happiness: 'It's taken me 80 years to figure out it's

    'Happiness exists all right, it will be given to you, but it's fluid, it's evasive, it's out of reach.' Photograph: James Broadway. Gospel shouters.

  11. Opinion

    What Swimming Taught Me About Happiness. Lesson No. 1: It's not about how fast you can go. Dr. Friedman is a psychiatrist and a contributing opinion writer. One day, a few years ago, I was ...

  12. Money Can't Buy Happiness, but Getting Rid of Clutter Can

    Letting go of clutter helps us feel lighter and less overwhelmed. As a result, we feel more present in the moment, enabling us to connect more deeply with ourselves and others. Dunn, E. W ...

  13. Opinion: Happiness is a trap. Here's what to pursue instead

    Opinion: Happiness is a trap. Here's what to pursue instead. 7mo. Editor's note: Monica C. Parker is an expert on the future of work and the founder of global human analytics and change ...

  14. IELTS Essay: Happiness

    IELTS Essay: Happiness by Dave| Real Past Tests| 25 Comments This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of happiness from the real IELTS exam Please consider supporting me on Patreon.com/howtodoieltsto receive my exclusive IELTS Ebooks - you can even sign up for private live lessons with me!

  15. 188 Happiness Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

    Updated: Oct 26th, 2023 20 min Table of Contents 😊 Key Points to Use to Write an Outstanding Happiness Essay Writing a happiness essay may seem easy at first, but many students fail to achieve a high grade because their responses are too general. To avoid falling in this trap, read this post and take note of the key points to write about.

  16. What Is Happiness Essay

    Updated: Oct 29th, 2023 What is happiness? We can ask hundreds of people, and each of them would probably give different answers. One would say that happiness is to be with a loved one, the second would say that happiness is the stability, and the third, on the contrary, would say that happiness is the unpredictability.

  17. Opinion

    New York Times Opinion columnists, editorials and guest essays. Analysis from David Brooks, Maureen Dowd, Charles Blow, Paul Krugman and others.

  18. What Does Happiness Mean to You: Opinion Essay

    Download. Happiness to me is like a cloud. A cloud can be altered by its environment and it grows and shrinks by its climate. Clouds can disappear and reform, but there will not be clouds; happiness is always present. We, as a tenacious and ambitious species, have to just find it and make happiness out of situations.

  19. IELTS Writing Task 2: 'happiness' essay

    September 17, 2014 IELTS Writing Task 2: 'happiness' essay Here's my full essay for the question below. Happiness is considered very important in life. Why is it difficult to define? What factors are important in achieving happiness? It is no doubt true that the majority of people would like to be happy in their lives.

  20. Happiness Argumentative Essays Samples For Students

    Happiness Argumentative Essays Samples For Students 135 samples of this type Do you feel the need to examine some previously written Argumentative Essays on Happiness before you begin writing an own piece?

  21. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Opinion Essay

    Download. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, I think we can all agree, are some of the reasons why our ancestors decided to come here in the first place. The Revolutionary War started when the colonists grew tired of how they felt about being treated unfairly and started to take measures to declare their independence from Britain.

  22. Essay on Happiness: 9 Selected Essays on Happiness

    Introduction: Happiness is a state of mind and the feeling expressed when things are going great. It is what we feel when we get our first car, buy a new house or graduate with the best grades. Happiness should be distinguished from joy. When joy is a constant state of mind, happiness depends on events in our lives. Importance of Happiness:

  23. Happiness Essay for Students and Children

    Happiness Essay for Students and Children | 500+ Words Essay Happiness is something which we can't describe in words it can only be felt from someone's expression of a smile. Likewise, happiness is a signal or identification of good and prosperous life. Read the full essay on happiness here.

  24. Happiness: Personal View and Suggestions

    Learn More According to Carlin and Capps (185), most people tend to describe happiness in ways that are quite vivid than definitions of happiness. Despite the fact that people have no problem identifying an expression of happiness when they come across one, no agreement on definitions of happiness exists.

  25. Opinion

    That's a big difference. "Empathy is biased," the psychologist Paul Bloom writes. It's something we usually reserve for our own group, and in that sense, it can even be "a powerful force ...

  26. Opinion Essay: Happiness is considered very important in life. Why is

    Essay: Over the course of time, happiness has been the value that all humankinds are seeking for. While the ambiguity of this term can be attributed to the differences among mindsets of individuals, there are several remedies that can help people approach blissfulness.

  27. How to Write an Opinion Essay in 6 Steps

    5 Revise. Now is the time to revise, or clean it up. Make sure your essay flows logically; jumping from one topic to the next will disorient the reader. Check that all of your evidence supports your opinion. Listen to the way your essay sounds (literally, read it out loud to yourself).

  28. An opinion essay

    Tips Read the question carefully. Respond to all ideas in it or all parts of it. Plan your ideas first and then choose the best ones. Introduce your essay by restating the question in your own words. Show understanding of both sides of the argument. Use linking words to connect your ideas. Draw your conclusion from the main ideas in your essay.

  29. Opinion

    The Sidney Awards. Brea Souders for The New York Times. 237. By David Brooks. Opinion Columnist. Dec. 28, 2023. If you want to help people, there are many fine causes you can donate to. If you ...