What Does It Mean to Be Happy?


Ads and social media can give the wrong impression. They make it seem as if you need a perfect life to be happy. But the truth is, you don’t have to be rich, famous or gorgeous.

“True happiness comes from positive choices you make in your daily life,” said Allegan General Hospital (AGH) psychologist Jeffrey Clearwater, MA, LLP.

Even happy people sometimes get upset or have a bad day. Yet they are able to bounce back. Overall, they have a strong sense of well-being. They view life in positive terms. And they savor the little things that mean a lot: a sunny day, a funny joke or an encouraging smile from a friend.

According to Clearwater, happy people often make the six lifestyle choices listed below. Give your own happiness a boost by adopting these healthy habits:

  1. Connect with family and friends. Keep in touch with people who make you feel valued and supported. Build new connections by taking a class, joining a support group or getting involved in the community.

  2. Get regular physical activity. Being active helps reduce anger, anxiety and depression. It also enhances feelings of well-being.

  3. Pursue hobbies and fun activities. They take your mind off problems. Plus, some give you a chance to exercise your creativity.

  4. Lend a hand to those in need. Helping others makes you feel good about yourself. It also adds a sense of purpose to your life. You might bring lunch to a sick friend or volunteer to help at a community event.

  5. Maintain a positive attitude. You don’t have to deny the problems in your life. But try to look for a silver lining. For example, perhaps a serious illness made you stronger or brought you closer to your family.

  6. Use humor to lighten things up. It’s nearly impossible to feel cranky, worried or blue while you’re laughing.

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