What is happiness?

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What’s your definition of happiness?

It’s a tricky question, isn’t it? Is it freedom from care? Does money bring happiness? Does love? How can we make ourselves happy?

A well-known British psychologist, Dr. Anthony Clare, was asked this very question and his responses are interesting. Do you agree with what he says? His suggestions are:

Cultivate a passion

He says that if everyone has something they really enjoy doing, something the are passionate about,then that contributes greatly to their happiness. Make the most of your passion and enjoy it. Indulge in your passion whenever you can.

Be a leaf on a tree

By this he means that it’s important to be yourself; to be original and unique. But just like a leaf,it’s also important to be part of a community.

Avoid introspection

Being introspective, says Dr. Clare, is counter-productive to the previous point. He says that some people are so introspective – and presumably therefore self-absorbed – that it’s impossible to get near enough to befriend them.

Don’t resist change

He says that change is important and that people who are afraid of change are rarely happy.  He explains that he doesn’t mean that we should move house every month, or deliberately seek out challenging changes but embrace changes that keep our lives stimulated.

Live in the moment

For this, all the doctor says is ‘live now’.

What do you think?

I’d add:

  • Count your blessings
  • Appreciate the smallest pleasures in life
  • Don’t stress over things you can’t change
  • Avoid things that make you unhappy
  • Drink wine 🙂

As Dr Clare  says,no-one is happy all the time (it’s tricky to be one hundred percent happy when you have toothache for example)  but that the essence of happiness is to have a conscious appreciation of the rightness of being’.






Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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  1. Let me ask you a question. Would you say that you, like all humans, are complicated to understand? Of course you are. We all are. If we weren t life might be much simpler but also much less rich. That complexity means that there are no simple, one-size-fits-all answers to what makes us happy.

  2. I think we should circulate this to every person we know. Maybe even print it off ourselves and pin it up somewhere.

    I do question leaves being unique, though… they all look the same to me.

  3. I like this! Every one of them. I would probably include the saying “Happiness is not having more but needing less.” Each point your listed would be interesting discussion, some that I’m already having in my mind. Love it.

  4. I would add this quote:

    “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six, result misery.”

    Charles Dickens, Mr Micawber in ‘David Copperfield’

  5. “Be a leaf on a tree.” I especially love that. Awesome post!

    • Thank you Susan. I love the leaf thing too 🙂

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