How do you define happiness?

I was speaking to a friend on the wordpress site the other day, Maia who mentioned that she was fortunate in that she could work and earn a living doing what she loves. Which made me ponder, what are the defining characteristics of happiness? Is happiness some mythological pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or rather, is it accessible to all of us, if we simply recognise it when it comes along?

Here are some of my own definitions of happiness to get the ball rolling, but I welcome your own definitions and suggestions.

Corporeal happiness

Whether it be through sex or any other type of vigorous exercise, moving the body whether it is to connect to yourself or connect to another person; is a form of happiness that’s rooted in the body and in the present moment enjoyment of physical expression.


Sensual happiness

Loosely related to the former. This type of happiness is rooted in the feeling of radiant heat from a bonfire, the feeling of the wind in your hair as you ride a bike and so on.

Emotional happiness

I don’t know about this personally but, after giving birth to a baby this is supposedly imbued with such feelings of emotional happiness. I guess for everyone else who isn’t a mother then snuggling with pets or someone you love can bring about a similar cosy feeling.


Intellectual happiness

That peculiarly satisfying feeling of learning new knowledge or skills and then having this enrich your life in some way. It could be for your own benefit or to further your career.

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Ernest Haeckel – Actiniae

Security happiness

There is a happiness that arises from financial security. It’s more like a relief from hassles than anything else. Although in my opinion– chasing the dollar isn’t going to make you happy, it’s more that it facilitates and bankrolls other forms of happiness.

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Present moment happiness

The forgetfulness of oneself and one’s worries, past or future within the endless, timeless moment of the present. Often brought about by encounters with nature, music, art or other inspirational stimuli.


Aesthetic happiness

Closely related to other forms of happiness but still independent. This is the kind of happiness that arises as a result of an epiphany when witnessing something magical, fragile and beautiful. It could be seeing a dog or child playing, or witnessing a brilliant work of art.

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Frank Stella

Together but separate happiness

Intimacy with someone when you both have enough space to be independent and yet still enjoy hanging out together.

Of course, life isn’t usually so simple and brings with it epic and complex challenges to personal happiness. Have you worked out a definition of happiness? 

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