What makes us happy? In fact, more importantly, what makes YOU feel happy ??
It might be helpful to your brilliant brains if before you think about this question any more deeply, you think more about what happiness is and what it means to us as humans…?
In Other Words…
If you look in a dictionary, it explains that happiness is about a group of pleasant emotions and feelings which, combined together = happiness.
When we are feeling happy, we might be feeling:
>>> Cheerfulness + Pleasure = Happiness
>>> Joy + Excitement + Success = Happiness
Do you feel happy right now?
What might your feelings be? Do you have your own happiness equation?
Is happiness as simple as a maths calculation though?
There can be lots of different emotions involved in happiness, but can we have other feelings in our minds too, such as worry or sadness?
The ‘Amount’ of Happy
Whether we feel happy affects us in our everyday lives and things that
happen to us can change how happy we feel. So, happiness doesn’t seem
to simply be one thing or to be steady all the time. We might not always
be feeling the same amount of happy.
It seems to be more complicated than we may have thought!
If we are not happy does that mean we are unhappy OR can we be between unhappy and happy sometimes?
What Makes YOU Feel Happy?
Using your brilliant brain, your first job is to get thinking about what makes YOU feel happy.
Look at the pictures below. Do some of them make you feel more happy than others?
Give them a rating of how happy they might make you from 1 to 10…
So, for example, if seeing your friends makes you feel very happy you might give that a score of 8 or 9. If money doesn’t make you feel happy or unhappy then that would have a lower score.
Can We Measure Happiness?
You have thought a bit about what might make you happy – was it easy to decide what score to give the activities pictured above?
- If you were asked to decide how happy you are using numbers on a scale of happiness, would that be any easier?
- Or is it difficult to choose a number because you’re feeling happy about most things, but you also have a worry about something?
…FEELINGS ARE NOT STRAIGHTFORWARD, ARE THEY?!
Maybe you could measure happiness on a line?
Mark where you think you are right now on the happiness line.
You could come back to your happiness line in a week and then try it again to see if it has changed!
A Charlie Brown cartoon has a song that lists some things that make him and his friends happy, which are:
- Pizza with sausage
- Telling the time
- Learning to whistle
- Tying your shoelace for the very first time
- Playing the drums in your own school band
- Walking hand in hand
- Two kinds of ice cream
- Knowing a secret
- Climbing a tree
- Five different crayons
The Philosophy of Happiness
Happiness does seem very confusing; philosophers have actually been wondering about it for a long time!
An ancient philosopher called Socrates (who lived in 450BC) believed that only people who knew themselves well could find happiness.
He also thought that happiness doesn’t come from things like money or success, but from living a life that is right for you.
Maybe we feel happier when we appreciate smaller things in our lives and then feel happier more of the time, rather than always thinking bigger things will make us happy when they happen!
Aristotle, who lived in Ancient Greece in around 300BC, believed that happiness is an activity – a way of leading our lives well and giving it meaning. He said, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
Can We Make Ourselves Happy?
Should we want to be happy ALL the time? It sometimes feels like everyone around us is happy or when we see photos of people doing exciting things on social media that we should be happier than we are.
Can we strive to be happier or is it something that we simply feel when we think positively and appreciate things in our lives that are going well? Or maybe when we achieve something we have been working hard at?
Some people’s lives can be very similar to our own but they might feel more unhappy or happier than we do… Perhaps as humans, we sometimes need to feel unhappy – or less happy – to appreciate it when we feel happy.
Perhaps it is the contrast between the two that helps us to feel happy?
Some Kid Philosophers on The Big Idea of Happiness
This Kid Philosophy deep dive on Happiness was extracted from issue #6 of Brilliant Brainz children’s magazine, a print magazine for children aged 6-12 with a focus on creativity and well-being.
Back issues and subscriptions are ready to be purchased from the SHOP link above. Get your bright spark firing on all cylinders and driving forward into their brightest future!