…And What Makes Us Happy

Happiness is friendships

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

Happiness Synonyms
‘Speaed love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.’ ~ Mother Teresa
Think Spot - The Big Idea of Happiness

Do you feel happy right now?

What might your feelings be? Do you have your own happiness equation?

what's YOUR 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 present moment is filled with JOY and HAPPINESS. If you are attentive, you will see it.’ ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Happiness - it it always the same?

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?

‘Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.’ ~ William James
Shining with happiness

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.

Score your happiness
‘Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.’ ~ Omar Khayyam
A happiness scale

Can We Measure Happiness?

You have thought a bit about what might make you happywas 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?


Maybe you could measure happiness on a line?

Happiness scale

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!

‘Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.’ ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
Charlie Brown on Happiness

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


Smiling is very powerful and can have a big impact on how you feel
Wiz the kid philosopher as Socrates

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.”

‘The secret to happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” ~ Socrates
Jumping with happiness

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

‘Playing with my friends at school makes me happy and my friends happy – so it makes both of us happy!’ ~ Noah, 6
‘Home makes me happy.’ ~ Kassia, 8
‘It makes me happy when people spell my name right and when new teachers don’t mis-pronounce it!’ ~ Refkah, 11

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.

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