What is happiness?

Cindy Moy

By Cindy Moy: Researchers at Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania set out to discover whether people found more happiness in extraordinary experiences or in ordinary experiences.

For example, would a week long vacation to Hawaii give a person as much happiness as a frappucino? Apparently, yes, which makes me wonder who the heck the researchers talked to for the survey.

The study showed that for younger people, extraordinary moments caused just as much happiness as ordinary moments. But for older people, the ordinary moments were more highly valued. Why?

Turns out that as people age, they realize that their time left on earth is not unlimited, and they appreciate more the small moments, such as talking to their children or spending quiet time in reflection.

Happiness is defined as the state of being happy; pleasure; contentment; joy.

I agree that ordinary moments can bring as much happiness as extraordinary moments, but a person does not have to be older to understand this.

No guarantee of happiness, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Our family took a 2 week vacation to Australia last year, and we had a great time. It was a once in a lifetime adventure.

A few weeks after we returned, our 10-year-old started band, and was given the chance to go around the band room and try out every instrument. She was still beaming when she came home, proclaiming that the experience was “better than Australia.”

I, too, am grateful for once-in-a-lifetime adventures, as well as, say, meeting a friend for lunch or snuggling on the couch with the kids.

When it comes to happiness, gratitude plays a part, wherever we are.

How do you define happiness?