IBQ Writing Prompt: What is Happiness?


This week’s prompt is:

What is happiness?

Chris’ note:  I swore up and down that I’d give you nothing but easy prompts from now on, so I thought I’d give you “happy”?  What could be easier, right?  As I thought about what I would write about “happy”, I found out that it wasn’t nearly as easy as I had thought.  How do you define happiness?  How do you identify that elusive emotion, that visceral feeling, that… ah, heck… is it an emotion, a neurochemical impulse, a smile, or the end result of another feeling like contentment or satisfaction or freedom?  What is happiness for you?  Are little happy feelings better than one big feeling of happiness?  Can we hang on to happiness or is it ephemeral, fleeting, something to be recreated over and over again?  Can we will ourselves to be happy?  Does that really work?  So many questions, and so many different answers.  Please share yours with us.  Feel free to express it any way you’d like… in a blog, photograph, poem, song.  Whatever works for you.


introvertChallengeHow Does It Work?

The rules are on the IBQ page, but they are simple:  blog about what the prompt means to you and then come back here and leave a link.  There is no word limit.  Each week I will have a specific word or expression to get the creative juices flowing.  Think about them in terms of the relevance to your life.  Then sit down and write a blog.  You get extra credit if you include a photo or graphic.  Tag it with IBQ.  After you’ve posted, come back here to that week’s specific prompt page and add a link to your blog in my comment box.  Then check out what other introverts are saying.  Remember to “Follow” my blog to get your weekly reminders.

Here is my contribution.  Come back and leave a link to your contribution after you publish it.


I’m still researching happiness.  It’s a slippery thing to grab hold of.  Everyone senses it differently.  I think it’s kind of like good art, everyone thinks they will know it when they see it.  I’ve just spent an hour thinking, trying to recall the happy times in my life.  They flash by quickly.  Sights, sounds, memories, even the concept of smells came rushing into my head.

Then I asked myself when I had been the happiest in my life.  I thought maybe categorizing the experiences would lead me to a common thread and help me define it.  What I found is that NOW is the time when I’m happiest in my life.  I don’t live in the past, so that didn’t work for me.  Even the bad times in my life have turned into happy moments now because I can see how much I’ve grown as a person.  I can point to all the best parts of me that were enriched by those scary and painful experiences, so they have become happy exclamation points in my life story.

How do I feel when I feel happy?  I tried to approach it from that angle, to define the physical expression of happiness.  Happiness, it turns out, is sneaky.  It shares physical sensations of many other emotions.  When I feel happy, I feel lighter, but I also feel that way when I’m passionate about something, when I’m fighting for a cause, when I’m sitting with my feet up at the end of a satisfying day.   Sometimes when I’d call myself happy, I feel heavier, but it’s still happy because I feel grounded and part of the Universe, connected to All That Is.  Can happiness be both light and heavy?

Sometimes I’m just feeling content.  Is that part of happiness, or is it its own thing?

Happiness comes from things that make me smile.  So if I smile more, will I be happier?

I enjoy smiling at people I meet and seeing them smile back.  That makes me happier.

But what is happiness?  I’m still not sure, but I do know it’s a good thing, and I want more of it.

Here are three things that have made me happier tonight:

  1. Surprising Cee with a beautiful e-card.  Sending it made me feel happy at the anticipation of her receiving it out of the blue.  (Send someone an inspiring e-card now.)
  2. Giving my dogs their night time treats.  They each get a tiny dog biscuit for going outside one last time before bed.  We live in a rainy climate, and they are often reluctant to head out into the cruel night.  Afterwards, they come thundering down the hallway, all excited about getting their reward.
  3. Knowing that at least one person is going to read this and see their world in a slightly different perspective, and enjoy the view.  It’s all about making other people smile.  🙂

Have a happy day!

Hi.  I’m Chris.  I’m an introvert.  Look for my ongoing series celebrating introverts (Sunday), writing prompts for introverts (Wednesday) and introvert cartoons (Thursday), plus anything else interesting that I find in the meantime.  Come and share with like-minded introverts.  I also contribute to the new food blog Three’s Cooking, learning to cook from the heart, for the soul.

45 thoughts on “IBQ Writing Prompt: What is Happiness?

  1. Thoughtful post, Chris. I’m not sure I could articulate what happiness is, other than to say there are grades of happiness, maybe with contentment moving upwards to something like ecstasy…But for example, contentment would be a more lasting general state, whereas ecstasy would be something immediate, short lived.

  2. Some nice suggestions I must say,, but for me it would playing some songs on my guitar and hoping any listeners might like it as well… I also quite happy within my own company and the ones I love. Enjoying life now the way I never expected.

  3. I was about to press ‘post comment’ as I had just finished typing a whole sentence of my version of happiness but on second thoughts, I’d better save that as a post – give me a reason to post something tonight. 🙂

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  20. Hmmmm…. since I don’t actually have to WRITE (writing does not make me happy 😉 ), I think I’ll see what I can come up with in the way of art for this prompt. Stay tuned (of course my whole blog is about happy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t post about it in particular).

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