Everyone is in search of happiness at some conscious and sub-conscious level. Intuitively, people know that social interactions instill happiness. Some people would say that they alone can make themselves happy, which infers that happiness is self-sustaining.

Errol A Gibbs

Errol A Gibbs

Numerous activities that relate to well-being make people happy. Defined by achievements, attributes, and customs, some of these include career, character, education, forgiveness, health, humility, money, personality, religion, self-esteem, and socialization; they overlap in complex ways to make people happy.

Aristotle (Ancient Greek Philosopher) thought a genuinely happy life required the fulfillment of a broad range of conditions - both physical as well as mental. We agree. Here are five things that actually make people happy and five things that people think make them happy:


Interdependent and loyal relationships:

These forms of relationships have a great capacity to instill happiness because they infer, “I’ll be there for you —regardless-of-circumstances.” Loyalty in relationships holds the key to longevity in friendships and marriages. Moreover, loyalty fosters stable families and nations.

Being in good health (spiritual, mental, and physical):

There are three dimensions to good health, which creates the perfect environmental balance to make people happy. An imbalance in any area of your health (spiritual, mental, or physical) can alter the happy state of individuals. Good health, however, requires people to cultivate good social relationships.

Global travel and meeting with unfamiliar people:

Experiencing other cultures and positive interactions with different people elevate us to a happy state, especially when we are outside of our comfort zone. Meeting and interacting with people from faraway lands, familiarize us with different religions, races, and cultures that otherwise alienate us. These interactions help to lift our faith in humanity and help contribute to making us better people.

Education and seeking new challenges:

A difficult job search can diminish the initial happiness of achieving your educational goals. Nevertheless, finding a healthy and happy environment to work in will boost your career aspirations, and revitalize the pride you feel in your accomplishments. It can challenge you to go after greater education and career goals.”

Having enough money to be comfortable:

Some people claim that money is not synonymous with happiness. However, when you have enough money to meet important needs like education, healthcare, food, transportation, clothing and shelter, happiness might turn to joy. Joy is an even higher and happier state of existence. 


Believing that they alone can make themselves happy:

This cliché infuses the minds of some people. Can people be happy alone? Can anyone make himself or herself happy, without someone to share in that happiness? No. While it does not need to be a romantic partnership, having friends, family, colleagues or, yes, significant others to share in happiness brings out the best in everyone.

Having wealth and material possessions:

Wealthy people are neither happier than poor people are; nor are poor people happier than wealthy people are. People’s reliance on money and possessions as their path to happiness diminishes the most valuable aspect of human existence —positive social relationships.

Friendships and a social life:

Some people think that friendships and a social life will make them happy, but is it sustaining? It is temporary because friends and fraternities often fade into the background of people’s lives as they look towards the ‘horizon of life,’ often, with a sense of aloneness that is unsettling.

Permanent employment:

The words “You are hired!” resonates with a sense of permanence and happiness. Nevertheless, unexpected loss of employment can awaken you to the radically changing job marketplace. This new ‘world of work’ ought to motivate people to seek new ways to manage the new reality. 

Events such as engagement, marriage, job promotion, and winning the lottery:

There is no doubt that happiness for many is a predicate of happy events, but they are not lasting. People need events to help create a happy state of mind, though temporary, the real focus is to develop the capacity to manage the valleys between events and still maintain a happy state.