Why I Don’t Like the Word Happiness

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

Why don’t I like the word happiness?  Because it seems to have different definitions to different people. Some see being happy as a high energy, bubbly, excited state while others think of being happy as more of a contented, peaceful feeling.  Also, happiness  is just one of many wonderful emotions.  That’s why I prefer to talk about improving our positivity instead of increasing our happiness.  Positive emotions encompass such a broad range of good feelings such as love, awe, forgiveness, and pride.

Some of my favorites include —

  • content, calm, peaceful (like when I take time in the evening to sit and look at our Christmas tree),
  • or curious, intrigued, enthusiastic (like when I’m learning something new that challenges me),
  • or grateful, hopeful, inspired (like when I hear a story about someone going beyond what’s expected to help someone else),
  • or silly, amused, engaged (like when I’m dancing with my daughter in the living room),
  • or motivated, purposeful, focused (like when I’m working on a new talk or new product for my business),
  • or refreshed, rejuvenated, relaxed (like after a great yoga class).

I’m an introvert and some may describe me as low key, reserved, or even quiet.  This doesn’t mean I never get excited or feel joy, it means I tend towards lower energy positive feelings like contentment and serenity.   What are some of your favorite positive emotions?


Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is founder and owner of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.

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