The Many Forms of Happiness

The Many Forms of Happiness

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there are many forms / types of happiness.

At the very least, happiness can mean different things to different people.

And happiness can be experienced differently even by the same person, at different stages of life.

One thing that would benefit almost all of us is expanding our happiness vocabularies. Having more words and phrases to describe happiness can help us enjoy and experience it in different ways and in different contexts.

So, with this in mind, check out this interesting article via Psychology Today by Leslie Becker-Phelps


  • Unhappy people often have a small happiness vocabulary.
  • To be happy, you must notice happy moments.
  • Learning to identify your happy emotions can help boost your happiness.
Source: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

Source: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

You want to thrive. But your biology’s drive to survive constantly scans for threats, which gives it a chance to then avoid or combat them. And that is clearly a good thing. But it can also work against your desire to be happy by overlooking positives in your life as it focuses on problems. Can you see this in your thoughts? Do you notice that you are quick to see actual or potential problems? And that you don’t “dwell” quite as long on uplifting experiences?

When I’ve worked with patients who fall into this dismal pattern, I’ve noticed that they are often sad or depressed, missing an ability needed to pull themselves up and out of it. They have a voluminous vocabulary to describe their emotional pain, but they are short on words for emotions related to a sense of well-being.

Does this apply to you? Think about it. Reflect on emotionally painful times and name as many emotions as you can. Then reflect on different positive experiences and name as many positive emotions as you can. If you are overflowing with labels for positive emotions, great! Enjoy your sense of well-being in its many forms. But if the number of painful emotions that you name overwhelm the positive, then you likely feel incredibly distressed way too often.

The Power of Naming Positive Emotions

When I work with patients, we spend a lot of time talking about what makes them unhappy. That’s a given. But what can get lost in doing this is the importance of talking about what gives them a sense of well-being. After all, if you only talk about emotional pain, then there is no space to feel better. And if you only have the words for different kinds of emotional pain (e.g., sad, hurt, angry), then you cannot move your attention to more uplifting emotions (e.g., excited, peaceful, hopeful)…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE