There are so many ways to define happiness. When we did a quick survey (with the help of our friends, family, and Facebook fans), we found that while everyone had a relatively different understanding of the human emotion, we could still categorize the answers into several sections, namely: family (10%), relationships (20%), career (4%), and self-worth (66%). Which of the four resonates with you the most?

Happiness = Family

Happy families are not necessarily perfect families. They could be missing a parent, a child, a sibling or a cousin. They could be annoying, aggravating, confusing, and just plain exhausting, but the happiest families can weather it all.

Bruce Feiler, columnist for the New York Times and author of The Secrets of Happy Families
figures the reason behind this resilience is communication. Talking about how each person’s day went as well as about the real gritty stuff that happens in the family can help each member be happier in the long run. The best time to do this? During family dinner. “Take that 10 minutes and move it to family breakfast. Have a bedtime snack at 8:30. Even one meal on the weekends can be effective,” he says.

Happiness = Relationships

To quote one of our respondents, “Happiness is when I’m with [the] love of my life!” If your happiness hinges on the kind of relationship you have with your man, then who are we to stand in the way of your happy ending? We’ve been in love. We know what it’s like to receive a text from a guy we’re head over heels in love for. We’ve done happy dances ala Katherine Heigl in The Ugly Truth, so we understand that sometimes, happiness stems from being in love and having that love reciprocated (or not).

In fact, a meta-analysis review of 25 studies reveals that those who reported great romantic relationships were more satisfied in the long term, too, reports PsychCentral. And before you think that girls are the only ones who find happiness in love, remember that guys get giddy when they’ve been struck by an arrow, too. As 25-year-old game programmer Josh says, “Happiness is when you and your crush talk to each other for hours about anything that pops into your minds.”

Happiness = Career

Some people see happiness and success in their respective fields as happiness. When they see themselves getting promoted, being praised, or simply performing well at work, they are happy and proud of what they have accomplished. To others, this paints a picture of a workaholic, but who says workaholics can’t find happiness, too?

American actress Bette Davis had a similar point of view. “It has been my experience that one cannot, in any shape or form, depend on human relations for lasting reward. It is only work that truly satisfies.” Here at FN, we’ve written articles on how you can be happy at work—from finding a way to get along with your boss to making your desk a brighter spot at the office. If you’re happiest behind your desk or out on the field, these tips should help you out.

Happiness = Self-Growth

In this day and age, more and more people are beginning to realize their happiness potential. They actively seek it out. They make new friends and try new things. As evidenced by our quick survey, most of you believe that happiness can be found within yourself. You see it as a choice and that, in itself, is really the key to a good life. You can be in a loving family, a nurturing relationship, or a successful career, but if you don't choose to be happy, everything is for naught. So, choose to be happy. Make the most of the worst situations. At the end of the day, how you see yourself is what will really make a difference.

(Screencap from Notting Hill courtesy of Universal Pictures)

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