What is Happy?

October 10, 2014 at 6:23 am 12 comments


Throughout my life, I’ve always known that I had an excess of Happy Genes. I never questioned it, but never took it for granted either. I believed it was passed down to me by my loving parents, a happy childhood, and a positive environment. I also gravitated to music and dance before I could walk. It’s as if the music woke up a happiness inside of me and  the dance was my instrument to express this “happy”ness.

Later on, I discovered the love of the pen and paper and found a new kind of happiness ~ writing ~ a true gift from my Daddy (my write hand man!) Whether journaling, writing for others or just because it felt so good, I found myself penning for pleasure, while listening to music and getting up to do a happy dance in between. I had lots of energy as a kid.

But by far my greatest happiness in life began  when I got my true calling (and picked up the call on the first ring!) It was my journey into motherhood. My husband and my journey into parenthood.! Three incredible children and the role of a lifetime: Mommy! I wrote across the sky and shouted from the proverbial mountaintops ” Thank You for giving me my true purpose in life!”

Everything I pursued from that point on paled in comparison to the role I had landed as “mommy!” Incidentally, but not surprisingly, my writing had more direction, purpose and voice. My audience became my kiddies, then adolescence, teens and now young adults. My ideas and inspiration spawn  from my family daily. Even my dance moves seemed to improve and become more hip (though my kids may have a slightly different opinion!)

As I write this post, it occurs to me that people with an excess of “happy genes” have a very big responsibility. We must use our positivity to empower others. We must live by example and bring others up when they are down. We must take the high road, (even if it means getting a nose bleed,) when others take the low road. And probably most importantly, we must stand up  for others, for ourselves and let our voices be heard and our integrity shine like the top of the Chrysler Building. Happy people tend to get carried away. And when we are not happy, we need to give ourselves a break and recharge our happy battery. “Be back in 5 ~ Going to my Happy Place!” 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days or months… only you have the right to decide how much “happy refuel” time you need.

So, while happiness is enshrined as a fundamental right in the United States and occupies most of us,  what do we really know about happiness? Can we study it? Are we born with it? Can we make ourselves happier? Who’s happy and who’s not, and why? What makes us happy?

Positive psychology is “the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive.” These researchers’ work includes studying strengths, positive emotions, resilience, and happiness.

Psychologist Ed Diener, author of Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, describes what psychologists call “subjective well-being” as a combination of life satisfaction and having more positive emotions than negative emotions. 

Martin Seligman, one of the leading researchers in positive psychology and author of Authentic Happiness, describes happiness as having three parts: pleasure, engagement, and meaning.

Seligman says that all three are important, but that of the three, engagement and meaning make the most difference to living a happy life.. Engagement refers to living a “good life” of work, family, friends, and hobbies. Meaning refers to using our strengths to contribute to a larger purpose. 

Day to Day vs. Long Term

Scientists and Psychologists believe that if we measure our happiness on a day-to-day basis there will be ebbs and flows of emotions and circumstances. How we respond to those circumstances will determine the outcome of our feelings.

Long-term happiness is a collective memory of experiences. A person’s past and present may become the catalyst for their future outlook, rather than a person choosing their future by first choosing their outlook.

Researchers believe that we can reliably and honestly self-report our state of happiness and increases and decreases in happiness. After all, isn’t our own perception of happiness what truly matters?

My youngest child was assigned a project in school: Create a three dimensional work of art to describe the meaning of happiness. Katie bought a plain 2 foot long, horizontal wooden plaque, painted it a beautiful sky blue, and glued geometric MIRRORS in place that spelled out the word “HAPPINESS!” She explained ” happiness is what you see everyday when you look in the mirror. You determine your own happiness and define its meaning on your terms.” I look at it often as a reminder of  Katie’s wisdom.

While happiness involves both daily positive emotions and a global sense that life is worthwhile, know that you are worthwhile, and that even on the darker days, the sun too is recharging its happy battery too, so it can provide us with another day of brightening ours.   


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

It’s In The Cards What is Happy?

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Danny Eisenshtat  |  October 10, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Great read! You definitely are the most flamboyantly happy in our family and I for one appreciate the vocal/visual reminders to just smile sometimes. I realize this is a weird thing to show gratitude toward considering its nature but thank you for being you and I’m glad your my Aunt/Godmother!! Love, your Nephew/Godson.

  • 2. Dale Eisenshtat  |  October 10, 2014 at 8:27 am

    That’s my girl! Love you!

  • 3. jaynebonilla  |  October 10, 2014 at 11:05 am

    This makes me so happy- so awesome. Thank you for sharing and sending you love. Wendi

    Wendi Blum
    Inspirational Speaker, Author, Consultant
    Direct Phone: {954} 214-5649

  • 4. Ed Bennett  |  October 10, 2014 at 11:30 am

    You are so amazing. I have told you before and will say it again. You have a gift and love that you share your gift with all of us. Keep em coming

  • 5. JoAnn  |  October 12, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Great job!

  • 6. jaynebonilla  |  October 12, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Loved your blog! I am sure I have the happy gene. 😀
    Warm regards,
    JoAnn Laskin, Educational Consultant

    Changing the World One Child at a Time!!!!

  • 7. jaynebonilla  |  October 12, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    What a wonderful post–such a balance between personal wisdom and researched knowledge–you’re writing is perfect–

    • 8. jaynebonilla  |  October 14, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Thank You Dr. K for your kind words and encouragement!

  • 9. jaynebonilla  |  October 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Freedom of Expression means having a voice. For me, it’s as simple as guiding the pen across the paper. Thank you for reading and using your honest, self-expression to respond. Loving our ability to have a conversation!

  • 10. jaynebonilla  |  October 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Reblogged this on Jayne Bonilla's Blog and commented:

    Freedom of Expression means having a voice. For me, it’s as simple as guiding the pen across the paper. Thank you for reading and using your honest, self-expression to respond. Loving our ability to have a conversation!

  • 11. Robin Benjamin Braun  |  October 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

    So Happy to call you my friend! Great blog!

  • 12. Jillian  |  October 17, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Amazing!! Beautiful words as always Jayne!


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Welcome to my blog!

"It is better to improve than it is to prove"
- Jayne Bonilla

Since the road to success is always under construction, this blog is intended to serve as a visceral compass empowering readers/writers to find their own direction along the way.

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