How Do Teens Define Happiness?


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Kaitlyn McCarthy, Senior Staff Writer

Every high school teen carries a different definition of happiness. Some think of happiness as being with friends and loved ones, while others believe that happiness is going to parties or maybe even being successful in classes. It is thought that happiness can only be attained through money, intelligence, friends, and success. However, all of these can help on the journey to happiness, but it still isn’t the answer for most people. Happiness, according to Oxford Lexico Dictionaries online, is defined as feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.” This concept is very general and has nothing to do with any of the words people associate with happiness. So what truly defines happiness?  In my experience, I’ve stayed happy by putting a positive outlook on life. There are so many things to look forward to in the future. Focusing on that has helped me, even through the hard points in life, stay happy.

Some distressing news presented in Psychology Today online  suggests that teens are less happy today than they were just ten years ago. Unfortunately, there is one big factor:   “The pattern is again clear: Nearly all phone activities are linked to less happiness, and nearly all non-phone activities are linked to more happiness.” Since we are all so absolutely and totally dependent on our phones, this info shouldn’t surprise anyone.  The article continues to say that some of the things that make teens most happy are: sleep, sports and exercise, going to movies, concerts or religious services, to name a few. 

After asking students around Hubbard High School, I concluded that not one particular thing can make everyone happy. Most told me something completely different from what the last person said.  “My dogs make me happy,” said junior Isiah Vennetti. Pets are always a way to put joy into people’s lives, but it isn’t the answer for everyone. Freshman Rudey Foley said, “The people around me keep me happy.” Being surrounded by positive people has been shown to have a positive impact on a person. Freshman Jack Adkins said, “Food makes me happy.” As strange as this may sound, diet has a huge impact on how happy somebody is. An article by Live Science online  states, “Eating fruits and vegetables may help you feel happier, a new study from Australia suggests.”  So it seems that results vary depending on the person when it comes to defining happiness. 

The way someone lives his or her life may depend on his or her level of happiness. Since personalities from one individual to another varies, what makes them happy varies as well. Companionship, sleep, sports and diet were all part of what kept people at Hubbard High School happy.  So if someone wants to try and pursue happiness, my suggestion to him or her is this: Keep a positive mindset, pursue what makes you happy, and surround yourself with people and things that put joy in your life. Who knows? The key ingredient may actually be individual choice.



Blaszczak-Boxe , Agata. “Eating More Fruits & Veggies May Make You Happier.” LiveScience, Purch, 14 July 2016,

“Happy: Definition of Happy by Lexico.” Lexico Dictionaries | English, Lexico Dictionaries,

Twenge, Jean M. Phd. “What Makes Teens Happier?” Psychology Today.  31 August, 2018.