Great Quotes on Happiness



This is my collection of happiness quotes.

I think happiness quotes are a great way to share the wisdom of the ages and modern day sages.

I think a good quote is a like a good song … it means something to you, maybe even beyond the original intentions.

By filling your quiver of insights with inspiring quotes, you have more to draw from in any situation.  This post will help you fill your quiver with happiness quotes you can use throughout your life.

As you scan and sift through the happiness quotes, ask yourself, “how can I use this?”

What the Great Ones Teach Us About Happiness

Philosophers, scientists, and comedians have taught us a lot about happiness.  Maybe one of the most important lessons they’ve taught us is to look inward for happiness.

Sometimes it’s right in front of you and you just have to grab it.

They’ve also taught us that our thought patterns can limit or enable our happiness.  They’ve  taught us that happiness isn’t static.   They’ve taught us that happiness isn’t about things.

In fact, sometimes it’s about doing … doing what we love.

My Thoughts on Happiness

I think the key themes boil down to how we talk to ourselves, how we respond to things, how we make meaning, who we spend time with, and how we make the most of what we’ve got.   The other key thing is that happiness is dynamic and it’s not a static state.

It’s about living, learning and growing, and rolling with the punches.  I also think it’s important to think of happiness as a skill.  Drive from happiness.  For durable happiness, lead your happiness from the inside out.  Most importantly – enjoy the process.

Top 10 Happiness Quotes

Here are my top 10 favorite happiness quotes:

  1. “Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles M. Schulz
  2. “I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse.  I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” – J.D. Salinger
  3. “If you think sunshine brings you happiness, then you haven’t danced in the rain.” – Unknown
  4. “It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.” – Margaret Bonnano
  5. “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” – Dale Carnegie
  6. “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln
  7. “Nobody can take away your pain, so don’t let anyone take away your happiness.” – Unknown
  8. “The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mode of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change; happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up. ” – Charles L. Morgan
  9. “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.” – James Oppenheim
  10. “The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” – Allan K. Chalmers

That was just the warm up.  Now let’s explore happiness in more depth and detail with some more great quotes about happiness.

What is Happiness

According to Wikipedia, happiness is “a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy.”

Here are some quotes that illuminate and define happiness from different perspectives:

“But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?”

Albert Camus

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”

Denis Waitley

“Happiness is… usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.”

Thomas Szasz

“Happiness is a direction, not a place.”

Sydney J. Harris

“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Happiness is a Swedish sunset -it is there for all, but most of us look the other way and lose it.”

Mark Twain

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”

Francesca Reigler

“Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

— Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

George Burns

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Mohandas K. Gandhi

“Happiness is when your mind is thinking through your heart.”

Judi Singleton

“Happiness, it seems to me, consists of two things: first, in being where you belong, and second -and best -in comfortably going through everyday life, that is, having had a good night’s sleep and not being hurt by new shoes.”

Theodor “Fontane

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Independence is happiness.”

Susan B. Anthony

“That is happiness; to be dissolved into something completely great.”

Willa Cather

“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”

George Sand

“To fill the hour -that is happiness.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.”

Edward de Bono

“Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.”


Skilled Happiness

You can learn to be happy and you can improve your happiness with skills.  When you think of it as a skill, you can change your thinking, feeling, and doing to drive from happiness.

Here are some quotes on building a happiness habit:

“Everything is material for the seed of happiness, if you look into it with inquisitiveness and curiosity. The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment. There always is the potential to create an environment of blame -or one that is conducive to loving-kindness.”

Pema Chodron

“Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.”

-– Unknown

“Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.”

Mildred Barthel

“Happiness is a habit—cultivate it.”

Elbert Hubbard

“Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin.”

John Lubbock

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.”

-– Aeschylus

“Happiness is an attitude of mind, born of the simple determination to be happy under all outward circumstances.”

J. Donald Walters

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Dalai Lama

“It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves.”

Katherine Mansfield

“Misery is almost always the result of thinking.”

Joseph Joubert

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and “start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

M. Scott Peck

“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.”

Peyton Conway March

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

Helen Keller

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

Dalai Lama

The Pursuit of Happiness

Chasing happiness can make it elusive.  You have to bake happiness into the journey.

Here are some quotes on pursuing happiness:

“Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.”

Pearl S. Buck

“Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

“If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.”

Edith Wharton

“If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator.”

W. Beran Wolfe

“In the pursuit of happiness, the difficulty lies in knowing when you have caught up.”

R. H. Grenville

“It’s pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty and wealth have both failed.”

Kin Hubbard

“The perfection of wisdom, and the end of true philosophy is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambitions to our capacities, we will then be a happy and a virtuous people.”

Mark Twain

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase, if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”

C. P. Snow

“The true way to render ourselves happy is to love our work and find in it our pleasure.”

Francoise de Motteville

“There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -are always attained by giving them to someone else.”

Peyton Conway March

“We are no longer happy so soon as we wish to be happier.”

Walter Savage Landor

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”

Eric Hoffer

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

Albert Camus

The Secret of Happiness

You don’t have to climb a mountain and ask a guru about the secret of happiness (although that could be fun.)  You can gain deep insights from some of the various happiness quotes:

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”

Benjamin Disraeli

“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy -because we will always want to have something else or something more.”

Brother David Steindl-Rast

“Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient.”

-– Aristotle

“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”

Helen Keller

“Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.”

-– Buddha

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.”

John Barrymore

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

Albert Schweitzer

“If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator.”

W. Beran Wolfe

“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.”

Margaret Bonnano

“Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Helen Keller

“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”

Charles Schulz

“Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.”

-– Unknown

“People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within.”

Ramona L. Anderson

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Albert Schweitzer

“That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”

Henry David Thoreau

“The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.”

Dalai Lama

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.”

-– Unknown

“The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live.”

Bertrand Russell

“The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.”

William Saroyan

“The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances.”

Martha Washington

“The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.”

John Milton

“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state to another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.”

Alexandre Dumas

“To be truly happy and contented, you must let go of what it means to be happy or content.”

-– Confucius

“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.”

Leo Buscaglia

General Quotes About Happiness

Here are some general quotes about happiness:

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”

Herm Albright

“All men have a sweetness in their life. That is what helps them go on. It is towards that they turn when they feel too worn out.”

Albert Camus

“All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within.”

Horace Friess

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine.”

Thomas Jefferson

“Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”

Dalai Lama

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”

Carl Jung

“Everyone smiles in the same language.”

-– Unknown

“Everyone wants to be happy and nobody wants to feel pain, but you can’t make rainbows without any rain.”

-– Unknown

“Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Norman MacEwan

“Here we are the way politics ought to be in America; the politics of happiness, the politics of purpose and the politics of joy.”

Hubert H. Humphrey

“I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.”

John D. Rockefeller

“I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

“I think I’m afraid to be happy, because whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens.”

Charlie Brown

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

Marcel Proust

“Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

Robert Heinlein

“One should never direct people towards happiness, because happiness too is an idol of the market-place. One should direct them towards mutual affection. A beast gnawing at its prey can be happy too, but only human beings can feel affection for each other, and this is the highest achievement they can aspire to.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”

Mark Twain

“Smile -it makes people wonder what you’re thinking.”

-– Unknown

“Smile -tomorrow could be a lot worse.”

-– Unknown

“The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?”

—  Henry David Thoreau

“The truest greatness lies in being kind, the truest wisdom in a happy mind.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“The truth which has made us free will in the end make us glad also.”

Felix Adler

“The world has to learn that the actual pleasure derived from material things is of rather low quality on the whole and less even in quantity than it looks to those who have not tried it.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

“There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. “

Carl Jung

“There is no duty we so underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

“Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.”

James M. Barrie

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

Bertrand Russell

“What everyone wants from life is continuous and genuine happiness.”

Baruch Spinoza

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter.”

Albert Camus

“Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.”

Mark Twain

Help me find the best of the best happiness quotes.

What are your favorite quotes on happiness that lift you up through thick and through thin?

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  1. The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy – I mean that if you are happy you will be good. – Bertrand Russell

    Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable than risk being happy. – Robert Anthony

    (similar to Eleanor Roosevelt quote, but more to it)
    Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness. – Robertson Davies

    Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. – Ernest Hemingway

  2. Love the quotes!!

    One that I really love here:
    “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.” – Unknown

    That concept is so, so good!

  3. J.D. It’s great to have you back! I’ve been looking forward to your posts! 😉

    For me, happiness is being in the center of Nature Herself and feeling the heartbeat, rhythms of divine process. I feel calm and at ease. We are so rich in divine resource. Most of the themes for my chosen happiness has to do with solitude, companionship and Nature, and connecting with people on an organic level.

    I have never found a companion so companionable as solitude. ~Henry David Thoreau

    The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration. ~Claude Monet

    Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others. -Buddha

    To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. ~Helen Keller

    It is not more vacation we need – it is more vocation. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

    To fill the hour — that is happiness. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I love this one you shared especially! So often our loving networks feel as this extended family:
    Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. ~George Burns

    What a great topic to dwell on! Have an enlightened day! 😉

  4. Wow – these are great. I agree that people should smile more. We tend to frown more often than we smile. especially grownups.

  5. Hi JD,

    This is sure a great resource of all that has been said on happiness. Thank you for taking the time to get this all together and for sharing it with all of us.

    My favorites were all the ones from the Dalai Lama. I think he is so awesome and so real in how he presents things.

    Hope all is awesome!

  6. Hooray, you’re back:) Well, that for starters has made me happy. Unbelievable list of happiness quotes here. I wonder what your favourite is… I think there’s one for every occasion.

    Thanks for spreading your personal brand of happiness!

  7. Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!

    Do you mind if I borrow some for my ‘Happy Quotes’ page?

    Here’s what I think about happiness:

    “Happiness is snuggled up in a quiet spot within you.
    You need only be still and silent and allow it to unfold, until it eventually engulfs you.”

    Thanks for this post.

    Live Life Happy!

  8. @ Loren

    Good stuff. I especially like the Robertson Davies quote.

    @ Lance

    Those really are words to live by.

    @ Jenn

    Thank you.

    A lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass does sound pretty good 🙂

    Happiness is a great by-product and great to dwell on.

    @ Positively Present

    Thank you. I figured it would be right up your alley.

  9. @ Dror

    That’s great to hear and thanks for stopping by. Back at you!

    @ Vered

    Shifting to smile-oriented is the way to go. I think mindful smiles reinforce positive thoughts.

    @ Nadia

    Thank you. The Dalai Lama really has a way with words.

    @ Anabel

    Thank you for the warm welcome. It’s good to be back.

    @ Jacqueline

    Thank you. Borrow as many as you like – happiness amplifies when you share it.

  10. Hi JD

    My favorite from your list:
    “If you think sunshine brings you happiness, then you haven’t danced in the rain.” – Unknown
    It makes me smile. Especially because I’m generally not fond of rainy days, well, if they go on too long (which they are here in SA at the moment!)

    Mmm, I don’t have any happiness quotes. Perhaps that says something…concerning?


  11. Wow! What a challenging collection of quotes on “Happiness.” Bertrand Russell, even wrote a book named –“The conquest of happiness”, commended strongly in these days of false values and confused thinking. “Animals are happy so long as they have health and enough food to eat. Human beings , one feels, ought to be, but…are not. ” B.R., believes that unhappiness is largely due to a mistaken view of the world, that happiness is a basic human right – something to be pursued. He concludes that happiness lies in a personality” neither divided against itself nor pitted against the world’ and the ability to swim with the ‘stream of life’.
    Lao Tzu in his immortal –“ Book of the Way” says in his uncommon wisdom –“Among mortals who attain happiness, such a man is very rare.” Thus it is said,” The perfect man ignores self ; the divine man ignores achievement; the true Sage ignores reputation. “

    Aristotle in his Ethics makes the following superb remarks: “ The man in contemplation is a free man. He needs nothing. Therefore nothing determines or distorts his thought. He does whatever he loves to do, and what he does is done for his own sake.” To this I say : “Ah! Yum –yum! How is it that Aristotle in four sentences has put my entire philosophy of life in a nutshell ?” Words seem to be capable of miracles. This may be hard to believe, but in a psychology book written in 1901, I came across the word “schizophrenia” defined as a mental disease resulting from disobedience to one’s parents! I once thought of the following definition: Schizophrenic – one who keeps forging his own signature. I also like the following verse: Roses are red, Violets are blue, I’m a schizophrenic, And so am I. But let us add ones
    to happiness:
    -Happiness depends on ourselves. –Aristotle ;
    -Perfect happiness, even in memory, is not common. –Jane Austen;
    -Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. –Bible;
    -People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. –Anton Chekhov;
    -Happiness is a mystery like religion, and should never be rationalized.-G.K. Chesterton ;
    – Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for. –Joseph Addison;
    -Ask yourself if you are happy and you cease to be so. – John S. Mill.;
    -The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. –Victor Hugo ;
    -We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth
    without producing it. –George B. Shaw ;
    – The first requisite for unhappiness of the people is the abolition of religion. –K. Marx ;
    – A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her. –Oscar Wilde ;
    -Don’t mistake pleasure for happiness. They are a different breed of dogs. –Josh Fuller ;
    -Happiness (n.) a delicate balance between what one is and what one has. – F.H. Dennison ;
    – Happy (adj.) having a scratch for every inch.

    Thanks to Loren for making me aware of the Hemingway quote – short, sharp and accurate.

  12. Happiness is success. Now define success.
    Oh, you once posted “Success Defined.”
    Hey! Here is the idea for you next post – Success Quotes 🙂

  13. Woops!After devoting some time to Alik Levin’s -Practice, I seem to get used to the speed and success (n.)- doing what you want to do and making money from it. If the money is good enough, we can blitz
    and happiness and success can be treated as synonyms.It looks fun to me.Consulting as a guide to cheerfulness,could not be bettered.

  14. @ Juliet

    You’ve got a ton of happiness quotes now 🙂

    Since I’m just back from Key West, I can say sunshine made me smile. I like the rain now and then, but the sun sure felt good.

    @ Dr. Michael

    I like that … “swim with the stream of life.”

    “The true Sage ignores repuation” is great guidance on multiple levels.

    Aristotle was a master of precision. His wisdom cuts deep.

    Beautiful hand-picked set of insights.

    @ Alik

    Success quotes will be perfect.

    Somehow, you remember my posts better than I do 🙂

  15. Hi again

    Sure you read Lance’s blog, but, his quote from yesterday is fantastic:

    “When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.” ~ Author Unknown


  16. […] for happiness at Sources of There you will also find a more extensive collection of happiness quotes at a […]

  17. Dear,
    “Everyone smiles in the same language.” – Unknown
    I am truly falling in love with this quote 🙂
    Thks for giving the inspiration

  18. Happiness lies in small things – ridiculously small things.

    As I am writing this comment, I am sitting in my office lobby. It’s drizzling in here and when a drop of rain stuck with a wall and little tiny drops hit my in my cheeks, it is making me happy.

    Across my office lobby is a park where I can listen the humming of the beautiful birds perching on a tree branch and it is making me happy.

    Right in front of me in the park, little kids are playing and dancing in the rain. Looking at them and seeing their innocent smile and playfulness is what making me happy.

    Aww, there is this colorful butterfly just settled down in my office plant is making me happy. I am gonna click her (or is it his) picture. 🙂

    As for these quotes, my favorite one in the list is one by his holiness dalai lama whom I had the pleasure of meeting once at Mcleodganj.

    “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

    Have a wonderful life,
    Manish Kapoor

    P.S : Sorry for the bad English. I am still learning. )

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