"men are, that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25)


Send in your ideas

This is what works for people I know...
See also: Why believe?
1. They don't leave happiness to chance
The happiest people I know do not leave it to chance. They have clear personal standards and take responsibility for their own lives.

2. Optimism
The happiest people I know choose to see the world that way. Their glass is always half full, never half empty. They look for the good - and they find it!

3. Someone loves them
Need I say more?

4. Being made to feel capable
Everyone needs to feel (a) lovable, and (b) capable. If people respect what we are trying to do and acknowledge its value, showing gratitude, it's great! We need responsibilities, real authority, and acknowledgment of what we do.

About this page

Everything good comes from God (see Moroni 7:18).

So, if we really want to understand God, we need to focus on the good things. Too many of us see religion as a burden. This shows that we really do not understand it!

"Is it good?" is always the final test. For example, see the page on answers to prayer.

5. Love for life
There is something wonderful about life - whether in babies, animals, or in the kind of people who make life easier for others. Let's build and support it, not destroy it.

6. Trust
Isn't it great when you are surrounded by people you can really trust? Wouldn't it be great if everyone was honest with themselves and with each-other?

7. Independent desires
Some people are never satisfied with what they have. They always want what someone else has. But the really happy people I know do not judge themselves by what others have.

8. A day off
Everyone likes holidays, and if you're busy, the best kind of holiday is the peaceful kind where you recharge your batteries. A real change from the rat race, a time to rest, read, enjoy time with your family. Everyone deserves at least one day like this each week.

9. Not being judgemental
Some people are always putting others down. But the happiest people I know.

Are you a Mormon?

Please send me ideas to add to this list. If you can find scriptures that refer to them, even better. You have probably already spotted that this is basically a list of "the commandments!"

I especially want your ideas - I want to test the statement that "all good things come from God" - I need your help!

10. Purpose
Really happy people know what they want - they have a clear vision!

11. Hard work
There is nothing like the satisfaction of a hard day's work doing something worthwhile.

12. Friends
Having a network of people who care for you makes a big difference too.

13. Financial security
Nothing causes arguments more than money worries. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to worry about such things? One answer is for everyone to have lots of money. A more realistic optuion is some kind of organized "safety net" that yuou can really trust.

14. Shared goals
This is particularly the case if you live with someone. It makes a big difference to your happiness to know that you are pulling in the same direction!

15. Love and respect from your children
If you're a parent you know how you feel when your child does something nice. If you're old and living on your own, you know it's more than just nice - it's a life saver.

A "Test Yourself" Quiz:

Every one of these ideas can be found (in some form) in the scriptures. How many can you find?

  • 50% or more - you're doing pretty good!
  • 80% or more - you really know your scriptures!
  • 80% or more, first time, without looking in an index - WOW!
16. Intimacy
I know that if I ask people "what makes you happy," somebody is eventually going to say "sex!" - but think about it. Are prostitutes the happiest people on earth? What we really want is physical intimacy that means something. Somebody who wants to be close to us forever. A loving "forever" commitment (e.g. the ideal marriage) makes a huge impact on happiness.

17. Making a real difference
We need to know that what we do matters. There is not greater feeling than to know that what you have done has made other people happy, or has made the world a better place.

18. Freedom
It is so important to feel that you have real choices - that you are not trapped. What kind of behavior leads to the greatest freedom?

19. Knowing your priorities are right
I think most people would agree with most of the things on this page. But who makes them real priorities? And who can get the priorities right? The assurance that you are getting it about right gives great confidence and happiness.

20. Learning
Speaking personally, I get tremendous happiness from learning useful new things. Maybe this is a side effect of what information can offer - who knows? It works for me!

21. Have some good news
This always cheers people up!

22. Security
Wouldn't it be great if you could trust everyone? If you knew that nobody was going to take advantage of you, and there was no crime?

Maslow's "Hierarchy of needs"

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who developed a list of human needs that is frequently used by psychologists, psychiatrists, marketing people, and anyone who is interested in motivation. Every one of these can be provided for in numerous ways by the gospel - if we will let it!

These are the five levels - we only worry about a higher number when the lower numbers are taken care of.

  1. PHYSIOLOGICAL (e.g. food, warmth)
  2. SAFETY (e.g. avoiding physical risks)
  4. ESTEEM (e.g. recognition)
  5. SELF ACTUALIZATION (e.g. doing something "worthwhile")
23. The "golden rule"
Do to others how you would like them to do to you. It seems a pretty good rule for happiness to me.

24. Sharing
The happiest people I know are also the most generous.

25. Avoiding drugs
Nothing take away freedom (and money, and life, and self-respect) like excessive use of alcohol and other drugs. And moderate use is not necessary to being happy (though it is sometimes used as a crutch), so why go down that road at all?

26. Maximum respect for your body
People who treat themselves and others with the most respect tend to find people who treat them the same. If you place a high price on yourself, you are more likely to find someone who will pay it.

27. Do it!
I once read a report into how much quality time parents spend with their children. Just a few minutes a week, on average. The report concluded, "most people say that families are important to them, but they don't live that way."

28. Making others feel good (no gossip!)
Ever read the book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People?" It is as true today as it has ever been. Find a way to say everything in a genuinely kind and complimentary way, and everyone is happy.

O.K., what are we going to do about it?

Most people would agree with most of these things, but there is a lot to remember. Good intentions are not enough. How do we make sure we actually do these things?

We need to learn, to be motivated, to find ways to help each other, to focus on methods that will allow us to do everything else. We need to make commitments - covenants, if you like.

You know what I'm getting at, don't you? We need a church organization.

29. Do good
As Abraham Lincoln said, "when I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad."

30. Meeting spiritual needs
Many people have a deep need to know why they are here, what is after death, etc. They find this information, and other spiritual experiences, deeply satisfying.

31. Empathy
If you are down, or need help, and other people make the effort to really understand you, it really makes a difference.

32. Health
Physically healthy people claim they get far more out of life. This means more than just stopping smoking, but also eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, keeping clean, working hard, etc. They say it is worth it!

33. Beauty
There is something breathtaking in natural forms. Mountains, stars, flowers, animals, the human body. Beautiful.

34. Being part of something wonderful
Have you ever been part of a really good choir? Or on a winning team at an important event? Then you will know what I mean.

35. Having a new temple built nearby
Every new temple is an answer to prayer, an opportunity for more good experiences, and a fulfilment of prophecy.


Most of the things that make us happy are actually secondary, or derivative. For example, money makes a lot of people happy. Or does it? It's just paper, or even just numbers in a bank. And we all know of wealthy people who are not any happier than other people.

Come to that, if you live in America, you are already in the top ten per cent of the world's richest people. Does your (relatively) vast wealth make you very happy?

It seems to me that money only makes us happy if it gives us security and freedom. These are the real desires. Money is just secondary.

36. Not believing things that are not true
Of course, the important thing is to identify the truth!

37. Living the gospel
Amen to that!

38. Going out to work
"my wife has a much harder job!"

39. Knowing my Heavenly Father loves me.

40. Doing LOCAL missionary work.
" When I thought I was going into all the world, I found the Lord wanted me right here."

41. God makes me happy.
"The fact that he loves me so much that he would make the blood of his son absolve my sins makes me happy."

42. The next one is up to you. What makes YOU happy?
......... Add your entry here ........

Items from number 35 onward were suggested by readers.


No-one is happy all the time (or they would not appreciate what hapiness was). Let's look at depression:

Do Mormon women get more depressed?

This is from a post to Eyring-L at http://www.cyberbuzz.gatech.edu/kaboom/mail-archives/Eyring-L/9905/0075.html

"New book analyzes LDS religion and mental health issues.

"'Religion, Mental Health, and the Latter-day Saints' edited by Daniel K. Judd, an assistant professor of ancient scripture at BYU, includes research conducted over many years on members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fourteen studies are collected in this book and are representative of the best of scholarship in the field.

"In his research, Judd has identified 58 studies of religion and mental health that focus on Latter-day Saint samples. The vast majority of the scholarship refutes negative anecdotal stereotypes concerning Latter-day Saint mental health and counters some favorite myths. 'All of the research I found about the relationship between religion and mental health is positive,' Judd said.

"Several chapters focus on Latter-day Saint women. In their studies, David C. Spendlove, Dee W. West and William M. Stanish compared samples of LDS and non-LDS women in Utah and found no difference in the prevalence of depression. Marleen Williams's research also disproves the cultural stereotype that LDS women are more depressed than Protestant women. 'In general, LDS women are just like everyone else--some get depressed and some don't. The research shows that the belief that LDS women are more depressed than other women is false,' Judd said.

"H. Dean Garrett and Bruce A. Chadwick also studied LDS women, exploring the relationship between religiosity, employment and mental well-being. Well-known BYU researcher and sociologist Tim B. Heaton working with Kristen L. Goodman found that Latter-day Saints have larger families, higher rates of marriage and fertility and lower divorce rates than Catholic and Protestant samples. Brent L. Top, Bruce A. Chadwick and Janice Garrett studied LDS youth on the East Coast, in the Pacific Northwest and in Utah and found that geography and concentration of LDS youth are not directly related to the rate of delinquency. Other researchers analyzed such topics as drug use and suicide. ...

"All together, the studies published in 'Religion, Mental Health, and the Latter-day Saints' suggest a clear, positive relationship between religion and mental well-being and lay the groundwork for additional research by other social scientists, Judd believes. 'Being religious isn't a disadvantage as mental health is concerned--in fact, it's a blessing,"'Judd said."


The bottom line

"Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it"

- Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.255


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