What was your Longest Bout of Happiness?


Retired Staff
This is inspired by April's question of earning happiness.

So, I attempted to define happiness, which I found I am not very good at, maybe I don't know what real happiness is?

Either way, it doesn't matter, I am interested in your experience of happiness. Feel free to answer as few or as many questions as you like, the more the better!

Describe your longest bout of happiness.

What were the circumstances?

Do you think you will ever be able to attain that emotional state again?

Do you think with learning a higher capacity for happiness, you also defined a higher capacity for sadness? Or do you think your experiences didn't change your perspective in any way?

Do you constantly compare new experiences to that old one? And if you do, do you think that sabotages any future chances of being happy, by not just letting it be?
From when I was born until I lost my teddy bear and moved into the new house when I was four.
I'll elaborate more in a little while.
I'll go with my adult years here. Childhood can mostly all be called happy (at least for me it can). I would say the longest bout was probably in college when I was engaged. It was to my first real love and I was giddy in love. College is also a time of few responsibilities and a lot of freedom. I didn't realize it at the time of course. It lasted about two years, and like everything the big highs are followed by large lows. I went into a funk for at least as long. But a magical time for certain.
It seems that for me happiness is tied with being free from constraints, so I often feel fearful that with time and age I'll be less and less happy.

If we skip the general childhood happiness, maybe the longest bout after it was a time of almost three years when I was living alone. That feeling of contentment and just sheer joy because I was almost completely free of all constraints, having the utmost privacy, being responsible and thinking mostly of myself was something that I fear I'll never experience again in that magnitude and for so long.

I guess that it is tied to the relationship with my parents, to that I was from being very little made responsible for too much, and in a way thought to take care of others before taking care for myself which led me to some very unfortunate events and in the end led me to depression. I guess that while I was a child I never had an opportunity to just be selfish and think only of myself, which is the reason I see it now as a necessity for happiness.

I'm working on being happy that much again, but under slightly different and slightly less selfish circumstances. So in a way I do believe that I can and will be that happy for that long or longer again.

On the other hand I believe that capacity for happiness and sadness is intertwined with one's perception of his/hers surroundings and relationships between them, as well as his/hers place in the world as one sees it.
This is a big question, and a good one.

I think, for myself, first I'd have to define "happiness".

I heard someone say: "Happiness is when the bills are paid and nobody's dead." And I would have to agree with that... but that is better described as absence of catastrophe, not exactly happiness. It has to do with security (temporary), and the older you get, the more you appreciate it.

I don't define happiness as "Woo-hoo, look at me, I have a new car and I'm driving it to Disney World! And I am the exact weight, age and income that I need to feel happy!!" although I wouldn't say no to that, either. If you twisted my arm...

No, in my life happiness has had to do with being around people who treat me well, and feeling as if I can do something -- anything -- to improve my situation, even in minute ways. It also has to do with experiencing intense involvement in whatever I'm doing -- Flow. People have written books about Flow...

I only experience "Flow" sporadically, and when I am doing something that I feel passionate about. It comes and goes, and usually I feel it when I am working or keeping busy in some way, or creating something beautiful (or trying to! LOL). I've had that feeling on and off all my life, but it doesn't last. It does always come back, with a little effort.

The other thing that I call "happiness": being around people who treat me well, and having a general feeling of at least some control over my life, resulting in a kind of contentment, I've had that for about 20 years, or at least the past 10, anyway. I deal very poorly with noisy conflict and there was rather a lot of it for a wide variety of reasons in my teens and 20s; now I've got things nice and peaceful, which is exactly how I like them.

For me, responsibility has brought happiness. It is not always like that for others, I have noticed.
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From when I began majoring in social work until my grandmother became ill. It's a period I refer to as my second adolescence and it started about when I was 22. It lasted about a year and a half. The year before that was the darkest and most meaningless time in my life and the time after that was the most painful time in my life. I've named the period I'm in now, "the realization" since I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm an adult and I'm going to need to take care of myself from here on out. Rather than being as terrifying as I thought it would be when I was a kid, I'm finding the independence and freedom to be rather exhilarating. My only enemies at this point are uncertainty and laziness, both of which I know I can conquer in time, and hopefully that will herald in a new happiest time in my life.
...Depends. General happiness, I feel kinda cyclical, about 2 years of feeling content and self-growth...and then a year of tribulation and intense self-growth. But it might me myself making patterns (it only happened twice so far)

Specific happiness, feelings of euphoric.. I dunno. I can feel happy and unhappy at the same time. Well, not unhappy, more like, a feeling of 'something is not done yet'....anticipation? But mostly it's around a day or two, unless something happened. I guess there are times when it's three days but...it's very rare.
Towards the end of college I was the happiest I'd been for a long time (having and recovering from depression for a few years). I found that I felt everything a lot more clearly and enjoyed everything more. I'm not sure what triggered it. There was nothing in particular, but all of a sudden I felt very happy for about a month.

Then it disappeared slowly until I went back into the state of 'waking sleep', when I don't feel all that much and I'm permanently only half conscious. Some of it was to do with my sister - when she became very controlling, and some to do with myself becoming dissatisfied with... well, myself.

I hope it'll come back someday. That would be nice.
I don't think happiness is something you have to "get" or "acquire" because if you take on that perspective it will always be something you need to reach for. And worse, when those things are taken away so goes their happiness.

I look at happiness and peacefulness as a timeless state.

Think about it, if there are some people who are pissed off or sad at the world for no reason, why not flip that around? Being happy for no reason at all. At first glance it might seem being delusional, and it isn't. it is actually being accepting for the fact that only you can make yourself happy or sad. There is nothing that can make you happy or sad, only you can allow that for yourself.

It's when people attach themselves to external things, their happiness becomes dependent on and defined by them, that's when they think "I can't be happy until xyz." or "under xyz circumstances" or whenever and whatever. Now with that said, the only thing those external things can do is contribute to your happiness. With or without that, you still only have have your state of mind in the end. And it's not ignoring the fact of your negative emotions at all, we're all human, and feel the full spectrum of emotions. The thing is, after the frown, what's next?


Sadness and disatisfaction seems to be my general emotion. Mostly there isn't even a reason to be sad, it is more like my ground state. Like Janet there are for me two kinds of happyness

There is the happyness of being around people who love you and show affection, enjoying yourself with people. That kind of happyness last as long as the experience lasts and I can't create them myself.

There is also the trilled happyness of witnessing something very beautiful, feeling connected to someone or love that is being accepted and returned. I think it is the same as what Janet called the flow. Feeling that there is more in life, or that you are just a wave in the sea of life and everything is perfect the way it is. These experiences also doesn't last very long. The longest and the strongest was when I was in the desert of Jordan. It was the first time I felt completely satisfied and alive. It lasted until I came back and slowly dripped off of me.

The last one is a kind of happyness I can control. I can re-enforce it again, although with a bit of effort. It is my why of being happy with what I have and where I am. Like Timeless said: happyness in acceptance. This is pretty beautiful too and it is a more grounded form of happyness since you don't depend on situations or other people to be happy and it doesn't require endomorfines. I have been focussing myself on re-enforcing this kind of contentment and it really improved my life. It is also easier to enjoy little things when I already have a certain base of contentment
My first year of grad school. Hung out with other grad students - we were all TAs. It was one of those times where everything was and exciting, and just cool. Met some cool coeds, etc. it was pretty cool experience - very positive.

Otherwise, i'd say now - not in terms of happiness but a lot less frustration today than a few years ago. I'm a much more comfortable person, which means i'm a little happier than i used to be.

As for my childhood? Let's not go there . . . :m145:

But when i have some new and wonderful experiences to speak of, i'll let you all know. :)
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this thread makes me happy :D

happiness is more like this:

or this:

rather than this:

at least in my experience! it tends to fade away gradually, which would make its duration difficult to quantify. and also, since certain events cause your 'happiness levels' to spike (man i am such a nerd) moreso than others, what you consider happiness would also be rather variable.
that aside~ for me happiness is pretty momentary, lasting a couple of hours maybe. i've noticed an inverse trend between the time i spend alone and in my head and the amount of happiness i experience. i really do feel better around others, doing things in the real world, than i do thinking about and reflecting upon them, which seems to be my natural state :P

(excuse the goofy drawings! xD)