More on how to be happy

By David Joel Miller.

What does happy look like?

Happy is one of those things we talk about, we all say we want it, but when it comes down to the directions on getting from here to happy, we are all fuzzy on just how you get there.

Does this look like happy?

Happy Life

Happy Life.
Photo courtesy of

It may well that you can’t get there from here. Maybe you need to first go somewhere else, like contentment and then you turn right or is it left? And yes happy is right around the corner from contentment.

Happy may well be the last street after acceptance and serenity.

Since happy is so hard to describe we might do better when we see it.

Here are a few photos that could start you on the road to becoming an expert on happy. Knowing what to look for couldn’t hurt. We all used to know what happy looked like once, even if we never actually felt that way.

Happy cat

Happy cat


Happy Cat. Maybe, this is a Zen master cat and has mastered no attachment, or maybe this cat just doesn’t care.

Not sure how we would know if a cat were happy. Maybe by the purring?

I asked my cat but she is ignoring me.


Happy child

Happy child
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Ben.Millett)

Happy child, yes that looks like happy.

There we have it. A Happy we can tell when we see it.

Children don’t try to hide happy the way some adults do. They haven’t forgotten what happy feels like yet.


Some people say they never feel happy.

Never feeling happy, that is some form of depression, somewhere between Persistent Depressive Disorder (The old dysthymia) and Major Depressive Disorder. It is the result of something that actually happened then that could be a stress issue, as in Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood.

We, professionals, have all sorts of descriptions for unhappy but nowhere, that I see, are their clinical descriptors for “too happy.”

We will just have to take the risk and try one more picture. Maybe that will help us recognize happy the next time it crops up.

Happy dog

Happy dog.
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Picture of Happy dog.


There do you have it? Can you recognize happy the next time it greets you?

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books


23 thoughts on “More on how to be happy

  1. Hello David,
    Thanks for your post. One of the mistakes I think we make is being too focussed on finding happiness, rather than focussed on living a meaningful life where you allow happiness in accidentally. You might enjoy my recent post on the art of accidental happiness.
    Thanks again for your thought provoking article


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