Skip to Contents Skip to Accessibility Help

What is Happiness Anyway?

Happiness can feel fleeting, elusive, and difficult to describe. But it's not just an emotion, researchers studying social emotional well-being define happiness as a balance, the combination of how often and robust our positive emotional experiences are, how gracefully we recover from difficult experiences, and how meaningful and worthwhile we feel our lives are.

Happiness is the ability to consistently recognize that Life's Good, even if it's hard sometimes and the ability to learn from and bounce back from the hard times.

What is Happiness Anyways?

Our Commitment

Our mission is to create awareness that Happiness is more than a fleeting feeling, that Sustainable Happiness is achievable, and that there are a set of skills that you can learn, teach, and practice to help you along the path to Happiness. We are working with leading researchers to learn more about Sustainable Happiness and partnering with organizations to bring Sustainable Happiness skills directly to youth.

What We Discovered

Two out of three American teens are stressed and many don't know how to handle it. When school is in session, teens are the most stressed group in the country. The inability to reduce and cope with stress and anxiety can negatively impact different facets of a teen's life including their health, friendships, relationships with parents, and academic performance.

Happiness is associated with several positive health effects, according to the Journal of Happiness Studies, including less insulin resistance, better sleep, higher HDL cholesterol levels, and less reactivity to stress. Additionally, teens who identify as happy are more creative, more helpful, and more sociable.

Research has also shown that happy kids do better in school. Happy learners remember information better and happiness is positively associated with GPA. Happy children are also more likely to become happy adults, and experience success in relationships, health, continued academics, and work performance.

The benefit of happier kids is a game changer, and we want to help lead that change.

Solemn girl against a chain link fence

Leading Change

LG created the Life's Good: Experience Happiness platform to help bring scientific, evidence based tools and sustainable happiness skills directly to young people. Backed by seventy years of scientific research showing that happy people are healthier, live longer, earn more, and do better in school and life - and that happiness skills can be learned - our platform aims to reach, teach and increase Sustainable Happiness.

The research also shows that schools that teach happiness skills outperform schools that don't, and typically experience dramatic drops in bullying, absenteeism, and discipline issues. They also see impressive gains in student engagement, optimism, test scores, and executive functioning skills that are key to job success.

Solemn girl against a chain link fence

Our Goal

Over the next five years, we will deliver Sustainable Happiness skills to 5.5 million youth and help the next generation recognize that happiness is achievable and Life's Good.

Solemn girl against a chain link fence

Science of Happiness

Over 70 years of research has revealed that Happiness is achievable, and according to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, happiness skills can be learned, taught, and practiced. Working together with the Greater Good Science Center, we identified six skills to form the foundation of LG's Experience Happiness program: mindfulness, human connection, positive outlook, purpose, generosity, and gratitude. Although each person may take a different path, the practice and pursuit of these six skills can help set you on the path toward sustainable happiness.

Happiness Skills

Happiness Skills - Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment in the present moment, without judging your thoughts or feelings as admirable, shameful, or anything in between – while maintaining a kind, supportive stance towards oneself and others. Practicing mindfulness helps us develop focus and emotional balance and builds resilience, i.e. our capacity to recover, and derive meaning, from difficult experiences. There is evidence that when mindfulness is taught in the classroom, behavioral problems are reduced, while attentiveness, empathy, and learning go up.

Read more
Happiness Skills - Human Connection

Human Connection

Illustrated through almost 50 years of research, human connection - relationships with significant others, friendships, and social engagement with peers – is the most reliable, enduring predictor of happiness in life. Those with close bonds are happier, less lonely, and have higher self-esteem. Strong relationships are essential to happiness, as they are critical to well-being.

Read more
Happiness Skills - Gratitude

Gratitude

The simple act of appreciating and thanking others for the goodness they contribute to our lives helps foster happiness. Stemming from the significance of quality relationships and the sense of well-being that human connection creates, thankfulness fuels optimism, and reinforces our basic trust that others are there for us. When gratitude is expressed toward someone, it is often returned, creating a reciprocally benevolent loop. Finally, gratitude involves being thankful and aware of our own privilege, and identifying the sources of goodness outside of ourselves.

Read more
Happiness Skills - Positive Outlook

Positive Outlook

Positivity is one’s ability to imagine a fruitful outcome and maintain a readiness to pursue and experience the positive opportunity in any circumstance. Positive emotions open our awareness and increase the expanse of our peripheral vision, helping us see more possibilities. When experiencing positive emotions, people are more creative, more resilient to adversity, more likely to perform better academically, and more socially connected. Individuals can foster a more positive outlook by being open, appreciative, curious, kind, optimistic, and sincere. From these strategies spring positive emotions.

Read more
Happiness Skills - Purpose

Purpose

Understanding our ability to make a difference in the world, at work, school, or for a team or community, leads to a fuller, finer sense of purpose and increases our sense of happiness. Having a sense of purpose involves a combination of living according to one’s values and goals and striving to make a positive difference that transcends self-interest. William Damon, the director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence, defines purpose as “a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at the same time meaningful to the self and consequential for the world beyond the self.” Finding one’s purpose requires dedicated commitment, personal meaningfulness, goal directedness, and a vision larger than one’s self. Teachers can inspire a sense of purpose in students by prioritizing internal motivation over external achievement, fostering teamwork and collaboration, helping students see teachers as mentors and coaches, taking students out into the world, encouraging learning from failure, valuing students’ inner lives, and starting with the “why” – that is - providing context for school work.

Read more
Happiness Skills - Generosity

Generosity

Research in neuroscience has offered evidence that generosity, helping and being kind to others, is intrinsically rewarding. According to a study overseen by Harvard University, those who donated time or money were 42% more likely to be happy when compared to those who didn’t give anything. Psychologists have identified this kindness-to-happiness-buzz as a “helper’s high.” The feeling after expressing kindness toward someone produces a rush of endorphins, similar to, but not dangerous like a drug high. As a result of this “warm glow,” happiness and cheerfulness are increased in those who participate in acts of kindness. Being kind creates a cycle that promotes widespread happiness and altruism.

Read more
Happiness Skills - Mindfulness
Happiness Skills - Human Connection
Happiness Skills - Gratitude
Happiness Skills - Positive Outlook
Happiness Skills - Purpose
Happiness Skills - Generosity

Partners

Discovery Education

Igniting student curiosity and inspiring educators to reimagine learning with award-winning digital content and powerful professional development.

Greater Good Science Center

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

Inner Explorer

The Inner Explorer program is a series of daily 5-10 minute audio-guided mindfulness practices that is easily implemented in any classroom. The program focusses on key areas of development to help students and teachers reduce stress and prepare for learning.

Project Happiness

Born from scientific research on human happiness, Project Happiness provides educational programs and resources that teach anyone how to learn the habits and skills of sustainable happiness.

UN Day of Happiness

We are happy to be partners in the worldwide movement to spread happiness to all. UN resolution 66/281 establishes the International Day of Happiness as March 20th every year, recognizing the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental human right and goal, and universal aspiration in the lives of all human beings.

Sustainable Happiness is a journey and sometimes we face difficult challenges along the path.

If you find yourself in crisis or need immediate help, please know you are not alone. Here are some resources you may find helpful.