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May 20th, 2010
11:55 AM ET

What makes people happy?

Happiness is something we all strive for in our lives. But is there a secret ingredient to being happy?

We asked five faith leaders of varying perspectives to answer the question, "What makes people happy?" Their answers showed that happiness comes from meaning and purpose in life. It's in your heart and soul and can come from helping others.

And if you're looking for perfect happiness, it doesn't exist. But imperfect happiness does.

- Associate Producer

Filed under: Culture & Science • Leaders

soundoff (800 Responses)
  1. John Richardson

    More facile yackity-yack from people who don't really know anything outside their own narrow experience. I work at a job that is my life's mission. But I also suffer from the PHYSIOLOGICAL problem of depression and multiple sleep disorders. Meaning comes a lot easier than happiness for people like me and while I may not be a typical case, I'm hardly unique. And it speaks volumes, sad volumes, that this would appear under the "belief blog". "People of faith" claim a monopoly on insight and wisdom, but in fact only hold a monopoly on talking endlessly about things about which little is known and what little IS known is discovered by people who rely on hard evidence, not faith.

    May 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  2. kb

    I am happiest when my girlfriend performs oral on me.

    May 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  3. Timmy

    Im not a religious guy but this whole Idea that they give the "humanist" chaplain the same idea as the religious spokespeople is dumb. Atheism is not a belief but rather a lack of belief and while this article is stated under the "Belief Blog" heading it does make sense to have this guy on the page. Keep him on the Opinion section like when he had a commentary the other day.

    May 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  4. Leo

    Don't pray much; we all die pretty randomly; it does not matter if you are good or bad; beasts and human beings take part in the same death; we are all dust and return to dust; no one is remembered for very long; there is no plan; and nothing ever changes. Love your spouse. Get some work to do, do it with all your might; enjoy the simple pleasures of food, drink, and love.
    Everything else is vanity.

    Koheleth {hebrew for Solomon} [ author of Ecclesiastes ]

    May 22, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  5. Tim

    I've tried God in myriad forms for over 50 years. Gave it my sincerest efforts. Done the whole service thing. You name it. It hasn't brought a bit of peace or serenity into my life. I sometimes think that people get a false serenity out of their knowledge that other people know they believe in God. It seems to be mighty important for some people to let everyone know they believe in God, as if it's mostly a matter of "we believe in believing." I'm not an atheist; just a disappointed theist.

    May 22, 2010 at 11:47 am |
    • ess

      false promises and claims?

      May 22, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  6. ess

    people want one way to happiness in fear of there being too many.

    May 22, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  7. Mitch

    Two pastors and Deepak Chopra - why are sites like this so willing to let blatant frauds give people advice?

    May 22, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  8. NOWIKNOW

    Yesterday I met this amazing 89 yr young woman who still looks so good, stands erect and has her original teeth. Her secret to happiness was "I laugh a lot and don't take anything seriously". Then she made a gesture of ...in one ear and out the other. She told us a few jokes , laughed with us and disappeared around the corner.

    Could it be that as simple as that?

    May 22, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  9. Sylvie

    Deepak Chopra has certainly made millions off of unhappy people.

    May 22, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  10. steve

    Joel Osteen looks like NASCAR white trash.

    May 22, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  11. donovan

    I think making it a goal to be 'happy' is a big lie brought to you by soap operas and the media. Happiness is one of many emotions. Being content should be the goal.

    May 22, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  12. Jsuprise

    The comments were very enlightening in themselves. I think the aHa from those comments is that like "success," "happiness" is defined by each individual. I interview over 40 people a month and speak with several hundreds who tell me they are "happy." What I have found is that that most often is a masked response becuase nobody has asked them the important questions and/or they have spent more time training their pet to be potty trained than think about their big WHY in life (as an example.) That is so unfortunate when people do not spend time to focus on their purpose or mission in life. The emptiness in those misguided lives who have deferred to be a ping pong ball in the surf is horrifyingly obvious no matter what status they have in our world. One could debate that that could be the genesis for many of the challenges our world is faced with today. On another note, I would suggest that an individual who has found true happiness DOES have faith. May not be in the form of religion, but there is some faith.. maybe in humanity. I do believe that is a critical ingredient.

    May 22, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  13. Anon

    None of these people know what they are talking. Happiness differs for everyone–that is the only best answer.

    May 22, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  14. donovan

    I'm happy to know that I am mostly content. If I was happy 24/7 I would go nuts.

    May 22, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  15. Ethan

    You know what makes people happy? Prescription drugs such as Prozac and Adderall.

    May 22, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  16. Hispanicmechanic

    Money, money, money.

    May 22, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  17. Gigi

    Peace surpasses all understanding. As a result the seed of calmness and confidence are inside of you. In return it catapults you to the next level of life to enjoy happiness and joy.

    May 22, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  18. Prometheus

    What makes me happy is health, wealth, and doing the things I love to do like sports e.g. surfing-cycling, exercise, yoga, preparing good food, reading, writing (email, books, screenplays), helping others, playing my classical/jazz guitar, travel, fishing, exploring nature, watching movies-TV, studying science, talking with friends, sharing photos, listening to unbrainwashed children talk and discover life, making new friends, debating, making love etc etc. If you ask a Muslim Taliban member what makes them happy you'll get a brainwashed answer just like you'd get from an American Baptist. I am much happier as a Godless American than I was as a Theistic God believing American. Religion is a delusion filter that clouds and distorts, and can poison everything. I suggest trying the reality God, Goddess Mother Nature. John Muir and John Lennon got it right.

    May 22, 2010 at 9:55 am |
  19. John

    There is no path to happiness. Happiness IS the path.

    May 22, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  20. khurram

    we all know that deepak chopra's books and ideas have no scientific basis
    it is all wu wu

    ciao!

    May 22, 2010 at 9:38 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.