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. ochoo

    your treasure is where your heart is

    May 21, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  2. Marina90292

    This article is faith based but I do also believe in happiness from within. If you are happy with your self and where you are in life everything else falls in place because the decisions you make are made based from a happy state of mind and not a negative one. This has a trickle effect on everything.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  3. David

    Abraham Lincoln said, " Folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

    May 21, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  4. Lee

    Religion is nothing short of a psychological lobotomy. Yes, many religious people may be "happy". But just as the drunk is happy compared to a sober person, it does not mean it is a healthy condition.

    Or what about people like the "sister" above who "has long talks with God". How delusional is that? It's friggin' scary is what it is. The poor woman has bent her mind into a pretzel. That is the only way to eat the circular logic and keep coming back for more.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  5. Steve

    How pompous and obnoxius for Falwell to say you have to believe as he does to find happiness. But typical.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
  6. marty

    The problem with America is everything is ME ME ME. Every other day I see an article on "How to make yourself happy". Everyone in the past 20-30 years has just cared for themselves, which has caused arrogance. People maxed out their credit cards because they thought "Hey, I deserve it". They did the same thing with mortgages. Why don't we stop trying to make ourselves happy and try to help the greater good of all the people. Everyone obsessed with themselves, and screw everyone else.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
  7. Jay G

    People who believe in God may be happy, but they're delusional. There is plenty of happy to be had without wasting days and years of your life going to church and praying to some fictional God.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  8. James

    If you know how to truly love, then you know how to be truly happy. There is a lot of God-bashing these days, but by very definition, God = Perfect Love. Man in the sky? I don't know. That is the box you have put him in. Aspiring to be God-like is nothing more than aspiring to perfect love. It is harder than it sounds, but happiness (joy) is the inevitable outcome.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
  9. tt

    Perception is what kills your happiness. Be true to yourself and don't pretend to be someone else. Ask "how can I help you?" instead of "how can you help me?". Don't be jealous of others for their successes. Don't point finger when things don't go your way but try to make the best out of the worst situation.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
  10. Sister Alonia Anderson

    Sister Alonia Anderson

    Fr, Anthony,

    I agree with you that if you show love to others and treat others as you want to be treated then that is true happiness. i have long talks with GOD I believe as I desire to have a closer walk with HIM, I am happy. That does not say that I don't have moments of sadness. But when I can sit down in a "quiet place" and tell GOD about the sadness I feel, somehow it pass it does not last long. For those that believe that you can make yourself happen. I find that it not necessarily the case. It is a false state of mind and the particular state of happiness is fleeting. The true happiness is inner peace and love for others unconditionally and While I desire to have a closer walk with GOD, HE makes this abundantly clear. I know who HE IS. GOD is real. He has shown HIMSELF to me many times. GOD hears my cry when I am sad. He immediately answer my call one way or another. This I do Know. So, GOD does not force no one to except HIM or who HE is but gives each of us FREEWILL. GOD will not have it no other way. You either except HIM or not.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
    • Drew

      To what convent do you belong? We'd all like to know.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
    • Kevin

      The key words here are"God does not force no one to believe in him" . Unfortunately, mankind has different ideas. Respect our FREEWILL to be believe or not believe and "your" faith will give you the strength to accept that in others without judging them. Maybe I believe in a God but not that Jesus was/is his son. That should be okay with God and Christians.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
  11. Mike

    What bunk. Why would CNN or anyone care what "faith leaders" believe about happiness? The audacity of the religious to think that they have some higher access to happiness than I do as an atheist. And "NO" to the guy who thinks my "faith" that there are no gods is too a religion. We rationalists have to keep and continue to call-out dumb crap when it is seen!

    May 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
    • Drew

      Hi Mike. I respect atheism–what I was taught by the Jesuit priests in my Catholic education was to question everything and accept nothing before fully evaluating every assumption on which it relied. And I agree that it is not a religion, it is a belief system. You and I have simply come to different conclusions based on the available evidence. I do not pretend the evidence is perfect.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      Drew, there is no evidence for one god over any other god (or no gods) AT ALL. It's not a matter of "interpreting the evidence". There is no evidence to interpret.

      Everything Christians call "evidence for God" is nothing more than "evidence that we humans do not yet understand everything in the entire universe". In other words, they believe that anything we don't understand = proof of their god. That's horrendous logic.

      May 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
  12. Ramesh

    The most absurd definition for Happiness is given by Deepak Chopra. I don't understand how can you make other's happy if you are unhappy. If I try to make others happy while I am unhappy, I would have so much conflict and cheating myself. The life would be such a misery.
    On the other hand I totally agree with Joel. We will experience joy when we are in access to inner stillness of the being. This allow us to keep our joy irrespective of the outside situation. What is taking away our happiness? We don't live in the present. Please read the spiritual masters: Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, etc. There are contemporary masters as well: Eckhart Tolle, Jaggi Vasudev, etc.,

    May 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
  13. Kevin

    And I thought this was going to be story about how Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook decided what makes us happy by studying the Facebook updates

    May 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  14. seeinghumanMac

    Happiness is your inherent nature, the nature of your soul. It is easily recognized in the love felt BETWEEN objects and pursuits of happiness. When something is 'attained', the temporary 'content' state, which is void of FEAR & DESIRE, allows your waiting Love within to Rise freely. It's not the objects that make you happy, but the absence of searching. All attempts to be happy, are distractions from the happiness that remains when one is still.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  15. Raj

    I cant believe there is so much unhappiness here. No wonder all these speakers are making millions of dollars- confusing people.

    At the end of the day, only speakers have happiness bcos they confused so well and looted all the money in your name.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
  16. Shiv

    I think of all these people Deepak makes the most sense. I might not agree with a lot of what he says. I do agree with what he states here.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  17. tarleton

    I'm happiest when I don't have to listen to self-righteous Christians spouting off about their own "happy" relationship with God. Nothing is more patronizing and boring. So please, all of you Christians out there, I don't want your self-satisfied pity; all I want is your silence.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  18. Mead

    I think that when we find truth, constancy, fidelity and love, that is when we are most happy.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  19. Tiger817

    What makes people happy?
    Winning LottoMax (30 Million)

    May 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  20. Way2god

    Happiness is not about suppressing others in the name of God – especially Christ, Allah, Krishna, Bhudda or any God. It’s about being honest with yourself.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
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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.