185 Inspiring Happiness Quotes (2021 Update)

The written word is truly an amazing thing.

With the help of it we can record out innermost thoughts and spread them if we like.

With the help of the written word we can look far, far back into time, through the decades, the centuries and, yes, even the millennias.

This Monday I'd like to look back into the past for some motivation and to see what the wise people who have walked on this earth can tell us about happiness and how to uncover it.

No matter if you live today or lived two thousand years ago.

This is 185 of the most inspiring, touching and helpful thoughts from the past on happiness.

[Note: the original version of this post contained 101 quotes but it has now been updated with 84 additional quotes on happiness.]

Inspiring Happiness Quotes

101 Happiness Quotes

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Buddha

 

“Happiness is the art of never holding in your mind the memory of any unpleasant thing that has passed.”
Unknown

“To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”
Albert Camus

“If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.'
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.”
Chinese Proverb

“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.”
Ashley Montagu

“Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.”
Stacey Charter

“It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
Dale Carnegie

“It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.”
Lucille Ball

happiness_quotes_1

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
Winnie the Pooh

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
Epictetus

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
Frederick Keonig

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
Eskimo Proverb

“To be kind to all, to like many and love a few, to be needed and wanted by those we love, is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness.”
Mary Stuart

“There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.”
Seneca

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
Robert A. Heinlein

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.”
Dennis Waitley

Happiness Quote by Mahatma Gandhi

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“The only joy in the world is to begin.”
Cesare Pavese

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
Oscar Wilde

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
Marthe Troly-Curtin

“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon”
Winnie the Pooh

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
Herman Cain

Happiness Quote by Confucius

“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
Confucius

“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.”
Anthony de Mello

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
Dalai Lama

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”
Helen Keller

Happiness Quote by Aristotle

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
Aristotle

“It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it.”
Seneca

“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.”
Marcel Pagnol

“If men would consider not so much wherein they differ, as wherein they agree, there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling in the world.”
Joseph Addison

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

happiness_quotes_2

“The pleasure which we most rarely experience gives us greatest delight.”
Epictetus

“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
L.M. Montgomery

“Happiness is acceptance.”
Unknown

“The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.”
James M. Barrie

“We begin from the recognition that all beings cherish happiness and do not want suffering. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically unwise to pursue only one’s own happiness oblivious to the feelings and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the same human family. The wiser course is to think of others when pursuing our own happiness.”
Dalai Lama

“Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.”
Dr. Robert Anthony

“The unhappy derive comfort from the misfortunes of others.”
Aesop

“For many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them.”
Seneca

“A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?”
Albert Einstein

Happiness Quote by Bertrand Russell

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”
Bertrand Russell

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“Happiness is a myth we seek,
If manifested surely irks;
Like river speeding to the plain,
On its arrival slows and murks.
For man is happy only in
His aspiration to the heights;
When he attains his goal, he cools
And longs for other distant flights.”
Kahlil Gibran

“Happiness is a state of activity.”
Aristotle

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
Confucius

“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.”
Arthur Schopenhauer

“Men spend their lives in anticipations, in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other – it is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age.”
Charles Caleb Colton

Happiness Quote by Marcus Aurelius

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

“Happy he who learns to bear what he cannot change.”
Friedrich Schiller

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
Winston Churchill

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.”
Andy Rooney

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.”
James Oppenheim

Happiness Quote by Douglas Adams

“I'd far rather be happy than right any day.”
Douglas Adams

“Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.”
Benjamin Disraeli

“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”
Albert Schweitzer

“Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy.”
Heraclitus

“Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object.”
Herman Hesse

Happiness Quote by Martha Washington

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
Martha Washington

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Aesop

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don’t even remember leaving open.”
Rose Lane

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
Albert Ellis

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.”
Groucho Marx

Happiness Quote by Unknown

“Just because it didn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.”
Unknown

“Your work is discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
Buddha

“That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”
Henry David Thoreau

“Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.”
Maxim Gorky

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”
Leo Tolstoy

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Happiness Quote by Epicurus

“If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires.”
Epicurus

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”
William Feather

“Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.”
John Henry Jowett

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”
Confucius

Happiness Proverb

“If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.”
Proverb

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature…. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
Helen Keller

“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his/her happiness on major events like a great job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time.
If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.”
Andy Rooney

“Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.”
Buddha

happiness_quotes_3

“The first recipe for happiness is: avoid too lengthy meditation on the past.”
Andre Maurois

“The grass is always greener where you water it.”
Unknown

“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.”
Marquis de Condorcet

“On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do.”
Eckhart Tolle

“The happiest people in the world are those who feel absolutely terrific about themselves, and this is the natural outgrowth of accepting total responsibility for every part of their life.”
Brian Tracy

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
George Bernard Shaw

Happiness Quote by Leo Buscaglia

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy.”
Leo Buscaglia

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”
William Arthur Ward

Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.”
Mary Lou Retton

“I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long-term happiness to our lives.”
Dalai Lama

“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
Joseph Campbell

“Happiness consists of living each day as if it were the first day of your honeymoon and the last day of your vacation.”
Leo Tolstoy

Happiness Quote by Abraham Lincoln

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
Unknown

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see in truth that you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
Kahlil Gibran

“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.”
Morris West

“Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.”
Milton Erickson

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Wise Quotes About Happiness

Happiness Quote by Stephen Chobsky

“There's nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.”
Stephen Chbosky

“Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.”
Roy T. Bennett

“Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a man in the course of his life.”
Benjamin Franklin

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters.”
Audrey Hepburn

“Children are happy because they don't have a file in their minds called “All the Things That Could Go Wrong.”
Marianne Williamson

“Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others…By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves.”
Gordon B. Hinckley

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
Albert Einstein

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
Nelson Mandela

“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”
G.K. Chesterton

“Others may know pleasure, but pleasure is not happiness. It has no more importance than a shadow following a man.”
Muhammad Ali

Chinese Proverb about Happiness

“Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.”
Chinese proverb

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
M. Scott Peck

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
Hunter S. Thompson

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: Someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
Tom Bodett

“Do not set aside your happiness. Do not wait to be happy in the future. The best time to be happy is always now.”
Roy T. Bennett

“Happiness is not doing fun things. Happiness is doing meaningful things.”
Maxime Lagacé

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”
Nikos Kazantzakis

“Happiness does not lead to gratitude. Gratitude leads to happiness.”
David Steindl-Rast

Happiness Quote by Richard Branson

“It’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness.”
Richard Branson

“Every day is a new day, and you'll never be able to find happiness if you don't move on.”
Carrie Underwood

“I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”
Diane Ackerman

“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”
George Washington Burnap

“True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Helen Keller

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.”
Andrew Carnegie

“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
Roald Dahl

“You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from passing over your head, but you can prevent their making a nest in your hair.”
Chinese proverb

“In our lives, change is unavoidable, loss is unavoidable. In the adaptability and ease with which we experience change, lies our happiness and freedom.”
Buddha

Happiness Quote by Jiddu Krishnamurti

“There is great happiness in not wanting, in not being something, in not going somewhere.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
Seneca

Short Happiness Quotes

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
Charles M. Schulz

“Happiness is not a goal…it's a by-product of a life well-lived.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“The mere sense of living is joy enough.”
Emily Dickinson

“Happiness is a state of mind. It's just according to the way you look at things.”
Walt Disney

“Simplicity makes me happy.”
Alicia Keys

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Roll with the punches and enjoy every minute of it.”
Meghan Markle

“Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive.”
Elbert Hubbard

Happiness Quote by Christian Dior

“Happiness is the secret to all beauty. There is no beauty without happiness.”
Christian Dior

“All happiness depends on courage and work.”
Honoré de Balzac

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
Ernest Hemingway

“Your problem is you’re… too busy holding onto your unworthiness.”
Ram Dass

“Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
Guillaume Apollinaire

“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
Jonathan Safran Foer

“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.”
Louisa May Alcott

“That’s your unlimited desires that are clouding your peace, your happiness.”
Naval Ravikant

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Anaïs Nin

“The constant happiness is curiosity.”
Alice Munro

Happiness Quote by Goldie Hawn

“The only thing that will make you happy is being happy with who you are.”
Goldie Hawn

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
Anne Frank

“Independence is happiness.”
Susan B. Anthony

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”
Dr. Seuss

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
Marcus Aurelius

“One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.”
Rita Mae Brown

“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.”
Lou Holtz

“Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn't calculate his happiness.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.”
Oscar Wilde

Happiness Quote by Earl Nightingale

“We become what we think about.”
Earl Nightingale

“Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get”
W. P. Kinsella

“Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.”
Charles Dickens

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”
Benjamin Franklin

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.”
Mark Twain

“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.”
Robert Frost

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.”
Ayn Rand

“If you want to be happy, be.”
Leo Tolstoy

“The truly wise and happy are never rushed.”
Maxime Lagacé

Happiness Quote by Anton Chekhov

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”
Anton Chekhov

“Happiness [is] only real when shared”
Jon Krakauer

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
Omar Khayyam

Funny Happiness Quotes

“I heard a definition once: Happiness is health and a short memory! I wish I'd invented it, because it is very true.”
Audrey Hepburn

“Be happy. It really annoys negative people.”
Ricky Gervais

“This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”
Douglas Adams

“Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Life would be tragic if it weren't funny.”
Stephen Hawking

“A failure is like fertilizer; it stinks to be sure, but it makes things grow faster in the future.”
Denis Waitley

Happiness Quote by Dale Carnegie

“Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.”
Dale Carnegie

“To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.”
Gustave Flaubert

“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet to see who they really are.”
Will Ferrell

“Every time you feel yourself being pulled into other people’s drama, repeat these word: Not my circus, not my monkeys.”
Polish Proverb

“I may be a living legend, but that sure don't help when I've got to change a flat tire.”
Roy Orbison

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”
Will Rogers

“Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.”
Cullen Hightower

“You know, some people say life is short and that you could get hit by a bus at any moment and that you have to live each day like it’s your last. Bullshit. Life is long. You’re probably not gonna get hit by a bus. And you’re gonna have to live with the choices you make for the next fifty years.”
Chris Rock

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
Theodore Roosevelt

Happiness Quote by George Burns

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
George Burns

What is your favorite happy quote? I want to know all the top recommendations from you happy people out there, so let me know in the comments.

About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • nice quotes… my opinion is that happiness is something very precious and it can only be achieved unless you fulfill your UNMET NEEDS !!!

  • daniel

    Great quotes! thank you very much Henrik
    I loved this:
    “Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.”
    Buddha

  • Really liked this.

  • Amazing quotes! Love these!

  • What a fabulous and inspiring list. I have to say that my favorite is the last:
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
    Mark Twain

  • Great quotes! I might have to print a few of these off for my desk.

  • I never knew Winnie The Pooh was so wise.

    Thanks for making my morning

    sw

  • Shekhar

    Happiness does not come with achieving something you don’t have but with appreciating what you already have.. Couldn’t have agreed more

  • I reall love #43: “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” :)

  • I found this a really an uplifting list. I am going to print them out and stick them round my house.

  • Love this post! :)

  • Julie Hembrough

    The meaningful quote to me was: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see in truth that you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
    Kahlil Gibran