happy woman, what is true happiness

What is True Happiness? ( + A 30 Day Happiness Challenge)

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All Scripture references come from the King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV)."

What is true happiness?  Everyone is searching for more happiness.  What many people don’t realize is that happiness is not based on external factors.  Truly, we have everything that we need to be happy. Just for fun, I created a 30 day happiness challenge to give you some ideas for daily activities that you can do to put a spring in your step.  But first, let’s answer the question, what is true happiness?

What is true happiness?

Are you really finding true happiness without the Lord in your life?  Personally, I don’t think so. The Bible, God’s rule for living well, gives us the perfect definition of finding true happiness in life if we look to the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-11 KJV.


“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

I don’t think I could give you any better answer for “what is true happiness” than that.  Do you agree? But let’s move forward and break down some pretty important keys to a happy life that will help you find joy in the journey for true happiness.  So, read on…

First, if you would like more scriptures, check out 20 Inspiring Bible Verses for Happiness and Joy. 

Happiness vs Joy

I believe that there is a very real difference between happiness and joy.  Joy is a belief of the heart. It’s an internal emotion that never changes regardless of your situation.  

When times get tough, I still have joy because I am a child of God and my eternal life is secure.  He will never leave me or forsake me. I have the joy of the Lord. And during difficult times, I am comforted by His peace.  How could that not give me joy? If I get sick or I get cut off in traffic, I might have to fight with my mood and different levels of happiness, but I still have my deep rooted joy.  The keys to finding true happiness start with a deep-rooted joy in the Lord. Add gratitude, kindness and forgiveness and you're well on your way. #findinghappiness #gratitude Share on X

In Hebrews 13:5 KJV we are reminded “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 KJV “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

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Now happiness, on the other hand, is a surface-level emotion that is based on external circumstances.   For instance, I’m happy because I’m playing with my dog or the sun is shining. But, our happiness can change at times.  

We are living in a state of conscious awareness.  We have the ability to control our happiness levels.  It’s entirely possible to choose happiness over any other mood.  You simply have to make the decision. Combined, however, both happiness and joy are great keys to a happy life.

Happiness is a choice

Yes, my friend, finding true happiness in life is something that you choose to do.  My purpose in including the 30 day happiness challenge in this post is because it will give you some ideas of things to do that will lift you out of the doldrums or a grumpy mood.

I remember a fun activity that I used to do with my kids when they were little if somebody got crabby.  I would turn on the music and crank up the volume. My song of choice was Piano Man by Billy Joel. Now I don’t remember why that song gave me the boost I needed.  But it worked every time, for me and the kids. Even to this day, when I hear Piano Man, I smile and dance.

The mere fact that a song can change my mood, is evident that happiness is a choice.  It’s not about finding true happiness, it’s about choosing it. So whether it’s a song, a dance, ice cream, a puppy, these are prompts to help you choose differently.  It’s like a light switch to change your mood.

baby laughing, how to find true happiness

Gratitude is one of the critical keys to a happy life

According to Positive Psychology research, “there is a direct link between happiness and gratitude.  Expressing gratitude brings about happiness for the one giving thanks. The more someone is thankful or feels gratitude, the less there is time or room for negative thoughts.”

Truly, the more thankful you are, the happier you are.  Think about your own experiences. When was the last time you felt gratitude that put you in a bad mood?  It just doesn’t happen. Journaling your thoughts of gratitude nightly before bed ends your day with a smile.  Your journal also provides a happy place to go if you need another pick-me-up or prompt to change your mood.

Find the blessings in the little things

I think that it’s so cool that there is always a blessing.  It’s natural to be thankful for and to find blessings in the good things.  But there is always something to be thankful for in the hard times too.  

Most of the time, we simply find fault with the person who pulled out in front of us or what an inconvenience it is when the power goes out.  But I challenge you to look for blessings in those inconveniences.  

When you lose power,  it’s a great opportunity to get you off of technology and to play a game with your family instead.  When somebody cuts you off, clearly they have a reason. Maybe they had an emergency. Offer up a prayer for them.  Give them grace because we all know that we have cut others off in the past before too.

Focus on the positive if you’re seeking to answer the question, what is true happiness?

It’s easy to get caught up in the negative.  Right now our country is going through political craziness.  If you focus on all the hatred tossed around, you’ll find yourself in a bottomless pit.  If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that I’m notorious for reminding you to “change the channel” when things are heading down the wrong path.

What does change the channel mean?  It simply means that just like you can change your television channel to Hallmark from a political debate, you can change the channel in your brain.  Remember that happiness is a choice. So change your negative, sad, frustrated thoughts to something positive. When you’re headed into a negative direction, this would be a great time to do one of the activities in the 30 day happiness challenge.  Basically, just do something to break the pattern and change your mood.

Sharing kindness everywhere is a key to finding true happiness in life

I don’t know about you, but sharing love and kindness lifts my mood every single time.  It doesn’t matter if it is a family member or someone I pass on the street. Sharing kindness is one of my favorite things to do.  

How do you share kindness?  If you look at synonyms of the word, generosity, compassion and sympathy show up.  Yes, we talk a lot about random acts of kindness, but those acts don’t have to cost money.  Sitting with a friend who just lost a loved one, praying with and for someone, even just saying a kind word to someone who looks like they need a pick-me-up, are all ways to show kindness.

Not only does sharing kindness, make you feel good and it helps in finding true happiness in life.  But kindness is contagious. How often do you hear about long lines of people buying coffee for the person behind them as a kind gesture to pay it forward?  

One small act of kindness can change someone’s day.  And it could be the gesture that person needed to follow through on their convictions to commit their life to the Lord.

Take personal responsibility for your happiness

It’s so important to remember that your circumstances do not have to impact your mood or your level of happiness or joy.  Finding true happiness is absolutely up to you. Even after going through the 30 day happiness challenge (that’s still yet to come), when all else fails, simply pretend.  You know, fake it until you make it.

laughing woman, what is true happiness

Act like the person that you wish to be.  Smile, encourage others, be generous, enjoy the time you spend with your family and friends.  Follow this link for dozens more ideas of things to do to take personal responsibility for finding true happiness in your life.  

Above all else, do not give anyone control over your emotions.  Have you ever seen this quote? 

“Happiness is an inside job. Don’t assign anyone else that much power over your life.”


It is so true!  Think about that the next time someone else wants to influence your mood or your level of happiness.

Hang out with happy, positive people

Is finding true happiness easy when you’re hanging out with negative,  pessimistic people? Of course not! Playing with people who find joy in their life is just a great plan for living intentionally happy.  

I recommend your church family and other Christians.  Mostly because, as God’s children, we have so much gratitude and joy for our abundant blessings.  If we don’t, then I think we need to amp up our prayer life and work things out with our Lord. Don’t you think?  Play with happy people and you’ll be happy too!

Forgive and forget

What is true happiness when you are struggling to forgive?  Carrying grudges and holding on to negative thinking is a bad plan if you’re seeking true happiness in your life.   

Always remember what the Bible tells us in Matthew 6:14-15. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Seek God’s help for the courage and strength to forgive. Just do it! Not only does lack of forgiving and forgetting bring down your happiness level. But it’s bad for your health, too. 

And now, without further ado, here is the challenge you have so patiently waited for.  The challenge is to pick one activity each day on the 30 day happiness challenge list.  

The idea is with each activity, it will pick your mood up a little bit to help you in finding true happiness in your life.  And then the long-term effect is to pass that happiness on.

30 day happiness challenge

Here’s what the calendar looks like.  You’ll have an opportunity to print it off down below!

30 days of happiness challenge calendar, pink and blue

        1. Start a gratitude journal with a brand new fancy journal and pen
        2. Learn to cook a new recipe
        3. Dance around your house
        4. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while 
        5. Go on a picnic
        6. Take a mental health day from work
        7. Make a vision board
        8. Color a picture ~ check out the free Scripture coloring pages in my Inspirational Resources page
        9. Perform a random act of kindness
        10. Listen to a favorite podcast 
        11. Buy yourself some flowers
        12. Give yourself a home spa treatment, or manicure
        13. Wear your pajamas all day
        14. Go to the humane society and play with the puppies
        15. Take a nap
        16. Go to the movies
        17. Meet a friend for coffee-bonus points if you treat yourself to a frou-frou coffee
        18. Binge watch your favorite show
        19. Bake cookies
        20. Compliment a stranger
        21. Make a list of things that make you happy
        22. Go for a bike ride
        23. Call your mom
        24. Check something off of your  bucket list
        25. Eat lots of ice cream
        26. Start a new book, like Victory Over Affliction, a 30 day ebook, written by yours truly.  It offers 30 days of mindset challenges to motivate you!
        27. Go ice skating
        28. Eat samples at Sam’s Club 
        29. Buy yourself something special
        30. Wear fun and crazy socks

If you want to print out the calendar and check off the days as you go, grab it here!

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If you’re a fan of challenges, be sure and check out

40 Day Gratitude Challenge:  Count Your Blessings

30-Day Positivity Challenge: Easy Ways to Explode Your Optimism  

If you would like more challenges from One Exceptional Life, leave me your ideas in the comments below.  Please save this post on Pinterest for later and be sure to share this 30 Day Happiness Challenge with your friends on social media.  The links are below.

What are your favorite activities for finding true happiness in life?  What is true happiness for you?

**All scriptures provided in One Exceptional Life come from the King James Bible.

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    1. Thanks so much, Maria. I’m a huge fan of encouragement. Everybody needs a daily pick-me-up. Don’t you think?

  1. This was so refreshing early morning. Yes happiness is a choice and requires us to remind ourselves everyday. It’s absolutely internal with a lot of self talks and good deeds.

    1. Well thank you so much. Yes, choose happiness daily because it will make all the difference in your life.

  2. I love the idea of a happiness challenge. I think we sometimes think we have to sacrifice happiness when we focus on joy. We can have both! Maybe not every day but your challenge offers lots of ways to make it a goal. And I believe joyful happy people are more winsome for Jesus. Great post!

    1. Thanks so much Deb. We can absolutely have both happiness and joy and isn’t it wonderful? True happiness is everything a relationship with Jesus brings. We just need to get the word out and it all starts with faith and a fun happiness challenge.

    1. We can always have joy, Beth, even in the tough times. Looking for the blessings in trials, is critical to keeping your faith and knowing that the Lord has a greater plan for each of us.

  3. I appreciate all the points you gave to show what true happiness is and that we are responsible for our own happiness! You always provide wonderful steps for people to apply what you write about and that is so important.

    1. Awe, thanks so much, Fleda. I think it’s important to put some action behind the idea. My goal is to make a difference in the lives of others.

    1. So right, Jessica. It’s all up to us! All it takes is one baby step at a time, all while having a great time.

  4. What a wonderful and motivating post. I agree that being happy depends on self and not on others. I love the list of 30 challenges and hope to complete it in a reasonable time 🙂 Thanks Wendy.

    1. Thanks so much, Vasu! I’m excited to see how much you enjoy the challenge. Please let us know how it blessed your life.

  5. I am happy and grateful for the blessings I have in life. There are a lot of things we need to do we don’t like, but there are always things to appreciate.

    1. So true, Rosey. Even though we have things we don’t want to do, if you find a blessing in each one, it won’t be such a drain. For instance, I don’t like folding clothes. But for me, as a quad amp, it’s a chore I’m actually able to do so I can relieve that burden off my husband. That’s such a blessing!

    1. I’m so excited for you Natalie. Come back and share your results. I would love to see how it makes a difference in your life.

  6. Wow this makes me want to spread more happiness. Everything is simple on this list but sometimes we need to see it written to do it more often.

    1. I agree, Lily. That’s why the calendar was created. Print it off, and cross off each activity as you go. Who doesn’t love a 30 day happiness challenge?

  7. I love how you´ve explained the difference between happiness and joy. the idea of 30-day happiness challenge is amazing – we all need more self-care!

    1. Thank you, Anna. Yes, there’s a very clear difference between happiness and joy. If you focus on joy, then you don’t even need to work at happiness, right?

    1. Go for it, Ntensibe! All it takes is a little bit of focus and making the choice to be happy…one day at a time!

  8. So many people miss out on the point of happiness. This is an excellent challenge idea.

    1. Thank you, Tiffany. Yes, they do. They grab onto a negative mindset and run with it. I hope you take part in the daily happiness activities. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks, Heather. I truly believe that gratitude plays a major role in happiness. I’m thankful that you enjoyed every aspect of creating a happy life.

    1. Thank you, Joy. Yes, there’s a very clear difference. Joy is just a much deeper way of living your life. What a beautiful name!

  9. wow so amazing article and words. happiness is in small things, and we don’t need to forget abou this 🙂

  10. This is a jam packed guide and will be saving this. Being positive is key for true happiness for sure xx

    1. I agree, Fiona. So often we forget that it’s a choice. We’re so focused on feeling negative that we forget that we don’t have to stay in that state.

    1. Good point, Stephen. Those hand written notes on nice stationary will not only lift your spirits, but the recipient as well. It’s a double happiness whammy.

  11. Those are all great things for being happy. Some of my favorites on that list are cooking a new recipe, dancing around the house, going to the movies, and binge-watching my favorite shows!

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