IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Readers share the secret behind their happiness

/ Source: Special to

If spending time with friends and family puts a big, cheesy grin on your face, you're not alone. A recent survey found that young people were happiest when they were with the people closest to them. And when we asked readers what made them feel cheerful, the answer was the same.

"My first, number one thing that makes me happy is spending time with my family," confirms Lindsey from Panama City, Fla. "Coming in at a close second is spending time with my friends. To me life wouldn't really be much if you didn't have good people to share it with."

But Natalie Rosen from Framingham, Mass., counters, "A nice and good size family support is great and that maybe is most important, BUT financial security makes things a heck of a lot easier."

Plenty of readers agree with Rosen that money is key, but so were a lot of other things. Read on for more of what people say makes them smile.

I'm turning 14 this September, and I'm beginning to realize that the less DRAMA the better! And everyone has drama, even adults. The whole gossip thing happens, but if you make it your prime focus, you lose yourself and wind up bored and unhappy.

— Kelly, Chico, Calif.

What makes me happy is low stress. Stress [about] money, family, health, or anything else important can lead me to be unhappy. Having an optimistic outlook on life helps keep the stress down for me.

— Max

What makes me happy is having stability in my life. Not only with a job and financial wise, but also with my significant other and even simple things like weekend plans. I like spontaneity, but also enjoy relaxing and knowing my bills are paid!

— Melissa, Tallahassee, Fla.

My boyfriend, my two cats, family and friends, movies and marijuana. In that order.

— S. Harris, Milwaukee, Wis.

For me, happiness is the result of matching up my heart, my head and my actions. I read somewhere that happiness is the by-product of right action. I guess that means that happiness is the hot dog of life.

— Jeannie Hicks, Omaha, Neb.

Working in a job that I am passionate about, so that every day when I go to work, I love what I am doing and not just working to pay the bills.

— Rachel, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Money in the bank makes me happy ... very happy. Unfortunately, I'm not happy very often.

— Amanda Chhoun, Seattle


What makes a teenager happy?

Aug. 21: It’s not parties, shopping or money ... it's time with the parents.

NBC News video

falsefalse55512Keywords/Video/MSNBC News Video HeadlinesKeywords/N/NbcKeywords/Video/Today showKeywords/Video/NBC Today showMSNBCfalsetruefalsefalsefalsefalsefalsefalse home page news from MSNBC.com500:60:00falsefalsefalseCopy video informationtrueH6falsetrue1I find that I am happiest when two things coincide: I see the fruits of really having put my all into a project, and then having people I love there to celebrate with me. I can't think of anything more personally gratifying than that.

— Byron Warner, Athens, Ga.

Keeping my integrity and accomplishing self set goals while maintaining my moral standards makes me pretty happy.

— JoeJoe, Houston

When you’re a 15- or 16-year-old kid, most want money and everything that is cool. But there are a rare few, like myself, that just want peace and happiness, and no worries. ... Being a kid, and not having to worry and just relaxing, is what makes me happy.

— Jamie, New Lenox, Ill.

Waking up in the morning and admiring a brand new day, a new beginning with all of its wonderful attributes like birds, animals, sun, rain, trees, sky, mountains, sea, humanity, universe and giving thanks to the Lord for every piece of it.

— Luis A. Miranda, San Juan, Puerto Rico

I'm 15 and honestly, what makes me happy most is spending time away from everyone else and taking a deep breath. You know, concentrating on myself, a little bit of isolation. I love nature too, so I'm constantly found at night lying on my roof looking at the stars, just thinking.

— Casey, Pittsburgh, Penn.

No matter your age (though I am 23), being alive should make you happy! Being able to wake up every morning with the ability to make a difference is what keeps me going.

— Adam, New Canaan, Conn.

Sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll about covers it here for me! But I always found that money does make me happy if I spend it on others.

— Rico, Fort Wayne, Ind.

What makes me the happiest is when everything around me is clean and organized. Everything else just seems to fall into place after that.

— Tracy, Lula, Ga.

True happiness doesn't lie in material objects or possession. True love comes from the heart. Sharing my love with my friends and family, doing things for other people, putting a smile on another person's face. I've found the more you give, the more you receive. The more love I put out, the more love I feel, and happiness glows from the depths of my heart and soul.

— Kara Cifizzari, Carmel, Ind.