What You Should Know About Someone Who Is Always Happy

As a teacher and parent, I’m quite familiar with the Pharrell song, ‘Happy’, because of its connection to the Minions franchise (links to Amazon), very popular with children. But is being ‘always happy’ something we should strive for and teach our kids? What should you know about someone who’s always happy, particularly as it applies to kids?

A person can’t always be happy in the common sense of the word, but someone known for a consistently happy demeanor likely has a positive disposition or outlook. Sometimes, though, it’s a cover for sadness; or it means they are in denial about problems. True happiness comes from a life of character.

From movies like Happy Days and Happy Feet to songs, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy‘ and ‘Shiny, Happy People‘, we’re inundated by the concept of happiness and it’s importance. So let’s consider what we call people who are always happy and what this actually means; as well, the normalcy of this and how it relates to our desire for happy kids and giving them a happy life.

One way to build humor with your kids is to use it strategically through routines or regular activities. For instance, our Fun Jokes For Kids Coloring Book is a great tool for embedding humor through kid-friendly activity.

While I’m admittedly not a psychologist, I do have a degree in human behavior as well as decades teaching kids, giving me a unique understanding. It’s with this background, as well as my experiences as a Catholic mom, that I approach this topic with all sincerity. I hope you find it pertinent to your family, too.

What do you call someone who is always happy?

I’m sure you’ve met people or had people in your life who just always seem happy. What are those kinds of people called?

People who seem always happy are commonly referred to as positive or having a sunny disposition. They might also be called a smiley person or Pollyanna, from the 1913 children’s book of the same name about a character who is overly cheerful. However, happy people are sometimes considered naïve, too.

Positive person Looks on the bright side even under duress or when experiencing problems
Sunny dispositionA person who makes others feel warm and evokes a warmth
Smiley personSmiles seemingly all the time, or very casually and consistently
PollyannaThe main character from the 1913 book, Pollyanna, by Eleanor Porter (and subsequent movie starring child actress Hayley Mills); though an orphan, she is very cheerful and extremely optimistic.
NaïveDefined as someone showing lack of experience, wisdom, and/or judgment
Table detailing the many names of someone who is always happy.

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Is it normal for someone to always be happy?

Since we often strive to be happy, is it normal for someone who always seems happy? Does it just mean, then, that they’ve attained life’s biggest goal?

It is not normal for someone to always be happy emotionally, even if they smile a lot and have a positive attitude. In some cases that’s done to mask sadness or other underlying concerns. To really ‘always be happy’ means you are fulfilled from living a life of good character.

Current findings from polls and research actually show that people are less happy than in decades pasts, and that is more significant in the US than most other countries. This is quite telling since the US is perhaps the richest nation in the world, where people have the most freedoms, per se.

So in that regard, it’s actually somewhat atypical to consider yourself always happy in the US particularly. Yet, we also need to keep in mind how happiness is defined, and what it means to be ‘always happy’. Maybe then we’ll have a better understanding of whether or not it’s normal.

For my own self, I feel that happiness is about family and life satisfaction, and feeling gratified with the choices I’ve made day to day and year after year. And in this way, I’m always happy! I feel very blessed and content; I feel love and respected. This is what makes me happy…always, and that’s normal for me!

But being overly positive, naïve, and/or always smiling aren’t normal reactions or behavior for anyone- that’s not real happiness.

Are people who always look happy actually happy?

But if people look happy then aren’t they happy? Are looks deceiving, as the old idiom goes?

People who look happy may or may not be actually happy, as ‘happy’ means different things to people. We think people who smile a lot look ‘happy’ or people who seem to have achieved much are happy. Some people look happy as a façade though; while others just consider smiling a polite thing to do.

As such, our personality traits may just tend to make us more of a smiley person, regardless of our inner or even professed satisfaction. In other words, while we may think of someone who smiles a lot as ‘always happy’, he or she may not think that at all.

Some may say smiling a lot is a southern thang! And have actually nothing to do with being happy.

Another staggering statistic is that almost 8 percent of US adults have experienced at least one major depressive episode in their life. But that number rises to almost 16 percent when considering adolescents, again letting us know it’s increasing over recent years.

So for us to think that smiling people are happy people is quite a misnomer. Many smiling people are likely masking their real feelings.

Positives About Always Being Happy

Now don’t get me wrong. There are many positives about being happy. The tricky part occurs with using the word, ‘always.’ What’s good about always being happy?

Always being happy can be positive, with the right definition. If ‘happy’ means someone who has a ‘can do’ spirit when facing trials and is fulfilled by their life choices, then that’s a good thing. This is also known as having grit and perseverance, and the way to living a happy, content life.

Teaching kids that happiness isn’t about toys or material things, or even getting one’s way, is necessary for them to understand how to be happy. It’s fundamental to a ‘happy life’ in fact. And in the society we live in, it’s not always clear to even adults that this is the way to being ‘always happy’.

How to have Happy Kids

‘The Minimalist Mom’ site gives suggestions about having happy kids.

How to have happy kids is probably on the forefront of parents’ minds daily. Just about everything we do is for our kids, and we want them to be happy and healthy now and in their future.

In fact, if you ask most parents, ‘what do you want for your kids?’, I almost guarantee the answer is ‘for them to be happy and healthy’. So how do we make that happen?

Tips for Happy, Healthy Kids:

  • Treat each day as a gift.
  • Be polite to others.
  • Use the Golden Rule (‘Do unto others how you would have them do unto you’)
  • Enjoy time together rather than ‘things’ together.
  • Talk to each other and just as importantly, listen.
  • Smile and laugh more.
  • Be respectful to everyone.
  • Keep consistent discipline and expectations.
  • Work on being good spouses as much as being good parents.

What Kids Have to Say About Being Happy

Kids have a funny way of explaining what makes them happy.

No matter what grandparents think, kids actually love being with them more than getting things from them.

As a teacher for decades, as well as mom, I’ve learned that more than anything material, kids want our attention. Whether I’m in the classroom or the living room, my ‘kids’ love it when I play games with them, or act silly by telling my mom/teacher jokes.

In our rushed society, we don’t spend enough time enjoying our days together, and as we find out later, the days go by way too fast and we can’t get that time back. So pay attention to what makes your kids smile. Is it the latest toy or trip to Disney…or is it playing with their mom and dad?

Kids Are Happy When:

  • They feel loved and wanted.
  • They feel like they ‘have done a good job.’
  • They aren’t in trouble.
  • They aren’t rushed.
  • They have a consistent routine.
  • They know what to expect.

Drawbacks for Kids Who Are Always Happy

Inside Out from Pixar is a movie about the necessity of the emotions of both joy and sadness.

But as you’ve probably figured out, there are plenty of drawbacks to always being happy, but again, this is conditional upon one’s understanding of happy and happiness.

Always being happy has its drawbacks, depending on the definition used. If someone is always happy by denying reality or being blindly optimistic, then that’s not healthy. It’s also not good if you use smiles and a positive disposition as a means of hiding your true feelings.

It’s best for parents and those in charge of kids to teach them that happiness is a state of mind, but not tool to overlook life’s problems or trials. Being happy is more about being the person you want to be, or striving to get there.

However, to deny one’s feelings of disappointment or sadness isn’t healthy, and it doesn’t mean you’re an unhappy person either. You can actually be ‘happy all the time’ if you think about happiness with the right perspective.

The Punchline About Someone Who Is Always Happy

The punchline about being happy all the time is that you really must understand the meaning of ‘happy’ and happiness.

Someone who smiles all the time regardless of context doesn’t mean he or she is always happy. It could be a mask to hide depression, sadness, or unfulfillment. It could also mean they’re just simple minded or naive.

However, it’s possible to be always happy if you truly understand what it means: a life of good character!

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Jackie Booe

A mother to four kids, grandmother ("Oma") to a growing number, a retired teacher for over 18 years, and a wife to Mat since 1994, Jackie knows kids and laughter. She holds a license to teach in 3 states and is certified to teach elementary, secondary English, and English Language Learners, with practical experience at all levels. She holds three degrees in the field of education and has taught education courses online at the university level as an adjunct professor, too. She has mentored numerous education interns, hosted professional development for educators, and tutored, in addition to homeschooling her own children.

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