“Happy” and “happiness” are sometimes used to refer to feelings or emotions. For example, statements like “How happy he was when he found out he had won the Lottery” or “When she found out she got the job she was very happy” clearly refer to some state of consciousness of the person, and do not by themselves imply that the life of that person, or a significant portion of that person’s life, is a happy one. We have no clear distinction between feelings and emotions. One way the distinction is made is in terms of the strength of the experience, with an emotion being a stronger, more vivid experience. If we draw the distinction in this way, we would probably classify happiness as an emotion. Another, sharper way the distinction has been drawn is to claim that feelings make up a category of experiences of which there are three kinds: perceptions, sensations and emotions. Emotions, unlike perceptions, are not connected with a specific organ or part of the body, and, unlike sensations, are not located in part of the body and are directed toward objects. If we draw the distinction in this way, the feeling use of “happiness” refers to a feeling, and more specifically, to an emotion, since it obviously would not be a sensation or a perception. A question may arise concerning the possibility of a feeling of happiness that does not take an object (e.g., waking up one morning feeling happy without feeling happy about anything in particular). Perhaps the object might be just one’s life or the pattern of activity one is engaged in.
Sometimes “happy” is used to refer to a mood of a person. Some examples are “Vishal was in a happy mood today” and “Having had four cup cakes, he was feeling happy.” Even though the word “feeling” occurs in the second example, the expression seems to mean that the cakes put him in a happy mood. This use indicates someone has a disposition to have happy feelings, to see things as being favorable, and likes elements of his situation over a period of time.
The adverb “happily” is sometimes applied to behavior, such as in “The children were in the yard, playing happily.” This behavioral use applies to situations where someone is doing something enthusiastically, with vigor, or cheerfully.
My contribution to the group discussion on the concept of happiness. >:). Hehe. They liked it!! =))