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40 Authors On How To Be Happy

40 Authors On How To Be Happy

40 Authors On How To Be Happy
29 January 2015

Unless you're an animated sunshine or a clown, it's difficult to maintain a constant state of happiness. As the weather gets progressively worse and the world appears to be imploding, we have some rather well-timed advice from 40 classic authors on how to be happy or how to avoid unhappiness.

If you're smiling by the end of this then you're welcome...

(Images: Rex Features)

Mark Twain

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.” 

Leo Tolstoy

"Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story"

Ayn Rand

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

Chuck Palahniuk

“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.” 

Charlotte Brontë

"Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste"

Hunter S Thompson

"I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” 

Oscar Wilde

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

Haruki Murakami

“But who can say what's best? That's why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.” 

from Norwegian Wood

Ernest Hemingway

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

Kurt Vonnegut

“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.” 

Robert Louis Stevenson

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“ If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier.”

from Self-Reliance

Fyodor Dostoevsky

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

Sylvia Plath

“I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.” 

Jane Austen

“I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.” 

from Pride and Prejudice

Douglas Adams

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

from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Gillian Flynn

“The face you give the world tells the world how to treat you.” 

Charles Dickens

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

from Nicholas Nickleby

Victor Hugo

"The supreme happiness of life consists in the conviction that one is loved; loved for one's own sake -- let us say rather, loved in spite of one's self."

Stephen King

"Happiness should remain unexamined for as long as possible"

from The Tommyknockers

Margaret Atwood

"Happiness is a garden walled with glass: there's no way in or out"

from The Blind Assassin

Jack Kerouac

“Happiness consists in realising it is all a great strange dream”

from The Lonesome Traveller

Aldous Huxley

“Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability."

from Brave New World

Virginia Woolf

“Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness from melancholy.” 

from Orlando

Paolo Coelho

"If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man."

from The Alchemist

Edith Wharton

"If you make up your mind not to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time.”

from The Last Asset

Maya Angelou

"If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love."

Alexandre Dumas

“I am not proud, but I am happy; and happiness blinds, I think, more than pride.” 

from The Count of Monte Cristo

Roald Dahl

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

George Orwell

“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.” 

from 1984

Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

"No medicine cures what happiness cannot"

from Of Love and Other Demons

Vladimir Nabokov

“And yet I am happy. Yes, happy. I swear. I swear that I am happy...What does it matter that I am a bit cheap, a bit foul, and that no one appreciates all the remarkable things about me—my fantasy, my erudition, my literary gift…I am happy that I can gaze at myself, for any man is absorbing—yes, really absorbing! ... I am happy—yes, happy!”

from The Eye

Dennis Lehane

“Happiness doesn't lie in conspicuous consumption and the relentless amassing of useless crap. Happiness lies in the person sitting beside you and your ability to talk to them. Happiness is clear-headed human interaction and empathy. Happiness is home. 

Alice Walker

"Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself."

Thomas Hardy

“Happiness is but a mere episode in the general drama of pain.” 

from The Mayor of Casterbridge

Evelyn Waugh

“I should like to bury something precious in every place where I've been happy and then, when I'm old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.” 

from Brideshead Revisited

J.M. Barrie

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

Nick Hornby

“Maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as mere consequence we can never feel merely content: we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heels happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship.” 

from High Fidelity

Edgar Allan Poe

“It is a happiness to wonder; -- it is a happiness to dream.” 

from Morella

Cormac McCarthy

"I think by the time you're grown you're as happy as you're goin to be. You'll have good times and bad times, but in the end you'll be about as happy as you was before. Or as unhappy. I've knowed people that just never did get the hang of it."

from No Country for Old Men