Fun and Happiness: Are There Any Differences?

The difference between fun and happiness is immense. Yet, we often confuse them and pursue activities that seem fun, thinking how they’ll lead us to overall mental and emotional clarity. From binge-drinking and watching TV to eating fast food and doing nothing all day, these are all red herrings on our path to happiness.


However, all these due have a certain fun value, and we shouldn’t disregard them. We should, instead, understand how fun times differ from being truly happy, and we’ll, in turn, navigate the sea of life with more clarity.


But don’t despair — there’s no need to worry if this seems complicated. That’s why we’re here, after all. In the following few paragraphs, we’ll explain everything, and we’ll hopefully bring you one step closer to both fun and happiness.

Defining Happiness

It might seem like an odd question, but what is happiness? How do we define this word, and why is it so important to us? Well, let’s first see what the English dictionary says. After you turn a couple of pages and find words that start with the letter H, you’ll see that happiness stands for the state of being happy.


Not quite what we were looking for, is it? Well, let’s see what it says about the word “happy.” Yep! This is more helpful — happy stands for feeling pleasure and contentment. We can, therefore, say that happiness and being happy are not traits but states that are not long-lasting and can change from time to time.

Nevertheless, even if the English dictionary might help us to some extent, it can’t settle the age-old debate of what happiness stands for. It depends from one person to another, as it’s completely subjective. One might find happiness in doing one thing, while someone else might find it in doing something else.

Actions That Make People Happy

It’s no secret that some folks are always upbeat, no matter what. Their private life might be falling apart, they might lose their job, but they’re still happy. But how do they do it? What’s their secret? Well, there are certain activities that one can pursue to experience happiness almost every day. Here are some of them.


  • Gratitude: The simplest way to start your path towards happiness is to start being thankful every day. Once you wake in the morning, spend some time recalling the simple things that make life good. From having a place to sleep to having food on the table, it doesn’t matter. Any of those can find their place in your gratitude diary.


  • Exercise: There are three simple reasons why exercising can lead you towards happiness. Firstly, our bodies were designed to move, so physical exercise is key to feeling good. On the other hand, it reduces stress, which is key on the road to being happy. And lastly, exercise releases happy hormones like dopamine and oxytocin.


  • Enough sleep: We’ve already mentioned stress, but it doesn’t just come from a bad day at work or a failing relationship. Stress comes about due to lack of rest, too, and it affects your happiness level greatly. As such, you should look forward to a good night’s rest each day, and you’ll surprise yourself with how much happier you’ll be.

What Does It Mean to Have Fun?

Now that we’ve defined overall happiness to some extent, let’s delve into fun. Like the previous term, we can look up the meaning of the word in the English dictionary. It says that fun is a form of amusement that is lively and playful. In other words, fun is something that doesn’t have to do anything with being serious.


But does that mean that fun is bad? Does the lack of seriousness mean it’s pointless in the end? Well, it’s not like that at all. Having a fun time has a lot to do with playing around, sure. But, that does not have to make everything pointless. 


Activities that lead to fun are enjoyable and amusing, but they don’t last very long. Unlike the pursuit of happiness, which is something on a long-term basis, fun comes around every so often but doesn’t have any long-term impact.

Activities That People Consider Fun

There are numerous things we do to have a fun and enjoyable time, but it is most often hobbies and traveling that people mention first, and it is usually such things that lead to happiness, too.


  • Hobbies: Most people have hobbies. From this to that, it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as it provides us with a reasonable amount of fun daily or weekly. It can be sports, cooking, collecting, gaming, etc. Either way, it’s a simple way to spice up your life and take a break from private or professional problems we all endure.


  • Traveling: Nowadays, more and more people opt to travel across the country or abroad. Due to cheap options of transport, we can check out the farthest parts of our planet and have a great time. From enjoying new, unique cultures to sunbathing or skiing, it all comes down to great fun in the end.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve distinguished both of these emotional states, we should outline what sets them apart. Namely, both fun and happiness are positive concepts that have a great impact on our mental health. There’s no doubt about that, really. Nevertheless, one focuses on long-term effects and the other on short-term.


It takes time and patience to achieve higher levels of happiness. Some people, unfortunately, never reach it. On the flip side, others have it in front of them the whole time but just can’t see it. Either way, happiness resembles overall life satisfaction, lasts longer than fun, and is harder to come across.


When it comes to fun, it’s a temporary boost of oxytocin and other happy hormones. We come across it by doing certain activities and often confuse it with greater happiness. However, it’s still something all of us should strive for. Be it this or that — it doesn’t matter. The only thing that is of value is to pave the way and finally achieve happiness.