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41 Inspiring Happiness Quotes to Brighten Your Day

Happiness is a practice, not just a feeling

Inspiring Happiness Quotes

Start your day with a smile

The secret to happiness is one of the most elusive questions of all time. Everybody wants to know how to be happy, but the truth is that life will always have up and downs, and nobody can be happy all the time. The true secret is finding things to appreciate in everyday life. You can always make small changes to be happier at home, or work to spread joy and kindness to others.

But sometimes when life has you down, it takes the wisdom of inspirational quotes to pick you back up again. From smile quotes to gratitude quotes, a well-timed reminder of the good things in life can be all you need. Ahead, we’ve rounded up our favorite happiness quotes that always help us approach the day with a smile.

The Dalai Lama Happiness

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” —The Dalai Lama

These kindness quotes can inspire you to be more compassionate in everyday life.

Brad Pitt Happiness

“I think happiness is overrated. Satisfied, at peace—those would be more realistic goals.” —Brad Pitt, actor

Though we can’t always be happy, it’s easy to work small moments of joy into everyday life.

John Barrowman Happiness

“I’ve always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their routines if they burst into song at significant moments.” —John Barrowman, actor

He might agree that karaoke is the secret to happiness!

Joan Rivers Happiness

“People say that money isn’t the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.” —Joan Rivers, comedian

For more laughter in your day, check out some of the funniest quotes we know of.

Gretchen Rubin Happiness

“I think self-knowledge is a key to happiness. We can build happy lives only on the foundation of our own natures, our own values and our own interests.” —Gretchen Rubin, author

These quotes about being yourself are a great first step to being truly happy in your own skin.

J.K. Rowling Happiness

“Personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications are not your life.” —J.K. Rowling, novelist

J.K. Rowling is a Leo; find out her (and your!) inspirational quote by zodiac sign!

Stephen Fry Happiness

“Stop feeling sorry for yourself and you will be happy.” —Stephen Fry, actor and writer

These are some great ways to practice gratitude so you can be thankful for all you have.

Marianne Williamson Happiness

“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called ‘All the things that could go wrong.'” —Marianne Williamson, spiritual teacher

These other kids quotes will give you hope for the next generation.

Paul Simon Happiness

“I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.” —Paul Simon, musician

If you need a little help cracking a smile, these short jokes might do the trick.

The Dalai Lama Happiness

“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.” —The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama’s wise words are a good way to get perspective on life and practice everyday happiness.

Sarah Mclachlan Happiness

“Happiness is like a cloud—if you stare at it long enough, it evaporates.” —Sarah McLachlan, musician

Harrison Ford Happiness

“I often surprise myself by saying, ‘Wow, this is it. I guess I’m happy. I got a home I love. A career that I love. I’m even feeling more and more at peace with myself.’ If there’s something else to happiness, let me know. I’m ambitious for that too.” —Harrison Ford, actor

Keira Knightley Happiness

“Be happy in your body. It’s the only one you’ve got, so you might as well like it.” —Keira Knightley, actress

We love reading these body positivity quotes to help practice self-love.

Steven Kloves Happiness

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” —Steven Kloves, screenwriter

Daniel Gilbert Happiness

“The good news is that going blind is not going to make you as unhappy as you think it will. The bad news is that winning the lottery will not make you as happy as you expect.” —Daniel Gilbert, social psychologist

Leslie Caron Happiness

“In order to have great happiness, you have to have great pain and unhappiness—otherwise, how would you know when you’re happy?” —Leslie Caron, actress and dancer

No one can be happy all the time, and that’s OK. These broken heart quotes are there for you when you can’t smile.

Audrey Niffenegger Happiness

“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?” —Audrey Niffenegger, writer

Ann Brashares Happiness

“Maybe happiness didn’t have to be about the big sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place. Maybe it was about stringing together a bunch of small pleasures.” —Ann Brashares, author

Joanne Harris Happiness

“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” —Joanne Harris, author

These strength quotes will help you hold on through all the bittersweetness.

Jodi Picoult Happiness

“A mathematical formula for happiness: reality divided by expectations. There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectations.” —Jodi Picoult, author

Steve Maraboli Happiness

“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” —Steve Maraboli, speaker and author

Lauren Oliver Happiness

“You can’t be really happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes.” —Lauren Oliver, author

These other wise quotes have more great advice for a balanced life.

Russell Baker Happiness

“A solved problem creates two new problems, and the best prescription for happy living is not to solve any more problems.” —Russell Baker, humorist

Rita Mae Brown Happiness

“One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.” —Rita Mae Brown, feminist author

Richard Bach Happiness

“If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem.” —Richard Bach, author

These time quotes will remind you that life is too short to put others in charge of your happiness.

Carrie Underwood Happiness

“Every day is a new day, and you’ll never be able to find happiness if you don’t move on.” —Carrie Underwood, singer

Lao Tzu Happiness

“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher

Alan Cohen Happiness

“You cannot judge what should bring others joy, and others cannot judge what should bring you joy.” Alan Cohen, author

For some, that may be cute puppies, but others might think plants are the new pets. Whatever your joy, let these quotes about happiness remind you to chase it!

Audrey Hepburn Happiness
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy. It’s all that matters.” —Audrey Hepburn​, actress
Leo Tolstoy Happiness

“If you want to be happy, be.” —Leo Tolstoy, author

Sometimes the best happiness quotes are short and simple!

Albert Camus Happiness

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” —Albert Camus, author

Reframing your thoughts can change your life; these happy quotes are just the first step!

Marcel Proust Happiness

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust, author

J.R.R. Tolkien Happiness

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” —J.R.R. Tolkien, author

If you love literature, see how many of these book quotes you recognize.

Goldie Hawn Happiness

“The only thing that will make you happy is being happy with who you are.” —Goldie Hawn​​, actress

(But these happiness quotes will help too.)

Lilly Pulitzer Happiness

“Being happy never goes out of style.” Lilly Pulitzer​, fashion designer

Winnie the Pooh Happiness

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” Winnie the Pooh

The lovable bear always has some of the best happy quotes for the day ahead.

Bob Ross Happiness

“Beauty is everywhere. You only have to look to see it.” —Bob Ross, painter

We love Bob Ross’s many happy sayings!

Oprah Winfrey Happiness

“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” —Oprah Winfrey, talk show host

Buddha Happiness

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” —Buddha

These karma quotes show the importance of using your life to spread kindness.

Margaret Lee Runbeck Happiness

“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” —Margaret Lee Runbeck, author

Happiness quotes can make the journey a little easier.

Stephen Chbosky Happiness

“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.” —Stephen Chbosky, writer

We hope these quotes on happiness brightened your day!

Sarah Vincent
Sarah Vincent is an assistant editor for Reader’s Digest, covering digital lifestyle stories. She has also worked as a culture journalist, and you can find her published in America, National Catholic Reporter and Sojourners. In her free time, she loves crafting, cooking, traveling and learning (or forgetting!) Japanese.