Happy Friday – Happiness Buttons

Please welcome back Mama PoP with the first Happy Friday post of 2014.

Z knows just what buttons to push for Mama PoP.

Z knows just what buttons to push for Mama PoP.

“They’re just pushing your buttons.” At least, that’s what we tell ourselves when someone is teasing or deliberately irritating in order to get a reaction. So a “button”, in this context, refers to those pet peeves or irritants that are generally known to our family and friends. We all have them, of course.

Someone who wanted to push my buttons might describe education as an utter waste of time. Given the right circumstances, I would probably engage in a heated debate about that kind of statement, thus providing some entertainment for the irritator initiator.

But, What About Happiness Buttons?

A happiness button is simply something that makes you happy. Here I’m not talking about the generic “Happiness Button” discussed by Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert). Real happiness buttons are specific to each person.

Have you ever stopped to think about exactly who or what makes you happy?

As I write this, my cat is lying tummy-up on my lap, purring his little heart out and occasionally reaching up to gently pat my face with his paws. Clearly, he is a past master at recognizing a happiness button and pushing it! We all have lots of happiness buttons, but after doing some limited “research” I have determined that there is a lack of knowledge concerning what happiness buttons are and how to activate them.

Papa PoP gets up early every morning and delivers a cup of hot tea to me while I am in bed and waking slowly. He’s done this for 37+ years because he knows that it makes me happy. Mr. PoP called me this morning and invited me out for coffee – just the two of us – this is obviously something that would warm any mother’s heart. My sister called earlier today just to say “Hi.” I could go on and on with all of the things that happen in a day to push my happiness buttons, and I am so grateful for all of them.

But What About Making Other People Happy?

My “research” demonstrated that I can name lots of things that people do for me that really make me happy, but I wasn’t as good at putting my finger on the specific things that I can do to push other people’s happiness buttons. I started asking everyone for ideas and it was quite enlightening!

For one person, it was an email joke that showed that I was thinking of her. For someone else, it was the cookies that I baked and shared. Other friends enjoyed a special shopping trip that I suggested. Papa Pop values the help I always give him when he has computer problems.

One of the major tenants of happiness research is that we become happier when we make others happy. By deliberately identifying and pushing the happiness buttons of those with whom we interact, we can not only make them happy but enhance our own happiness, too. Your action research (should you decide to take the challenge) is to discover the happiness buttons in the people you love and make sure that you push them frequently. You will be happier for it!


Note from Mrs PoP – Kitty PoP has found my happiness/his food button can be reached by sitting behind me on the couch, purring in my ear and gently massaging my shoulder. It’s mutually beneficial, happiness-wise. I get my cuddle, and – if mealtime is near – Kitty PoP gets a scoop of kibble.


What happiness buttons have you found that you regularly push in others? Or that they push in you?

23 comments to Happy Friday – Happiness Buttons

  • I love happiness research! It makes me feel better about the world to know that the best way to increase our own happiness is to make those around us happy. I guess I’ll have to try and make my friends and coworkers happy today to see how it goes.
    Cash Rebel recently posted..2013, a year for progressMy Profile

    • Mama PoP

      Dear Cash,

      Thanks for your comment – it gave me joy! I think that pretty much everyone who writes blog posts has a happiness button that is activated when a reader takes a minute to write a response. Have the happiest day :-)!

  • Aww, I love this post!! I’m a pleaser by nature, so I like to do things as ‘mini-surprises’ for people, whether it’s sending them a care package of cookies just because or making breakfast for them when they’ve just had a baby (apparently, I’m very food-centric, as well ;)). That is *so* sweet about your husband making you tea! My fiance is incredibly handy around the house, and tends to fix things without me asking or that I didn’t really consider broken – that for sure hits my happiness button! :)
    anna recently posted..Confessions of a Somewhat-Procastinating Early Bird with a Love-Hate Fitness RelationshipMy Profile

    • Mama PoP

      I agree Anna, surprise “fixes” are the best! Papa PoP does lots of fixing around the house and he seems to really enjoy it. So, I am happier just seeing him have fun. Now, if only I could begin to enjoy cleaning the house as much as he seems to enjoy fixing things around the house…

  • Great tip, Mama Pop. I don’t spend nearly enough focusing on others’ happiness. Seems like a no brainer, and a win win.
    Done by Forty recently posted..Mindless AccumulationMy Profile

  • Mama PoP

    I think that as we become so busy with the chores of daily living/working we can lose that focus. I am trying to incorporate more of the button-pushing into my regular routines so that even when I am really busy I will remember to do those extras that make other people happier. It doesn’t have to take much time or thought once it is a routine.

  • Anne

    Nice post, and a good reminder that it’s important to help the ones you love be happy. I know me cooking makes M happy, and scheduling time with my mom I’m sure pushes her happiness button. I think it’s also important to know how to push your own happiness button, for instance my niece grinning pushes my happiness button, so I have a picture of just that as my computer background at work- it forces me to smile each morning, even if I haven’t had my tea yet 😉

    • Mama PoP

      Hi Anne,

      That’s a great point – we can keep reminders of happy moments in places we are bound to see them! I know it sounds silly, but I keep pictures in Pinterest simply because they make me happy – they are very available to me no matter where in the world I am.

  • Squeal! I love this. OK calm down Tonya. I think it’s so easy to cut someone up or bring them down based on what you know about them and pushing that button. But why not just, like you said, push that happiness button. I love when a reader personally emails me to say something nice about my blog. They took the time out of their day to say that. Even if I just reached ONE person out there in the world with what I write, it makes me feel so good. I’m trying to make a point to really, truly, genuinely be happy for other people, even if they sometimes get what I really want: money, engaged, a new house, a job promotion. Because everyone struggles with something, and everyone deserves to be congratulated when something good happens to them. It so easy to make someone’s day just by being kind to them!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..Ramblings and Link LoveMy Profile

  • CincyCat

    Someone once told me, “if you don’t want people to get your goat, don’t let them know where you’ve tied it.” :)

    • Mama PoP

      I love that saying – it’s so true. “Catching more flies with honey than vinegar” works best for me…that and “never let them see you sweat”! Maybe if we are busy pushing happiness buttons we won’t have time for the negatives?

  • I absolutely love this post. It’s also amazing how much the little things make such a big difference. I see some Happiness projects in my future.
    Michelle recently posted..Side Hustles 101My Profile

    • Mama PoP

      Mr. PoP has been reading this whole topic and wants me to say that the happiness button notion is nothing more than “enlightened self-interest.” In fact, he has a point. Right on top of his head! No, seriously, as Done by Forty pointed out, it is really a no-brainer and a win-win. But, if we don’t attend to looking for opportunities to push others’ happiness buttons, time gets away from us and happiness is unrealized. As you said, the little things make such a big difference.
      PS: I really enjoyed reading about your Side Hustles – you are very enterprising and that is wonderful!

      • Mama PoP

        Oh, dear. I meant to say “Papa PoP” in the above comment, not Mr. PoP. Papa PoP is a “lurker” on this site who has yet to post anything. I imagine that Mr. PoP might have made the same point, however!

  • When I first started blogging having my first comments made me happy. You know how much work writing can be and when people really enjoy a post or share it with others. Also when my wife scratches my back without complaining.
    Charles@Gettingarichlife recently posted..Why Do You Choose Material Items Over Your Loved Ones?My Profile

  • I’ve honestly never even thought about the concept of happiness buttons. What an interesting idea! I definitely want to work on pushing other people’s happiness buttons and making people happy more often.

  • […] I love this post from Mama POP at Planting Our Pennies!  Happy Friday – Happiness Buttons. […]

  • I love the idea of having a happiness button. I can think of a bunch of things even just today, flannel sheets on the bed, sunshine for the first time in a few days, wagging tail meeting me at the door when I got home, perfectly salted tortilla chips after a long day.
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..Sick and Tired of Being Sick and TiredMy Profile

    • Mama PoP

      Dear KK,

      It is fun to think about what makes us happy – I think it really contributes to our overall happiness to be grateful for everyday things. Additionally, what is working for me is to focus on doing some of the things that Papa PoP told me he really likes.