How to Describe Happiness in Writing: A Master List for Writers

When you’re trying to think of how to express happiness in a sentence, it’s easy to draw a blank. That’s why I’m sharing this list of ways to describe happiness, excitement, and joy. I hope these happy phrases help with your novel, story, or whatever you’re writing!

When I shared my Master List of Ways to Describe Anger the other week, on my Facebook author page, one person told me she expected a paywall when she clicked. That was a pretty nice compliment! It’s true that I’m probably going to include several lists about how to describe emotions and feelings in the next edition of my book Master Lists for Writers. But for now, since you’re subscribed to my blog or found your way there, you can get a few of those lists for free.

Most of the time, you can express emotions through internal monologue, dialogue, and actions. Once in a while, though, you run into the need to describe the feeling in the point of view of your character.

There are really infinite ways to convey emotion in writing. I have 100 ways here to describe happiness, joy, contentment, hope, and gratitude here. They’re not in any particular order — really, it’s just the order that I thought of them. 🙂

They aren’t all going to be ones you use personally, because every writer is different! Chances are, they’ll make you think of even more words and phrases.

Bookmark or pin this list, and you’ll always have it for reference!

How to Describe Happiness in Writing: A Master List for Writers #ways to describe happiness #how to describe happiness in writing #joy #how to express happiness in a sentence #list of excitement phrases #happy phrases

his heart leaped up for joy

he felt a surge of happiness

I was paralyzed with happiness

their mood lifted

she was bursting with joy

he could hardly contain his happiness

his mood lightened

my spirits brightened

hope bloomed inside her

happiness glowed inside him

he felt a sudden flare of joy

I could barely conceal my delight

they were flabbergasted with joy

sunshine flooded her soul

his spirits were flying high

her hopes soared

she felt like her feet barely touched the ground

joy engulfed me

it cheered her soul

joy took hold of him

inside, she was smiling

she almost jumped for joy

happiness overtook him

she took a defiant joy in it

happiness streaked through him like a comet

a quiet contentment spread through him

contentment filled her heart

happiness trembled inside of her

his heart dared to hope

happiness swelled within her

gratitude flowed through her

had she ever been happier in her life?

it elevated his mood

he couldn’t think of a time he’d ever been happier

their joy unfolded like a flower

she felt a glimmer of happiness

he felt dizzy with excitement

joy rushed through me

my happiness was so intense it scared me

he thought he would die of joy

her heart was singing

she felt drunk with happiness

he was intoxicated with joy

his heart throbbed with happiness

she burned with a fierce joy

happiness crept over him

it was almost more happiness than she could take

he knew a profound joy

her happiness grew

I was wild with joy

happiness expanded inside him

they were suffused with happiness

joy sparkled inside her

happiness shimmered inside me

happiness danced through her thoughts

he almost collapsed with happiness

it raised his spirits

it brought my spirits up

contentment warmed her from within

happiness radiated through him

he’d never felt more alive

she felt fully and wonderfully alive

I was filled with joyful energy

she could’ve wept for joy

I wanted to shout for joy

he was weak with gratitude

his heart pounded with happiness

she savored the feeling of contentment

a sudden feeling of happiness surprised him

an unexpected happiness consumed her

happiness made me feel invincible

joy rippled through him

gratitude welled up inside her

he felt a flush of happiness

happiness resonated through him

she was transported with joy

it was almost too much happiness to bear

contentment tiptoed into her heart

he was overcome with happiness

he’d unearthed a greater joy than any he’d ever known

her spirits bounded higher

it brought him a ray of happiness

she felt a whisper of happiness

he felt an inkling of joy

she felt a stab of hope

satisfaction settled in his soul

happiness washed over her

his soul took flight

she felt in love with the whole world

he had no words for the gratitude he felt

she was buzzing with happiness

she felt like she was floating

he was in heaven

she was treasuring every moment

she surrendered to bliss

the weight lifted from my soul

he felt a solemn sense of happiness

joy bubbled up inside of her

his happiness overflowed

my heart almost broke with joy

I’m curious: if you read the whole list straight through, did it make you feel happier? It had that effect on me!

Either way, I hope you’re happy to have the list! And if you’re starting a novel—or working on revising one—check out my book Blank Page to Final Draft. It’s a step-by-step guide to getting to a ready-to-publish manuscript, and it makes it easy to fit writing in to a busy life!

Blank Page to Final Draft by Bryn Donovan ebook free pdf

Thanks for stopping by, and happy writing!

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36 thoughts on “How to Describe Happiness in Writing: A Master List for Writers”

  1. Bryn, your posts are always filled with such awesome information for the reader and writer in all of us! Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy life to do this. And, yes, I was smiling towards the end!

  2. Constance Bretes

    I love these lists. I print them out and use them regularly. They help inspire and find the right words. I use them as a cheat sheet.

  3. I absolutely love your lists. I refer to them all the time when I find myself needing inspiration or repeating too many phrases. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much. I’m so happy that I’ll no longer spend minutes trying to convey a simple emotion and it’s all thanks to you!

  4. I was wondering on Google and I found this!!! Such a lovely article 🌸
    I too write on aintyouliving.blogspot.com from India. Hopefully you’ll find something interesting on my blog.
    Well, love from India ♥️

  5. Hi! I kind of used this in my writing. Thank you so much!

    What I wrote:
    The room erupted in cheers. People were laughing and smiles were everywhere. Thank GOODNESS! I could barely conceal my happiness. Joy and relief welled up inside of me, and I sighed. I let out the deep breath that I had been holding onto for what seemed like a long time. My job here was done and my dream… had come true.

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