The student news site of Hollis Brookline High School

The CavChron

The student news site of Hollis Brookline High School

The CavChron

The student news site of Hollis Brookline High School

The CavChron

Happiness Is All Around Us

Mason Marshall
HBHS students stand smiling. In looking around the school, you begin to notice that happiness is all around us.

Roaming our familiar school, my senses act almost like a sweeping net, capturing the building around me. My eyes wander, avoiding the artificially blinding light coming from the ceiling by glancing at the speckled, multi-colored floor tiles. Looking up quickly, my eyes find familiarity in the comforting feeling of the royal blue lockers, reminding me of our Cavalier mascot. Although school has ended for the day, students continue to meander through the halls, working hard to prepare for Spirit Week. Amidst everything, laughter and smiles can be noticed in the student body.

Happiness. An almost unexplainable feeling or emotion or mood. Such a broad word, “happiness” makes teenagers think of a plethora of things. For Anuhya Chilakapati ‘25, it is about the simple stuff including “[her] friends, the sun, rainbows, and puppies.” Others relate the word to the generic yellow smiley face.  In the case of Xavier Lindsey ‘25, the word resonates with him as a particular feeling: “I think of a time where I am at ease, where I feel comfortable, the world seems okay for a moment and I take time to rest.”

I think of a time where I am at ease, where I feel comfortable, the world seems okay for a moment and I take time to rest.

— Xavier Lindsey

Many also connect the word to the friends and family that surround them. “It makes me think of my family and everything that I do for them,” said Jaegar Mann ‘26.

Overwhelmingly, HBHS students connected happiness with the sun. This yellow-glowing, celestial body provides warmth and light not only for our planet but also within ourselves. Scientifically, exposure to sunlight leads to the release of serotonin in our brains, causing a boosted mood. On a simpler note, sunlight can just make us feel better. “Every time I wake up with the sun shining on my face, I’m in such a better mood,” explained Kate Berrigan ‘25. On the opposite spectrum, Caroline Crawford ‘26 was able to experience one of her happiest moments in the absence of the sun. Detailing a family hike up Mt. Madison to an overnight hut, Crawford enjoyed her favorite memory outside, watching the stars and northern lights. Through drastically different connections with nature, Berrigan and Crawford were able to experience enjoyment.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Chiquo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Psychologically speaking, an individual’s happiness is influenced by an almost pyramid system known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. “In order for someone to reach their best, their full potential, which includes happiness, they need to have a lot of things come before that,” said HBHS Psychologist Eric Penniman. At the bottom of the hierarchy rests the physiological needs and safety, encompassing everything from water to health. Continuing up is love and belonging which highlights the necessity for connections with friends and family. Next is self-esteem, which includes confidence and achievement. Finally, the top is labeled as self-actualization, consisting of having a meaning and purpose in life. Everything within this hierarchy has an impact on the overall happiness of an individual. “Those basic needs that people have can affect their happiness and what they see in the world around them can affect their happiness too,” said Penniman.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains why a fundamental action like eating can create joy among students. “[Eating] brings me happiness every time I take a bite,” said Kirti Das ‘25. For Berrigan, she was able to find joy through a hazelnut, chocolate-covered vanilla popsicle she ate before bed. Acting as a physiological need, Das and Berrigan were able to be happy by fulfilling their hunger.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can also explain why students were able to find happiness by spending time with the people they love. Describing a summer trip to the beach with her friends,  “it was a good time because we all got to catch up and have a little picnic,” said Ashley Disco ‘26. Lindsey experiences happiness by finding his own “school outside of school” in extracurricular activities. “I feel like I have a community that I can talk to and share my thoughts with,” said Lindsey.  Through these connections, Lindsey and Disco can fulfill their need for love and belonging.

Now, on my way home from school, a smile quickly forms across my face. Every story that students shared highlighted a unique manner in which they found their own form of happiness. In hearing their perspectives, I found my own form of happiness. This can be explained by the influence an individual’s surroundings and environment have on their happiness. “When people see positive things happening around them, it makes them feel safe and then in turn feel happy,” said Penniman.

Keeping this in mind, I am introducing my new monthly column, the HBHS Happiness Journal.

Entry 1: Author’s Note

Through this monthly column, I will feature a wide variety of students and the unique ways in which they find happiness. Evidently, this can be anything from eating, to a meaningful hike, to the sun. I hope to cover it all. In no way is this a “how to be happy” manual. In fact, Nature Human Behavior found that more than 95% of experiments on three common happiness methods—spending time in nature, exercise and engaging in mindfulness/meditation— did not hold up to showing significant physiological effects. There is no true answer to the best way to be happy. Instead, everyone experiences happiness in their own way. I aim to capture these stories of joy, in hopes that you notice that happiness is all around us.

Welcome to the HBHS Happiness Journal.

Smiling widely, 

Mason Marshall

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About the Contributor
Mason Marshall
Mason Marshall, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Mason Marshall ‘25 is a first-year journalism student and is ready to conquer the world of reporting all things news for CavChron!  He is interested in incorporating a wide range of opinions through interviewing lots of people in the HB community.  In 2024, Mason begins his new monthly column, HBHS Happiness Journal, in hopes of highlighting joy and positivity in the community. When he’s not being a STEM-wizz in the HBHS Science Olympiad and Math Teams, Mason loves to race down the slope on the HBHS Alpine Ski Team.  Anytime it snows, you are bound to catch him somewhere on the mountain chasing the powder.  Mason is also an avid lover of all things National Parks and outdoors, so sun or snow he will likely be on some form of trail.  He also loves supporting the local community through his involvement as the HBHS Red Cross Club Vice President.  Fun fact: Mason has donated his blood!    Awards: Best of SNO: Conan Gray Finds New Sound with ‘Found Heaven’
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