In his famous 1943 paper, Abraham Maslow suggested that we have basic needs such as food and shelter. Once those needs have been met, we have psychological needs, self-actualization needs, etc. If you Google Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, you will get about 4,530,000 results in 0.12 seconds and can learn much more about this.
My basic needs are quite well met. I am well-fed and sheltered. I have wonderful family and friends. All that is good. But lately, I've been thinking about what makes one day happier than another. For example, on Thursday, after an endless series of gloomy, damp, typical November days, the sun shone brilliantly. I could feel my happiness meter going up. On a scale of 1(miserable) to100(ecstatic), I went from about 75-85 when the clouds vanished.
Clouds giving way to sun gives me a feeling of well-being. The following also favorably affect my happiness score:
A really good night's sleep
A productive day at work
A call from one of our children
A call from one of our children who sounds happy
A dish of Starbucks coffee ice cream
Professor Maslow would probably turn over in his grave if he heard that Starbuck's Coffee Ice Cream topped my hierarchy of needs.