Ciara Bottrell


The millennial generation, a generation marked as self-entitled; having to grow up surrounded by social media and still seek happiness on a day to day basis (Park et al., 2014). Social media in many ways makes happiness much more difficult to achieve for the younger generations (Bertoncini & Schmalz 2013). This research aims to explore millennials’ lived experience of happiness from their own perspective. Using photo elicitation, this study aimed to delve into what the modern definitions of happiness are and what makes a millennial happy. Using disposable cameras and semi-structured interviews, an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was conducted to explore the lived experiences of happiness in a millennial generation. Themes were explored; the main ones being escapism, nostalgia, accessibility and acceptance in negativity. These themes were supported by current literature and show that millennials’ happiness is complex and unique to each individual. Even though the participants gain happiness from feeling connected, social media and growing up alongside technology can be overwhelming and the findings from this study suggest that there is a need for escape in order to feel happiness in a fast paced and technologically driven society.