Quotes for teens on life lessons

Quote for teens - 'There's no road to happiness. It's more a winding path through hills and valleys...''

"There’s no road to happiness.
It’s more of a winding path through hills and valleys.
In the end, it’s the journey that matters."

-- Truth Be Told Quotes

Ever notice how obsessed we are with finding happiness? Like there’s a map with turn-by-turn directions to a place called “Happiness.”

Maybe it’d be better to shut off the nav and enjoy some side trips up peaks and down valleys, into joys and sorrows, passing through disappointments and emerging into renewed hopes.

In the end, all those little ups and downs are what keep the journey interesting and keep us growing into our best selves.

Activities for this quote

Teaching resources

Bring this quote into your classroom with a lesson guide and activities that are ready to use.

Quote Overview / Description

Quote about happiness

This quote about happiness helps teens see that emotional ups and downs are a normal part of life. They may have heard the quote that goes something like, “I hope that your life is as good as your worst days on Instagram,” which is to say, the reality people present on social media is usually far more consistently wonderful than real life. People post the highlights and the brags, not the mundane reality.

Ups and downs are normal

This quote about happiness is meant to help teens see that the low points and the sad moments are part of the journey that helps someone grow. Sadness and negative moments are often a part of the experience that is life... and the negative moments usually pass in time.

Sadness vs. Depression

It’s important for teens to be aware of the difference between normal life hills/valleys and depression. When sadness doesn’t pass, it’s ok to ask for help.

Also see the quote, "It's ok to feel bad sometimes."

Discussion questions / Writing Prompts

Questions to prompt discussion, journaling, essays for high school health class and social emotional development lessons:

  1. What is an event in your life that seemed awful at the time, but led to a new happier time?
  2. Have you ever been sad and thought it wouldn’t ever get better? Did it? Why or why not?
  3. What are some things you can do to cheer yourself up when you are sad?
  4. Do you ever wonder when you’ll finally be happy? Is happiness a destination or end point? Can happiness come and go?


Activities and worksheets for teen SEL / high school health and wellness lessons:

  1. Journaling Page / Writing Prompt Activity- Complete a journaling page that explores one's ups and downs of life and encourages reflection on how to recover from difficult times.
  2. Gratitude Journal- Research shows people are happier when they take note of things for which they are thankful. Try this activity on keeping a gratitude journal for one week.
  3. Why so negative? Article- Why do humans tend to focus on the negative? Read this article on negativity bias and list some reasons we tend to be more negative, and some strategies to be more positive.
  4. Lasting Happliness Activity What is the psychological concept of the hedonic treadmill? How does it make us take happiness for granted? How does it protect us from negative events? Try this activity with a video and worksheet on finding lasting happiness.
  5. Resources on sadness and depression Try these resources on the difference between sadness and depression:

Coloring Pages

Download printable coloring pages for a mindfulness activity that features this quote.

  1. Classic coloring page
  2. Hills and Valleys page
  3. Quaint Journeys coloring page

Curriculum Topics

High School Health Class / Social Emotional Development Core Curriculum Alignment:

  • Self awareness and healthy ways of managing natural changes
  • Emotional wellness


  • Life is full of normal ups and downs. It’s ok to be happy sometimes and sad sometimes.
  • There’s a difference between normal emotional flow and clinical depression. Understanding the difference can help you know when to use self-care strategies and when to seek help.

Character Traits/Values

  • Responsibility
  • Perseverance, fortitude
  • Empathy

The quote and opening paragraph of this page are an excerpt from the Book, Truth Be Told Quotes: Teen Edition. Presented with permission from the author, Colleen Doyle Bryant. ©LoveWell Press. Find the print and ebook versions of Truth Be Told Quotes on the Shop page.

Buy the book

Colleen Doyle Bryant

Colleen Doyle Bryant is the author of five books and more than 50 learning resources about making good choices for the right reasons. Her Talking with Trees series for elementary students and Truth Be Told Quotes series for teens are used in curriculums around the world. Rooted in Decency, Colleen's latest release for an adult audience, explores what happened to common decency and how we can get to a place of more cooperation and kindness. Learn more at ColleenDoyleBryant.com.

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