The term “happy hour” brings to mind thoughts of cheap drinks, a stop-off on the way home from work, an ending to a long day or perhaps the beginning of a night out.

Happy hour is a transition.

At the end of the work day, busy people often seek a way to decompress. A transition from the demands of work can be beneficial before returning to home life. It is a far better alternative to its less popular brother — rush hour.

Happy hour is a time to forget your troubles.

Forget about work. Forget about the mess you left in your apartment this morning (that will still be waiting for you when you get home). Forget about whatever troubles you and enjoy that $2 beer and nachos.

“I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour, but heaven knows I’m miserable now.”

Morrissey

Happy hour is a time to hang out with friends.

Happy hour can also function as a warmup. When preparing for a night out with friends, happy hour is a good place to start. Pick a favorite spot and stick to it. Meet up with friends there at the same time each week. Establish some worthwhile habits, like sticking with the same bar until everybody knows your name.

Happy hour is a chance to meet new people.

In addition to hanging out with old friends, happy hour can be a good opportunity to meet new people. Chris Thomas, Jacksonville musician and leader of The Chris Thomas Band, says he sees happy hour as a great time to network. “Happy hour for me is to meet new people, network, if you will,” Thomas said. “Connecting that way, I find, allows people to feel more comfortable than the traditional networking format, which certainly has its benefits.”

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Happy hour is about community.

Happy hour traditionally takes place in a public setting with others while consuming alcohol, which makes it a communal activity. Alcohol can be the grease in the wheels that makes people open up, forget the troubles of the day, loosen their inhibitions and perhaps express their true selves.

“It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety.”Thomas de Quincy

In his book, “What are You Hungry For?, author and alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra said, “People who report that they are happy have a common trait: they actively connect with friends and loved ones for an hour or two a day.” For Kurtis Loftus, the force behind Deck the Chairs and founder of The Kurtis Group in Jacksonville Beach, happy hour is a time to take a break from being an adult all day.

“I am extremely fortunate that my grandson Stephen is just 15 minutes away for some legit happy hour time,” he said. “What I dig about this happy hour is the fun is about as honest as I ever experienced. I always paid attention to my inner child. The world can easily bury the joy. Mine is alive and well.”

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Happy hour is a mindset.

W.C. Fields, a comedian, actor, and serious drinker during the 1930s and ‘40s, was once quoted as saying, “Why limit happy to an hour?” Happy hour doesn’t have to be restricted to the hours of 5 to 7. Rather, it can be a habit where one pauses daily to connect with others, to either reflect on the day or forget about the day and relax.

Many people who’ve chosen to live here at the beach would tell you that an hour can’t be happy unless your feet are in the sand.

Others would say the best hour is spent on their boards, waiting for a wave. Local surfing hero Terry DeLoach said, “A very happy hour for me would be 30 minutes surfing fun, warm water waves, and then coming in and spending the next 30 minutes on the beach with my wife, Karen, and my dog, Baxter.” For most of us, our happiest hour is spent doing something we love. Winston Churchill, an accomplished horseman as well as a famous statesman, once said, “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.”

In the end, spending any hour doing what makes you happiest can make any hour, a happy hour.