Updated: Mar 15
Do you know how to define happiness? Do you think happiness is the same thing to you as it is to others?
What’s the point of it all?
Does it even make a difference in our lives? In fact, happiness does have a pretty important role in our lives, and it can have a huge impact on the way we live our lives. Although researchers have yet to pin down the definition or an agreed-upon framework for happiness, there’s a lot we have learned in the last few decades.Is It Difficult to Define Scientifically? With so many takes on happiness, it’s no wonder that happiness is a little difficult to define scientifically; there is certainly disagreement about what, exactly, happiness is.According to researchers Chu Kim-Prieto, Ed Diener, and their colleagues (2005), there are three main ways that happiness has been approached in positive psychology:
Happiness as a global assessment of life and all its facets;
Happiness as a recollection of past emotional experiences;
Happiness as an aggregation of multiple emotional reactions across time (Kim-Prieto, Diener, Tamir, Scollon, & Diener, 2005).
Although they generally all agree on what happiness feels like—being satisfied with life, in a good mood, feeling positive emotions, feeling enjoyment, etc.—researchers have found it difficult to agree on the scope of happiness.There are many different theories of happiness, but they generally fall into one of two categories based on how they conceptualize happiness (or well-being):
Hedonic happiness/well-being is happiness conceptualized as experiencing more pleasure and less pain; it is composed of an affective component (high positive affect and low negative affect) and a cognitive component (satisfaction with one’s life);
Eudaimonic happiness/well-being conceptualizes happiness as the result of the pursuit and attainment of life purpose, meaning, challenge, and personal growth; happiness is based on reaching one’s full potential and operating at full functioning (AIPC, 2011).
Some theories see happiness as a by-product of other, more important pursuits in life, while others see happiness as the end-goal for humans. Some theories state that pursuing happiness is pointless (although pursuing other important experiences and feelings may contribute to greater happiness), and some assume that happiness can be purposefully increased or enhanced.Although they differ on the specifics, these theories generally agree on a few points:It’s good to be happy, and people like being happy;Happiness is neither a totally fleeting, momentary experience nor a stable, long-term trait;At least some portion of our happiness is set by our genetics, but the amount varies from about 10% up to 50%;The pursuit and attainment of pleasure will rarely lead to happiness;There are many sources that contribute to or compose happiness (AIPC, 2011).
What I think of happiness…
All this said, and now that we know what happiness means according to science, let’s not forget why it seems so hard to find happiness. One of the reasons is certainly that we have the urge to think happiness is only for the rich and famous. But as long as we keep on thinking that, we will have a hard time finding happiness and our prophecy becomes reality.
If you want happiness, you’ll have to start thinking you can have it, no matter your age, gender, work, financial status, sexual orientation etc. Believing in it, will open the possibilities of getting it. But rest a sure it won’t come easy. For you to become happy you’ll probably have to get out of your comfort zone.So don’t wait until happiness comes all by it self. Meet people, take initiative, change your inviroment and you will likely strike happiness. Sitting at home watching Netflix won’t help. Take action, persue your passion and happiness is just around the corner.