HOME

TheInfoList




The term ''happiness'' is used in the context of
mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi romantic-action movie * ''Mental'', a 2008 documentary by ...

mental
or
emotion Emotions are psychological state A mental state is a state of mind that an agent is in. Most simplistically, a mental state is a mental condition. It is a relation that connects the agent with a proposition. Several of these states are a comb ...

emotion
al states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from
contentment Contentment is an emotional state Emotions are biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise tha ...

contentment
to intense
joy The word joy means the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune, and is typically associated with feelings of intense, long lasting happiness. Distinction vs similar states saw a clear distinction between joy, pleasure Ple ...

joy
. It is also used in the context of
life satisfaction Life satisfaction (LS) is the way in which people show their emotions, feelings (moods) and how they feel about their directions and options for the future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitabl ...
,
subjective well-being Subjective well-being (SWB) is a self-reported measure of well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a ...
,
eudaimonia Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek, Greek: :Wiktionary:εὐδαιμονία, εὐδαιμονία ; sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, ) is a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit', and which is commonl ...
, flourishing and
well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person is what is ultimately good ''for'' this person, what is in the ...
. Since the 1960s, happiness research has been conducted in a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including
gerontology Gerontology is the study of the social, cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, c ...
,
social psychology Social psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern scienc ...

social psychology
and
positive psychology Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living, focusing on both individual and societal well-being. It studies "positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions...it aims t ...
,
clinical Clinical may refer to: Healthcare * Of or about a clinic, a healthcare facility * Of or about the practice of medicine Other uses * Clinical (film), ''Clinical'' (film), a 2017 American horror thriller See also

* * * Clinical chemistry, the ana ...
and
medical research Medical research (or biomedical research), also known as experimental medicine, encompasses a wide array of research, extending from "basic research Basic research, also called pure research or fundamental research, is a type of scientific r ...
and
happiness economics The economics of happiness or happiness economics is the theoretical, qualitative and quantitative study of happiness The term ''happiness'' is used in the context of mental or emotion Emotions are biological states associated with all of ...
.


Definitions

'Happiness' is the subject of debate on usage and meaning, and on possible differences in understanding by culture. The word is mostly used in relation to two factors: * the current experience of the
feeling Feeling was originally used to describe the physical sensation of touch through either experience or perception. The word is also used to describe other experiences, such as "Emotion, a feeling of warmth" and of sentience in general. In psychology ...

feeling
of an emotion (affect) such as
pleasure Pleasure refers to experience that feels good, that involves the enjoyment of something. It contrasts with pain or suffering, which are forms of feeling bad. It is closely related to value, desire and action: humans and other conscious animals ...
or
joy The word joy means the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune, and is typically associated with feelings of intense, long lasting happiness. Distinction vs similar states saw a clear distinction between joy, pleasure Ple ...

joy
, or of a more general sense of 'emotional condition as a whole'. For instance
Daniel Kahneman Daniel Kahneman (; he, דניאל כהנמן; born March 5, 1934) is an Israeli Americans, Israeli-American psychology, psychologist and economist notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, as well as behavioral econ ...

Daniel Kahneman
has defined happiness as "''what I experience here and now''". This usage is prevalent in dictionary definitions of happiness. * appraisal of
life satisfaction Life satisfaction (LS) is the way in which people show their emotions, feelings (moods) and how they feel about their directions and options for the future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitabl ...
, such as of
quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United N ...

quality of life
. For instance
Ruut Veenhoven Ruut Veenhoven (born 1942) is a Dutch sociologist and a pioneer and world authority on the scientific study of happiness, in the sense of subjective enjoyment of life. His work on the social conditions for human happiness at Erasmus University Rott ...
has defined happiness as "''overall appreciation of one's life as-a-whole.''" Kahneman has said that this is more important to people than current experience. Some usages can include both of these factors.
Subjective well-being Subjective well-being (SWB) is a self-reported measure of well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a ...
(swb) includes measures of current experience (emotions, moods, and feelings) and of
life satisfaction Life satisfaction (LS) is the way in which people show their emotions, feelings (moods) and how they feel about their directions and options for the future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitabl ...
.See Subjective well-being#Components of SWB For instance
Sonja Lyubomirsky Sonja Lyubomirsky (born December 14, 1966) is an American professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and author of the bestseller ''The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want' ...
has described happiness as "''the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one's life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.''"
Eudaimonia Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek, Greek: :Wiktionary:εὐδαιμονία, εὐδαιμονία ; sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, ) is a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit', and which is commonl ...
, is a Greek term variously translated as happiness, welfare,
flourishing Flourishing is "when people experience positive emotions, positive psychological functioning and positive social functioning, most of the time," living "within an optimal range of human functioning." It is a descriptor and measure of positive men ...
, and blessedness. Xavier Landes has proposed that happiness include measures of subjective wellbeing, mood and eudaimonia. These differing uses can give different results. For instance the correlation of income levels has been shown to be substantial with
life satisfaction Life satisfaction (LS) is the way in which people show their emotions, feelings (moods) and how they feel about their directions and options for the future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitabl ...
measures, but to be far weaker, at least above a certain threshold, with current experience measures. Whereas Nordic countries often score highest on swb surveys, South American countries score higher on affect-based surveys of current positive life experiencing. The implied meaning of the word may vary depending on context, qualifying happiness as a
polyseme Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple related meanings. Polysemy is thus distinct from homonymy—or homophone, homophony—which is an accidental similarity betwee ...
and a
fuzzy conceptA fuzzy concept is a concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental building blocks of thoughts and belief A belief is an Attitude ...
. A further issue is when measurement is made; appraisal of a level of happiness at the time of the experience may be different from appraisal via memory at a later date. Some users accept these issues, but continue to use the word because of its convening power.


Philosophy


Relation to morality

Philosophy of happiness The philosophy of happiness is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of ...
is often discussed in conjunction with
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...

ethics
. Traditional European societies, inherited from the Greeks and from Christianity, often linked happiness with morality, which was concerned with the performance in a certain kind of role in a certain kind of social life. However, with the rise of individualism, begotten partly by Protestantism and capitalism, the links between duty in a society and happiness were gradually broken. The consequence was a redefinition of the moral terms. Happiness is no longer defined in relation to social life, but in terms of individual psychology. Happiness, however, remains a difficult term for moral philosophy. Throughout the history of moral philosophy, there has been an oscillation between attempts to define morality in terms of consequences leading to happiness and attempts to define morality in terms that have nothing to do with happiness at all.


Aristotle

Aristotle described ''
eudaimonia Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek, Greek: :Wiktionary:εὐδαιμονία, εὐδαιμονία ; sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, ) is a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit', and which is commonl ...
'' (
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
: εὐδαιμονία) as the goal of human thought and action. Eudaimonia is often translated to mean happiness, but some scholars contend that "human flourishing" may be a more accurate translation. Aristotle's use of the term in Nicomachiean Ethics extends beyond the general sense of happiness. In the ''
Nicomachean Ethics The ''Nicomachean Ethics'' (; grc, Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια, ) is the name normally given to 's best-known work on . The work, which plays a role in defining , consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be ...
'', written in 350 BCE,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
stated that happiness (also being well and doing well) is the only thing that humans desire for their own sake, unlike riches, honour, health or friendship. He observed that men sought riches, or honour, or health not only for their own sake but also in order to be happy. For Aristotle the term ''
eudaimonia Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek, Greek: :Wiktionary:εὐδαιμονία, εὐδαιμονία ; sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, ) is a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit', and which is commonl ...
'', which is translated as 'happiness' or 'flourishing' is an activity rather than an emotion or a state. Eudaimonia (Greek: εὐδαιμονία) is a classical Greek word consists of the word "eu" ("good" or "well-being") and "daimōn" ("spirit" or "minor deity", used by extension to mean one's lot or fortune). Thus understood, the happy life is the good life, that is, a life in which a person fulfills human nature in an excellent way. Specifically, Aristotle argued that the good life is the life of excellent rational activity. He arrived at this claim with the "Function Argument". Basically, if it is right, every living thing has a function, that which it uniquely does. For Aristotle human function is to reason, since it is that alone which humans uniquely do. And performing one's function well, or excellently, is good. According to Aristotle, the life of excellent rational activity is the happy life. Aristotle argued a second best life for those incapable of excellent rational activity was the life of moral virtue. The key question Aristotle seeks to answer is "What is the ultimate purpose of human existence?" a lot of people are seeking pleasure, health, and a good reputation. It is true that those have a value, but none of them can occupy the place of the greatest good for which humanity aims. It may seem like all goods are a means to obtain happiness, but Aristotle said that happiness is always an end in itself.


Western ethics

Western
ethicistsAn ethicist is one whose judgment on ethics and ethical codes has come to be trusted by a specific community, and (importantly) is expressed in some way that makes it possible for others to mimic or approximate that judgment. Following the advice of ...

ethicists
have made arguments for how humans should behave, either individually or collectively, based on the resulting happiness of such behavior.
Utilitarian Utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximize happiness and well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically va ...
s, such as
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
and
Jeremy Bentham Jeremy Bentham (; 15 February 1748 Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates">O.S._4_February_1747.html" ;"title="Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.html" ;"title="nowiki/>Old Style and New Style dates">O.S. 4 February 1747">Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.htm ...

Jeremy Bentham
, advocated the
greatest happiness principle John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an List of British philosophers, English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Parliament of the United Kingdom, Member of Parliament, and civil ser ...
as a guide for ethical behavior.


Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, me ...

Friedrich Nietzsche
critiqued the English Utilitarians' focus on attaining the greatest happiness, stating that "Man does not strive for happiness, only the Englishman does." Nietzsche meant that making happiness one's ultimate ''goal'' and the aim of one's existence, in his words "makes one contemptible." Nietzsche instead yearned for a culture that would set higher, more difficult goals than "mere happiness." He introduced the quasi-dystopic figure of the "last man" as a kind of
thought experiment A thought experiment is a hypothetical situation in which a hypothesis A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can t ...
against the utilitarians and happiness-seekers. these small, "last men" who seek after only their own pleasure and health, avoiding all danger, exertion, difficulty, challenge, struggle are meant to seem contemptible to Nietzsche's reader. Nietzsche instead wants us to consider the value of what is difficult, what can only be earned through struggle, difficulty, pain and thus to come to see the affirmative value suffering and ''unhappiness'' truly play in creating everything of great worth in life, including all the highest achievements of human culture, not least of all philosophy.


Changes in focus over time

In 2004 Darrin McMahon claimed, that over time the emphasis shifted from the happiness of virtue to the virtue of happiness.


Culture

Personal happiness aims can be effected by cultural factors. Hedonism appears to be more strongly related to happiness in more individualistic cultures. Cultural views on happiness have changed over time. For instance Western concern about childhood being a time of happiness has occurred only since the 19th century. Not all cultures seek to maximise happiness,See the work of Jeanne TsaiSee Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness#Meaning of "happiness" ref. the meaning of the US Declaration of Independence phrase and some cultures are averse to happiness.


Religion

People in countries with high cultural religiosity tend to relate their life satisfaction less to their emotional experiences than people in more secular countries.


Eastern


Buddhism

Happiness forms a central theme of . For ultimate freedom from
suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is the basic element that makes up the negative valence of affective ...
, the
Noble Eightfold Path The Noble Eightfold Path ( Pali: ; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ...
leads its practitioner to
Nirvana ' ( , , ; sa, निर्वाण} ''nirvāṇa'' ; Pali: ''nibbāna''; Prakrit: ''ṇivvāṇa'', literally "blown out", as in an oil lamp Richard Gombrich, ''Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benāres to Modern Colombo ...
, a state of everlasting peace. Ultimate happiness is only achieved by overcoming craving in all forms. More mundane forms of happiness, such as acquiring wealth and maintaining good friendships, are also recognized as worthy goals for lay people (see ''
sukha ''Sukha'' () means happiness The term ''happiness'' is used in the context of mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film) ...
''). Buddhism also encourages the generation of
loving kindness ''Chesed'' ( he, חֶסֶד, also Romanization of Hebrew, Romanized ''ḥesed'') is a Hebrew language, Hebrew word that means kindness or love between people, specifically of the devotional piety of people towards God as well as of love or mercy of ...
and
compassion Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another and themselves. Compassion is often regarded as having sensitivity, which is an emotional aspect to suffering. Though, when based on cer ...
, the desire for the happiness and welfare of all beings.


Hinduism

In
Advaita Vedanta ''Advaita Vedānta'' (; sa, अद्वैत वेदान्त, IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, ...
, the ultimate goal of life is happiness, in the sense that duality between
Atman Atman may refer to: Religion * Ātman (Jainism), a philosophical term used within Jainism to identify the soul * Ātman (Hinduism) ''Ātman'' (; sa, आत्मन्) is a Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominaliz ...
and
Brahman In Hinduism, ''Brahman'' ( sa, ब्रह्म) connotes the highest universal principle, the ultimate reality ''Ultimate reality'' is "something that is the supreme, final, and fundamental power in all reality". Buddhism In Theravada ...

Brahman
is transcended and one realizes oneself to be the Self in all.
Patanjali ( sa, पतञ्जलि) was a sage in ancient India, thought to be the author of a number of Sanskrit works. The greatest of these are the '' Yoga Sutras'', a classical yoga text. There is doubt as to whether the sage Patañjali is the a ...

Patanjali
, author of the
Yoga Sutras Patañjali Statue (traditional form indicating kundalini or incarnation of Shesha) The ''Yoga Sutras of Patañjali'' is a collection of Sanskrit sutras (aphorisms) on the theory and practice of yoga - 195 sutras (according to Vyasa, Vyāsa an ...
, wrote quite exhaustively on the psychological and ontological roots of bliss.


Confucianism

The Chinese Confucian thinker
Mencius Mencius ( ); born Mèng Kē (); or Mengzi (; 372–289 BC) was a Chinese Confucian , Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's R ...

Mencius
, who had sought to give advice to ruthless political leaders during China's Warring States period, was convinced that the mind played a mediating role between the "lesser self" (the physiological self) and the "greater self" (the moral self), and that getting the priorities right between these two would lead to sage-hood. He argued that if one did not feel satisfaction or pleasure in nourishing one's "vital force" with "righteous deeds", then that force would shrivel up (Mencius, 6A:15 2A:2). More specifically, he mentions the experience of intoxicating joy if one celebrates the practice of the great virtues, especially through music.


Abrahamic


Judaism

Happiness or ''
simcha ''Simcha'' ( he, שִׂמְחָה ; , ) is a Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of th ...
'' ( he, שמחה) in Judaism is considered an important element in the service of God. The biblical verse "worship The Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs," () stresses joy in the service of God. A popular teaching by Rabbi
Nachman of Breslov Nachman of Breslov ( he, נחמן מברסלב), also known as Reb Nachman of Bratslav, Reb Nachman Breslover ( yi, רבי נחמן ברעסלאווער), Nachman from Uman (April 4, 1772 – October 16, 1810), was the founder of the Breslov (Has ...
, a 19th-century Chassidic Rabbi, is "''Mitzvah Gedolah Le'hiyot Besimcha Tamid''," it is a great
mitzvah In its primary meaning, the Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jud ...
(commandment) to always be in a state of happiness. When a person is happy they are much more capable of serving God and going about their daily activities than when depressed or upset.


Roman Catholicism

The primary meaning of "happiness" in various European languages involves good fortune, chance or happening. The meaning in Greek philosophy, however, refers primarily to ethics. In
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
, the ultimate end of human existence consists in felicity, Latin equivalent to the Greek ''
eudaimonia Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek, Greek: :Wiktionary:εὐδαιμονία, εὐδαιμονία ; sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, ) is a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit', and which is commonl ...
'', or "blessed happiness", described by the 13th-century philosopher-theologian
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
as a Beatific Vision of God's essence in the next life. According to and
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
, man's last end is happiness: "all men agree in desiring the last end, which is happiness." However, where utilitarians focused on reasoning about consequences as the primary tool for reaching happiness, Aquinas agreed with Aristotle that happiness cannot be reached solely through reasoning about consequences of acts, but also requires a pursuit of good causes for acts, such as habits according to
virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a fr ...

virtue
. In turn, which habits and acts that normally lead to happiness is according to Aquinas caused by laws:
natural law Natural law ( la, ius naturale, ''lex naturalis'') is a system of law based on a close observation of human nature Human nature is a concept that denotes the fundamental disposition A disposition is a quality of character, a habit A habit (or ...
and
divine law Divine law is any body of law that is perceived as deriving from a Transcendence (religion), transcendent source, such as the will of God or godsin contrast to man-made law or to secular law. According to Angelos Chaniotis and Rudolph F. Peters, di ...
. These laws, in turn, were according to Aquinas caused by a first cause, or God. According to Aquinas, happiness consists in an "operation of the speculative intellect": "Consequently happiness consists principally in such an operation, viz. in the contemplation of Divine things." And, "the last end cannot consist in the active life, which pertains to the practical intellect." So: "Therefore the last and perfect happiness, which we await in the life to come, consists entirely in contemplation. But imperfect happiness, such as can be had here, consists first and principally in contemplation, but secondarily, in an operation of the practical intellect directing human actions and passions." Human complexities, like reason and cognition, can produce well-being or happiness, but such form is limited and transitory. In temporal life, the contemplation of God, the infinitely Beautiful, is the supreme delight of the will. ''Beatitudo'', or perfect happiness, as complete well-being, is to be attained not in this life, but the next.


Islam

Al-Ghazali Al-Ghazali (, ; full name or , ; Latinized Algazelus or Algazel; – 19 December 1111) was a Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the ...

Al-Ghazali
(1058–1111), the Muslim Sufi thinker, wrote " The Alchemy of Happiness", a manual of spiritual instruction throughout the Muslim world and widely practiced today.


Achievement methods

Theories on how to achieve happiness include "encountering unexpected positive events", "seeing a significant other", and "basking in the acceptance and praise of others". However others believe that happiness is not solely derived from external, momentary pleasures.


Self-fulfilment theories


Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs#REDIRECT Maslow's hierarchy of needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, ...

Maslow's hierarchy of needs
is a pyramid depicting the levels of human needs, psychological, and physical. When a human being ascends the steps of the pyramid,
self-actualization Self-actualization, in Maslow's hierarchy of needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconsc ...
is reached. Beyond the routine of needs fulfillment, Maslow envisioned moments of extraordinary experience, known as
peak experiencesA peak experience is an altered state of consciousness An altered state of consciousness (ASC), also called altered state of mind or mind alteration, is any condition which is significantly different from a normal waking state. By 1892, the expres ...
, profound moments of love, understanding, happiness, or rapture, during which a person feels more whole, alive, self-sufficient, and yet a part of the world. This is similar to the
flow Flow may refer to: Science and technology * Flow (fluid) or fluid dynamics, the motion of a gas or liquid * Flow (geomorphology), a type of mass wasting or slope movement in geomorphology * Flow (mathematics), a group action of the real numbers on ...
concept of
Mihály Csíkszentmihályi Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (, hu, Csíkszentmihályi Mihály, ; born 29 September 1934) is a Hungarian-American psychologist. He recognised and named the psychological concept of flow, a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity. He is ...
. The concept of flow is the idea that after our basic needs are met we can achieve greater happiness by altering our consciousness by becoming so engaged in a task that we lose our sense of time. Our intense focus causes us to forget any other issues, which in return promotes positive emotions.


Erich Fromm

said ''"Happiness is the indication that man has found the answer to the problem of human existence: the productive realization of his potentialities and thus, simultaneously, being one with the world and preserving the integrity of his self. In spending his energy productively he increases his powers, he „burns without being consumed.""''


Self-determination theory

Self-determination theory Self-determination theory (SDT) is a macro theory of human motivation and personality that concerns people's inherent growth tendencies and innate psychological needs. It is concerned with the motivation Motivation is what explains why peopl ...
relates
intrinsic motivation Motivation is what explains why people or animals initiate, continue or terminate a certain behavior at a particular time. Motivational states are commonly understood as forces acting within the agent that create a disposition to engage in goal-d ...

intrinsic motivation
to three needs: competence,
autonomy In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions ...

autonomy
, and
relatedness The coefficient of relationship is a measure of the degree of consanguinity (or biological relationship) between two individuals. The term coefficient of relationship was defined by Sewall Wright in 1922, and was derived from his definition of th ...
.


Modernization and freedom of choice

Ronald Inglehart 300px, Inglehart–Welzel cultural map of the world Ronald F. Inglehart (born September 5, 1934) is a political scientist and professor emeritus ''Emeritus'' (; female: ''Emerita''), in its current usage, is an adjective used to designate a r ...
has traced cross-national differences in the level of happiness based on data from the
World Values Survey The World Values Survey (WVS) is a global research project that explores people's values In ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong acti ...
. He finds that the extent to which a society allows free choice has a major impact on happiness. When
basic needs The basic needs approach is one of the major approaches to the measurement of absolute poverty Extreme poverty, deep poverty, abject poverty, absolute poverty, destitution, or penury, is the most severe type of poverty, defined by the United ...

basic needs
are satisfied, the degree of happiness depends on economic and cultural factors that enable free choice in how people live their lives. Happiness also depends on religion in countries where free choice is constrained.


Positive psychology

Since 2000 the field of
positive psychology Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living, focusing on both individual and societal well-being. It studies "positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions...it aims t ...
has expanded drastically in terms of scientific publications, and has produced many different views on causes of happiness, and on factors that correlate with happiness. Numerous short-term self-help interventions have been developed and demonstrated to improve happiness.


Indirect approaches

Various writers, including
Camus Albert Camus ( , ; ; 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature ) , image = Nobel Prize.png , caption = , awarded_for = Outstanding contributions in ...

Camus
and Tolle, have written that the act of searching or seeking for happiness is incompatible with being happy.
John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), also cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, Political economy, political economist, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) and civil servant. One of the most i ...
believed that for the great majority of people happiness is best achieved en passant, rather than striving for it directly. This meant no self-consciousness, scrutiny, self-interrogation, dwelling on, thinking about, imagining or questioning on one's happiness. Then, if otherwise fortunately circumstanced, one would "inhale happiness with the air you breathe."


Natural occurrence

William Inge William Motter Inge (; May 3, 1913 – June 10, 1973) was an American playwright and novelist, whose works typically feature solitary protagonists encumbered with strained sexual relations. In the early 1950s he had a string of memorable Broadw ...
observed that "on the whole, the happiest people seem to be those who have no particular cause for being happy except the fact that they are so." Orison Swett Marden said that "some people are born happy."


Negative effects

June Gruber argued that happiness may have negative effects. It may trigger a person to be more sensitive, more gullible, less successful, and more likely to undertake high risk behaviours. She also conducted studies suggesting that seeking happiness can have negative effects, such as failure to meet over-high expectations. Iris Mauss has shown that the more people strive for happiness, the more likely they will set up too high of standards and feel disappointed.


Limits

The idea of motivational hedonism is the theory that pleasure is the aim for human life.  However, according to impact bias, people are poor predictors of their future emotions. Therefore, can happiness be sought after and pain be avoided, if it is considered to be unpredictable and unsustainable?
Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud ( , ; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist Neurology (from el, νεῦρον (neûron), "string, nerve" and the suffix -logia, "study of") is a branch of medicine M ...

Sigmund Freud
said that all humans strive after happiness, but that the possibilities of achieving it are restricted because we "are so made that we can derive intense enjoyment only from a contrast and very little from the state of things."


Pursuit

Not all cultures seek to maximise happiness. It has been found in Western cultures that individual happiness is the most important. However, other cultures have opposite views and tend to be aversive to the idea of individual happiness. For example, people living in Eastern Asian cultures focus more on the need for happiness within relationships with others and even find personal happiness to be harmful to fulfilling happy social relationships. A 2012 study found that
psychological well-being The Six-factor Model of Psychological Well-being is a theory developed by Carol Ryff which determines six factors which contribute to an individual's psychological well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or '' ...
was higher for people who experienced both positive and negative emotions.


Examination

Happiness can be examined in experiential and evaluative contexts. Experiential well-being, or "objective happiness", is happiness measured in the moment via questions such as "How good or bad is your experience now?". In contrast, evaluative well-being asks questions such as "How good was your vacation?" and measures one's subjective thoughts and feelings about happiness in the past. Experiential well-being is less prone to errors in
reconstructive memory Reconstructive memory is a theory of memory recall, in which the act of remembering is influenced by various other cognitive processes including perception, imagination, semantic memory Semantic memory is one of the two types of explicit memo ...
, but the majority of literature on happiness refers to evaluative well-being. The two measures of happiness can be related by heuristics such as the peak–end rule. Some commentators focus on the difference between the hedonistic tradition of seeking pleasant and avoiding unpleasant experiences, and the eudaimonic tradition of living life in a full and deeply satisfying way.


Measurement

People have been trying to measure happiness for centuries. In 1780, the English utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed that as happiness was the primary goal of humans it should be measured as a way of determining how well the government was performing. Several scales have been developed to measure happiness: * The Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS) is a four-item scale, measuring global subjective happiness from 1999. The scale requires participants to use absolute ratings to characterize themselves as happy or unhappy individuals, as well as it asks to what extent they identify themselves with descriptions of happy and unhappy individuals. * The Affect measures#PANAS, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) from 1988 is a 20-item questionnaire, using a five-point Likert scale (1 = very slightly or not at all, 5 = extremely) to assess the relation between personality traits and positive or negative affects at "this moment, today, the past few days, the past week, the past few weeks, the past year, and in general". A longer version with additional affect scales was published 1994. * The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) is a global cognitive assessment of
life satisfaction Life satisfaction (LS) is the way in which people show their emotions, feelings (moods) and how they feel about their directions and options for the future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitabl ...
developed by Ed Diener. A seven-point Likert scale is used to agree or disagree with five statements about one's life. * The Cantril ladder method has been used in the World Happiness Report. Respondents are asked to think of a ladder, with the best possible life for them being a 10, and the worst possible life being a 0. They are then asked to rate their own current lives on that 0 to 10 scale. * Positive Experience; the survey by Gallup (company), Gallup asks if, the day before, people experienced enjoyment, laughing or smiling a lot, feeling well-rested, being treated with respect, learning or doing something interesting. 9 of the top 10 countries in 2018 were South American, led by Paraguay and Panama. Country scores range from 85 to 43. Since 2012, a World Happiness Report has been published. Happiness is evaluated, as in "How happy are you with your life as a whole?", and in emotional reports, as in "How happy are you now?," and people seem able to use happiness as appropriate in these verbal contexts. Using these measures, the report identifies the countries with the highest levels of happiness. In subjective well-being measures, the primary distinction is between cognitive life evaluations and emotional reports. The UK began to measure national well-being in 2012, following Bhutan, which had already been measuring gross national happiness. Happiness has been found to be quite stable over time.


Relationship to physical characteristics and heritability

As of 2016, no evidence of happiness causing improved physical health has been found; the topic is being researched at the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. A positive relationship has been suggested between the volume of the brain's gray matter in the right precuneus area and one's subjective happiness score.
Sonja Lyubomirsky Sonja Lyubomirsky (born December 14, 1966) is an American professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and author of the bestseller ''The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want' ...
has estimated that 50 percent of a given human's happiness level could be genetically determined, 10 percent is affected by life circumstances and situation, and a remaining 40 percent of happiness is subject to self-control. When discussing genetics and their effects on individuals it is important to first understand that genetics do not predict behavior. It is possible for genes to increase the likelihood of individuals being happier compared to others, but they do not 100 percent predict behavior. At this point in scientific research, it has been hard to find a lot of evidence to support this idea that happiness is affected in some way by genetics. In a 2016 study Michael Minkov and Michael Harris Bond found that a gene by the name of SLC6A4 was not a good predictor of happiness level in humans. On the other hand, there have been many studies that have found genetics to be a key part in predicting and understanding happiness in humans. In a review article discussing many studies on genetics and happiness they discussed the common findings. The author found an important factor that has affected scientist findings this being how happiness is measured. For example, in certain studies when subjective wellbeing is measured as a trait heredity is found to be higher, about 70 to 90 percent. In another study 11,500 unrelated genotypes were studied, and the conclusion was the heritability was only 12 to 18 percent. Overall, this article found the common percent of heredity was about 20 to 50 percent.


Economic and political views

In politics, ''happiness'' as a guiding ideal is expressed in the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776, written by Thomas Jefferson, as the universal right to "the pursuit of happiness." This seems to suggest a subjective interpretation but one that goes beyond emotions alone. It has to be kept in mind that the word ''happiness'' meant "prosperity, thriving, wellbeing" in the 18th century and not the same thing as it does today. In fact, ''happiness''. Common market health measures such as GDP and GNP have been used as a measure of successful policy. On average richer nations tend to be happier than poorer nations, but this effect seems to diminish with wealth. This has been explained by the fact that the dependency is not linear but logarithmic, i.e., the same percentual increase in the GNP produces the same increase in happiness for wealthy countries as for poor countries. Increasingly, academic economists and international economic organizations are arguing for and developing multi-dimensional dashboards which combine subjective and objective indicators to provide a more direct and explicit assessment of human wellbeing. Work by Paul Anand and colleagues helps to highlight the fact that there many different contributors to adult wellbeing, that happiness judgement reflect, in part, the presence of salient constraints, and that fairness, autonomy, community and engagement are key aspects of happiness and wellbeing throughout the life course. Although these factors play a role in happiness, they do not all need to act in simultaneously to help one achieve an increase in happiness. Libertarianism, Libertarian think tank Cato Institute claims that economic freedom correlates strongly with happinessIn Pursuit of Happiness Research. Is It Reliable? What Does It Imply for Policy?
The Cato institute. 11 April 2007
preferably within the context of a western mixed economy, with free press and a democracy. According to certain standards, East European countries when ruled by Communist parties were less happy than Western ones, even less happy than other equally poor countries.
, ''Policy'', Spring 2005.
Since 2003, empirical research in the field of
happiness economics The economics of happiness or happiness economics is the theoretical, qualitative and quantitative study of happiness The term ''happiness'' is used in the context of mental or emotion Emotions are biological states associated with all of ...
, such as that by Benjamin Radcliff, professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, supported the contention that in democratic countries life satisfaction is strongly and positively related to the social democratic model of a generous social safety net, pro-worker labor market regulations, and strong labor unions. Similarly, there is evidence that public policies which reduce poverty and support a strong middle class, such as a higher minimum wage, strongly affect average levels of well-being. It has been argued that happiness measures could be used not as a replacement for more traditional measures, but as a supplement. According to the Cato institute, people constantly make choices that decrease their happiness, because they have also more important aims. Therefore, government should not decrease the alternatives available for the citizen by patronizing them but let the citizen keep a maximal freedom of choice. Good mental health and good relationships contribute more than income to happiness and governments should take these into account. In the UK Richard Layard and others have led the development of
happiness economics The economics of happiness or happiness economics is the theoretical, qualitative and quantitative study of happiness The term ''happiness'' is used in the context of mental or emotion Emotions are biological states associated with all of ...
.


Contributing factors and research outcomes

Research on positive psychology, well-being, eudaimonia and happiness, and the theories of Diener, Ryff, Keyes, and Seligmann covers a broad range of levels and topics, including "the biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global dimensions of life." The psychiatrist George Eman Vaillant, George Vaillant and the director of longitudinal Grant Study, Study of Adult Development at Harvard University Robert J. Waldinger found that those who were happiest and healthier reported strong interpersonal relationships. Research showed that adequate sleep contributes to well-being. In 2018, Laurie R. Santos course titled "''Psychology and the Good Life"'' became the most popular course in the history of Yale University and was made available for free online to non-Yale students.


See also


Notes


References


Further reading

* Anand Paul "Happiness Explained: What Human Flourishing Is and What We Can Do to Promote It", Oxford: Oxford University Press 2016. * Michael Argyle "The psychology of happiness", 1987 * * Norman M. Bradburn "The structure of psychological well-being", 1969 * * C. Robert Cloninger, ''Feeling Good: The Science of Well-Being'', Oxford, 2004. * Gregg Easterbrook "The progress paradox – how life gets better while people feel worse", 2003 * Michael W. Eysenck "Happiness – facts and myths", 1990 * Daniel Gilbert (psychologist), Daniel Gilbert, ''Stumbling on Happiness'', Knopf, 2006. * Carol Graham "Happiness Around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires", OUP Oxford, 2009. * James Hadley, ''Happiness: A New Perspective'', 2013, * Joop Hartog & Hessel Oosterbeek "Health, wealth and happiness", 1997 * * Robert Holden "Happiness now!", 1998 * Barbara Ann Kipfer, ''14,000 Things to Be Happy About'', Workman, 1990/2007, . * Neil Kaufman "Happiness is a choice", 1991 * Stefan Klein, ''The Science of Happiness'', Marlowe, 2006, . * Harold G. Koenig, Koenig HG, McCullough M, & Larson DB. Handbook of Religion and Health, Handbook of religion and health: a century of research reviewed (see Handbook of Religion and Health, article). New York: Oxford University Press; 2001. * Darrin McMahon, McMahon, Darrin M., ''Happiness: A History'', Atlantic Monthly Press; 2005. * McMahon, Darrin M., ''The History of Happiness: 400 B.C. – A.D. 1780'', Daedalus (journal), Daedalus journal, Spring 2004. * Richard Layard, ''Happiness: Lessons From A New Science'', Penguin, 2005, . * James Mackaye "Economy of happiness", 1906 * Desmond Morris "The nature of happiness", 2004 * David G. Myers, ''The Pursuit of Happiness: Who is Happy – and Why'', William Morrow and Co., 1992, . * Niek Persoon "Happiness doesn't just happen", 2006 * Benjamin Radcliff ''The Political Economy of Human Happiness'' (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013). * Ben Renshaw "The secrets of happiness", 2003 * Fiona Robards, "What makes you happy?" Exisle Publishing, 2014, * Bertrand Russell "The conquest of happiness", orig. 1930 (many reprints) * Martin E.P. Seligman, ''Authentic Happiness'', Free Press, 2002, . * Alexandra Stoddard "Choosing happiness – keys to a joyful life", 2002 * Władysław Tatarkiewicz, ''Analysis of Happiness'', The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1976 * Elizabeth Telfer "Happiness : an examination of a hedonistic and a eudaemonistic concept of happiness and of the relations between them...", 1980 * Ruut Veenhoven "Bibliography of happiness – world database of happiness : 2472 studies on subjective appreciation of life", 1993 * Ruut Veenhoven "Conditions of happiness", 1984 * Joachim Weimann, Andreas Knabe, and Ronnie Schob, eds. ''Measuring Happiness: The Economics of Well-Being'' (MIT Press; 2015) 206 pages * Eric G. Wilson "Against Happiness", 2008 * ''Journal of Happiness Studies'', International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS), quarterly since 2000, also online


External links


History of Happiness
– concise survey of influential theories
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry "Pleasure"
– ancient and modern philosophers' and neuroscientists' approaches to happiness
The World Happiness Forum
promotes dialogue on tools and techniques for human happiness and wellbeing.
The World Database of Happiness
– a register of scientific research on the subjective appreciation of life. {{Authority control Happiness Personal life Positive mental attitude Concepts in ethics Philosophy of love Emotions Pleasure