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Front Matter Dedication Acknowledgements List of illustrations 1. A remarkable fact 2. The sources of happiness 6. A good life End Matter References and further reading Index.
Eudemonic happiness comes from achieving something that we feel is worthwhile, and requires a sense of purpose and drive. Happiness can be also be defined or influenced by a number of life factors — relationships, money, work, health; altruism is also closely linked to 'real' happiness. Happiness can perhaps be more usefully considered using the term well-being. Although less recognizable than happiness, well-being is often preferable in discussions of collective happiness as it is more objective and can therefore be more readily measured and inform policies for improvement.
It is also worth noting the meaning of familiar words such as mood, emotion and personality need to be understood in their more technical definitions. Traditionally psychology was preoccupied with curing our ills. More recently, as TED speaker Martin Seligman tells us, much progress has been made towards this goal although the impact of the rise in medication comes with its own warnings.
More recently, the focus has broadened to include making improvements even when there are no problems — the opposite of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it! The concept is known as positive psychological well-being, and as a field it is increasing our understanding of how we can generate happiness.
The following quotation gives an insight into the earlier perception of happiness:. We now have a much better understanding of where our individual happiness comes from, and most importantly that these factors can be influenced.
We also understand that happiness is not, as was once thought, a spectrum. Less misery does not necessarily mean more happiness. This realization is actually quite instinctive but until relatively recently has been ignored by those exploring happiness science but has a fundamental impact on how we approach the issue.
It's important to note the scientific nature of the study of psychological well-being, which includes understanding of the structure of the brain, the chemical reactions involved and how various systems are interconnected. Happiness at this level really has become a science, with assertions made based on evidence from sound methodologies. This is not to say there isn't still some way to go, but this should no longer be perceived as a 'soft' subject.
Unfortunately, positive psychology is often mistaken for positive thinking movement, which lacks scientific evidence for its claims but is a more familiar concept for many. Hopefully as scientific progress continues to be made and broadly understood, this trend will reverse.
Crucially, the knowledge and evidence we have been acquiring means we are now equipped to take positive action. We can, in effect, create happiness by arming others with this knowledge and with the skills required to live enriching lives, in an environment that supports them to do so.
So can we actually 'grow' happiness? Well, the jury has been out on this, but yes, it's now generally accepted that steps can be taken to increase individual and collective happiness; several of the TEDTalks included in this course identify research-based strategies for doing so. Also, it's worth noting that for all this talk of GDP not being a satisfactory measure, we're not suggesting that economics and personal finances will not affect our happiness. Individuals do seem to get 'happier' as money increases, but not indefinitely.
After a certain point it stops having an impact. Beyond the point where needs are satisfied, it seems that happiness and materialistic society are increasingly incompatible, as the pursuit of money and material goods can come at the expense of the more fundamental pleasures in life that bring us happiness. There are some more pessimistic theories about our ability to develop happiness.
Psychotherapist Robert Rowland Smith argues that "the pursuit of happiness is a form of wanting, just like anything else. So the problem with wanting happiness is as much the wanting as the happiness. Deep inside us, wanting creates a hole, a lack, a lacuna.
Wanting happiness equals wanting for happiness, and feeling empty. This is used to explain why lottery winners and those who have suffered serious illness can appear equally 'happy' a certain amount of time after either has occurred. But it's also been suggested that over time, this set point can be fundamentally shifted.
The endless treadmill can be unraveled! And of course, even if our 'end point' is a relatively fixed level of happiness, that doesn't diminish the significance of fluctuations that occur on the journey.
In order to know if we're increasing happiness, we need to find a way to measure it. Measuring both individual and national levels of happiness can be difficult, particularly when people self report.
Life satisfaction measures have long been used but while they are relatively simple and easy for international benchmarking, they rarely get under the skin of either the causes or consequences of happiness. When carrying out measurements we also need to be aware of the distinction between causality and correlation. We have no shortage of data which shows an 'association' between all sorts of activity and levels of happiness or satisfaction.
For example, belonging to a club or society is associated with higher life satisfaction scores. But whether membership led to happiness or vice versa is obviously an important distinction to make. At a national level, happiness or satisfaction scores have been recorded for up to 70 years in some countries but throughout this time they have remained fairly static, even when other variables are changing.
For example, in countries where income has risen happiness remains steady. But inter-country comparisons show different levels, which suggests that wholesale change is possible. The general consensus is that measuring well-being requires a dashboard of measures rather than just a single figure. These will differ between nations, but as an example the UK has recently constructed an index of 11 dimensions based on national consultation.
If the goal is to increase happiness it's also necessary to explore who has responsibility for doing so. While individuals can be equipped to increase their own happiness, the institutions that surround them also have a role to play in creating an environment that fosters happiness.
As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, governments and international bodies are increasingly taking into account the affect of their policies on the well-being of their citizens. The compatibility of happiness and well-being with economics, politics and religious freedoms needs to become a part of national discussion. Dictating exactly how people need to live is not the route to happiness, instead we need to provide the tools to facilitate happiness and freedom to pursue it although as you'll see in the TEDTalks by Dan Gilbert and Barry Schwartz, too much choice often comes with its own difficulties!
What is Happiness? Happiness is but a belief, an idea, a theory; but theories, beliefs, and ideas have the possibility of being wrong. According to Aristotle happiness is an end, an end result of all the things a person does. Everything everyone does is for a reason, to achieve something else. Essays Related to What is Happiness? /5(21).
This essay seeks to demystify the puzzle about happiness and how it is attained. One of the strongest theories used to discuss about happiness is positive psychology that has focused on cognition, personality and mood.
Happiness lies in the eye of the beholder, and as the beholder I see happiness as: Thus through this essay I will describe what happiness means to me, by discussing the above mentioned. I have found that through completing my "Happy Moments Journal," that my family is a huge element of my happiness. Jun 24, · This is a short essay about happiness, written by one of our expert writers. Feel free to use it at your own discretion or order another essay from our healtlife.tkon: N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix,
Introduction Happiness is probably as the old topic. Most experts such as psychologists, philosophers, even economists concerned with the definition what is the happiness. However, there is not the concordant view for what is the happiness. Definition Essay: Happiness Happiness. It is not measurable, profitable, nor tradable. Yet, above all else in the world, it is what people seek. They want to have happiness, and want to know they have a lot of it. But happiness, like air or water, is a hard thing to grasp in one’s hand. It is intangible.