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How Do Psychologists Define Happiness?

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-happiness-4869755

verywellmind.com

How Do Psychologists Define Happiness?
Happiness is a positive emotional state characterized by feelings such as contentment, joy, and life satisfaction. Explore ways to improve happiness.

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Happiness

Happiness

Happiness is when a person feels satisfaction, contentment, and elation in their life. It is a fulfilling feeling to have despite it having varying definitions.

The term is generally used to explain one's present moment or how they feel about their life in a broad sense. Psychologists see it as a 'subjective' emotional state of a person's well-being. It focuses on our personal feelings in the existing moment.

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The two fundamental components of 'happiness'

  1. Emotional balance - We all experience positive and negative feelings from time to time. How one handles their emotional state is crucial as to how they radiate this energy towards everything they have going on in their life;
  2. Life satisfaction - People experience emotions differently whenever an event occurs in their lives. How you feel about your own life - from your relationships to personal achievements - matter to your happiness.

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Measuring your happiness

Here are questions you should ask yourself to know if you are happy:

  • Do you feel like you have the life you want? Are you working towards the life that you want?
  • Does your environment bring you peace of mind?
  • Have you accomplished the things you want in your life? Are these goals important to you?
  • Are you content as you are right now? What are the things you're doing that is contributing to your happiness?
  • Have you stopped and wondered if you feel more positively than you were before?

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Two types of happiness

Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle differentiated the varieties of happiness:

  1. Hedonia (pleasure): this is the type of happiness that is associated with self-satisfaction and doing what makes you happy.
  2. Eudaimonia (meaning): this is the type of happiness that is self-fulfilling. It happens when you invest in yourself, when you seek what is important to you and what allows you to mold yourself into a better version of yourself.

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Practicing happiness

To some people, happiness comes naturally, but if it doesn't for you here are some things you can do to raise your happiness level:

  • Achieve the goals you want to achieve
  • Learn how to be in the present moment and let yourself enjoy the things you enjoy doing
  • Practice gratitude towards yourself and the other areas in your life
  • Be mindful of your thoughts and behavior, negativity only leads to more negativity. Don't let your intrusive thoughts take over you.

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The effects of happiness

Being happy affects your health and well-being more than you think. It makes you become more content with what you have currently. It allows you to build stronger relationships with people.

Happiness makes an individual more resilient. This allows them to manage stress better and happy people live longer on average than negative people. Being satisfied with life also helps you get sick less often. Happier mental state is connected to having increased immunity.

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Finding your purpose

We do not have complete control over everything that happens in our lives, but we can always choose which paths to go to and the actions we make. Purpose is something you can cultivate, remember that always.

It is important to explore your interests and find the things that you are passionate about. If volunteering bring you joy and satisfaction, so be it. If exercise does, go for it. It is important to recognize what is important to us and to understand why we live for them.

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Obstacles to attaining happiness

It's fairly easy to look for the things that make us happy, but we have to note that choosing the wrong things to value can lead to more harm than good. We need to be able to pick the thing that bring us happiness and makes our life better in a general sense.

Moreover, while evaluating happiness, don't be afraid to seek help from the people you trust and allow yourself to open up to them. Social support is another important aspect of happiness, don't let loneliness discourage you.

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Kendra Cherry

"Happiness isn’t a goal that you can simply reach and be done with. It is a constant pursuit that requires continual nurturing and sustenance."

Kendra Cherry

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The theories of happiness

Scientists believe that these two theories are the reason why people pursue happiness:

  1. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: The basic needs of people are always put first before anything else. Once their basic needs have been covered, this motivates people to pursue psychological and emotional needs.
  2. Positive Psychology: This field is central to the field of psychology. The pursuit for happiness is focused on bettering the lives of people, communities, and societies.

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  • We feel right about the people we are working with
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  • We feel respected and acknowledged at work

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Happy employees are compulsory for a growing business.

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Subjective well-being

This is the primary way Positive Psychology researchers have defined and measured people's happiness and well-being.

It's defined as your evaluations of your own life and your mo...

Subjective Well-Being components

It consists of 3 parts: positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction.

Positive affect and negative affect are basically your emotions and moods, and life satisfaction refers to the evaluation of your life as a whole (how satisfied you are with your life, what you would change etc).

Measuring Subjective Well-Being

Tracking your own subjective well-being can be very powerful if you keep alongside a journal of your life's events. 

Keep it up for some time and you will see trends emerge. You'll also be able to adjust your activities in order to maximize positive affect and life satisfaction and minimize negative affect.

Human nature is more than biology

Human nature is more than biology

The level of happiness is part of our genetic makeup - we have a set level and cannot rise above or fall below it.

Some scientists envision the day that we can manipulate our happiness ge...

Quantifying happiness

Happiness has always been difficult to quantify because it is subjective, depending on if you have a short- or a long-term outlook on life. Recently, researchers have started to distinguish between two types of happiness: 

  • Hedonic happiness that provides a mental high;
  • Eudaimonic happiness, a sense of well-being which involves a life well-lived.

The staples of happiness

People will always be happy when they see their children prosper when they feel loved, secure, and well-fed.

But, this formula for happiness is so obvious that most people dismiss it. They would rather look for a secret ingredient. The answer is that there is no secret.