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Measuring Your Happiness Using the Most Important Concept in Positive Psychology

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 moods and emotions (that's why it's labeled as "subjective").

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Measuring Your Happiness Using the Most Important Concept in Positive Psychology

Measuring Your Happiness Using the Most Important Concept in Positive Psychology

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/measuring-your-happiness_b_7889406

huffpost.com

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Key Ideas

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 moods and emotions (that's why it's labeled as "subjective").

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.

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  • Due to its fleeting and fickle nature, our levels of happiness cannot be gauged, measured or rated accurately.
  • While earlier psychology focused on the bad apples,...
Four Types of Well-Being

To address the disconnect between happiness and deeper levels of satisfaction, researches proposed a model that characterizes people as falling into one of four well-being types.

  1. Optimizing one’s positive emotions, and denying the reality of their negative experiences.
  2. Feeling unhappy seeing the complexity of the world around them, and neglecting the positive aspects.
  3. Having a generally negative view of themselves and the world.
  4. Having a generally positive and empathetic view of the world.
The Real Meaning Of Happiness

Being happy means more than feeling good. True happiness comes from handling challenging and adverse situations, while collaborating and building lifelong bonds with the people in our lives.

A collective thinking process, where the good of all is considered leads to a level of happiness that cannot be attained by being selfish or self-concerned.

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.

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Hedonic adaptation

Hedonic adaptation refers to people’s common tendency to return to a determined level of happiness regardless of life’s ups and downs.

Hedonic adaptation is often referred to as “the hedonic ...

Examples of Hedonic Adaptation
  • People who win the lottery are likely to revert to their original levels of happiness after the novelty of the win has worn off.
  • It is also true for those who are in major accidents. People generally tend to return to their pre-accident levels of happiness after a period.
  • Research has found that the first bite of something delicious is experienced as more pleasurable than the subsequent bites.
How Much Control We Have

Researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky has examined this set-point:

A full 50 percent of our happiness set-point is due to genetics. 10 percent is affected primarily by circumstances like where we were born and to whom. 40 percent is subject to our influence.

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