The Info List - Happiness

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In psychology, happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.[1] Happy mental states may reflect judgements by a person about their overall well-being.[2] Since the 1960s, happiness research has been conducted in a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including gerontology, social psychology, clinical and medical research and happiness economics. In philosophy, happiness is translated from the Greek concept of eudaimonia, and refers to the good life, or flourishing, as opposed to an emotion.


1 Definition 2 Philosophy 3 Religion

3.1 Eastern religions

3.1.1 Buddhism 3.1.2 Hinduism 3.1.3 Confucianism

3.2 Abrahamic religions

3.2.1 Judaism 3.2.2 Roman Catholicism

3.3 Islam

4 Psychology

4.1 Theories

4.1.1 Maslow's hierarchy of needs 4.1.2 Self-determination theory 4.1.3 Positive psychology

4.2 Measurement of happiness

5 Hedonic adaptation 6 Links to physical characteristics and health 7 Economic and political views 8 Contributing factors and research outcomes 9 See also 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links

Definition Happiness
is a fuzzy concept. Some related concepts include well-being, quality of life, flourishing, and contentment.[3] [4] In philosophy and (western) religion, happiness may be defined in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. Happiness
in this sense was used to translate the Greek eudaimonia, and is still used in virtue ethics. There has been a transition over time from emphasis on the happiness of virtue to the virtue of happiness.[5] In psychology, happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.[6] Since the turn of the millennium, psychologists have increasingly become interested in developing an approach to human flourishing. This is seen prominently in the work of Martin Seligman, Ed Diener and Ruut Veenhoven, and in the international developmental and medical research of Paul Anand.[citation needed] Philosophy

A smiling 95-year-old man from Pichilemu, Chile.

Main article: Philosophy
of happiness In the Nicomachean Ethics, written in 350 BCE, Aristotle
stated that happiness (also being well and doing well) is the only thing that humans desire for its 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. Note that eudaimonia, the term we translate as "happiness", is for Aristotle
an activity rather than an emotion or a state.[7] 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 argues that the good life is the life of excellent rational activity. He arrives at this claim with the Function Argument. Basically, if it's right, every living thing has a function, that which it uniquely does. For humans, Aristotle
contends, our function is to reason, since it is that alone that we uniquely do. And performing one's function well, or excellently, is good. Thus, according to Aristotle, the life of excellent rational activity is the happy life. Aristotle
does not leave it at that, however. He argues that there is a second best life for those incapable of excellent rational activity. This second best life is the life of moral virtue.[citation needed] Many ethicists make arguments for how humans should behave, either individually or collectively, based on the resulting happiness of such behavior. Utilitarians, such as John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill
and Jeremy Bentham, advocated the greatest happiness principle as a guide for ethical behavior.[citation needed] Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
savagely 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 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.[8][9] Religion See also: Religious studies Eastern religions Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhist monk

forms a central theme of Buddhist teachings.[10] For ultimate freedom from suffering, the Noble Eightfold Path
Noble Eightfold Path
leads its practitioner to Nirvana, 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). Buddhism
also encourages the generation of loving kindness and compassion, the desire for the happiness and welfare of all beings.[11][12][unreliable source?] Hinduism In Advaita Vedanta, the ultimate goal of life is happiness, in the sense that duality between Atman and Brahman
is transcended and one realizes oneself to be the Self in all. Patanjali, author of the Yoga Sutras, wrote quite exhaustively on the psychological and ontological roots of bliss.[13] Confucianism The Chinese Confucian thinker 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.[14] Abrahamic religions Judaism Main article: Happiness
in Judaism Happiness
or simcha (Hebrew: שמחה‎) in Judaism is considered an important element in the service of God.[15] The biblical verse "worship The Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs," (Psalm 100:2) stresses joy in the service of God.[citation needed] A popular teaching by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a 19th-century Chassidic Rabbi, is " Mitzvah Gedolah Le'hiyot Besimcha Tamid," it is a great mitzvah (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.[16] 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 ultimate end of human existence consists in felicity, Latin equivalent to the Greek eudaimonia, or "blessed happiness", described by the 13th-century philosopher-theologian Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
as a Beatific Vision
Beatific Vision
of God's essence in the next life.[17] According to St. Augustine
St. Augustine
and Thomas Aquinas, man's last end is happiness: "all men agree in desiring the last end, which is happiness."[18] 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.[19] In turn, which habits and acts that normally lead to happiness is according to Aquinas caused by laws: natural law and divine law. These laws, in turn, were according to Aquinas caused by a first cause, or God.[citation needed] 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."[20] 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.[21] Islam 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.[citation needed] Psychology

A smiling Rebecca L. Felton

See also: Well-being Happiness
in its broad sense is the label for a family of pleasant emotional states, such as joy, amusement, satisfaction, gratification, euphoria, and triumph.[22] 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, 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.[23] 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.[24] Theories on how to achieve happiness include "encountering unexpected positive events",[25] "seeing a significant other",[26] and "basking in the acceptance and praise of others".[27] However others believe that happiness is not solely derived from external, momentary pleasures.[28] Happiness
is quite stable over time.[29][30] Theories Maslow's hierarchy of needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs
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, he reaches self-actualization. Beyond the routine of needs fulfillment, Maslow envisioned moments of extraordinary experience, known as peak experiences, 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 concept of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.[citation needed] Amitai Etzioni points out that Maslow’s definition of human needs, even on the highest level, that of self-actualization, is self-centered (i.e. his view of satisfaction or what makes a person happy, does not include service to others or the common good—unless it enriches the self). As implied by its name, self-actualization is highly individualistic and reflects Maslow’s premise that the self is “sovereign and inviolable” and entitled to “his or her own tastes, opinions, values, etc.”[31] Self-determination theory

Smiling woman from Vietnam

Self-determination theory
Self-determination theory
relates intrinsic motivation to three needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Positive psychology During the past two decades, the field of positive psychology 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.[32] Numerous short-term self-help interventions have been developed and demonstrated to improve well-being.[33][34] Seligman's acronym PERMA summarizes five factors correlated with well-being:[35]

(tasty food, warm baths, etc.), Engagement (or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity), Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness), Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger), and Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals).

Measurement of happiness Several scales have been developed to measure happiness:

The Subjective Happiness
Scale (SHS) is a four-item scale, measuring global subjective happiness. 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.[36][37] The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is used to detect 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 generally (on average). PANAS is a 20-item questionnaire, which uses a five-point Likert scale (1 = very slightly or not at all, 5 = extremely).[38][39] A longer version with additional affect scales is available in a manual.[40] The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) is a global cognitive assessment of life satisfaction developed by Ed Diener. The SWLS requires a person to use a seven-item scale to state their agreement or disagreement (1 = strongly disagree, 4 = neither agree nor disagree, 7 = strongly agree) with five statements about their life.[41][42]

The UK began to measure national well being in 2012,[43] following Bhutan, which already measured gross national happiness.[44][45] The 2012 World Happiness Report
World Happiness Report
stated that in subjective well-being measures, the primary distinction is between cognitive life evaluations and emotional reports.[46] Happiness
is used in both life evaluation, 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 World Happiness Report
World Happiness Report
identifies the countries with the highest levels of happiness.[citation needed] Etzioni argues that happiness is the wrong metric, because it does not take into account that doing the right thing, what is moral, often does not produce happiness in the way this term is usually used.[47] Hedonic adaptation Hedonic adaptation finds that people's happiness rapidly returns to previous levels after very good or very bad events. A related concept is that of the happiness set point (proposed by Sonja Lyubomirsky.)[48] Links to physical characteristics and health

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2017)

Even though no evidence of a link between happiness and physical health has been found, the topic is being researched by Laura Kubzansky, a professor at the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness
at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University.[49] A positive relationship has been suggested between the volume of gray matter in the right precuneus area of the brain and the subject's subjective happiness score.[50] Economic and political views

Newly commissioned officers celebrate their new positions by throwing their midshipmen covers into the air as part of the U.S. Naval Academy class of 2011 graduation and commissioning ceremony.

Main article: Happiness
economics 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."[51] This seems to suggest a subjective interpretation but one that nonetheless goes beyond emotions alone.[citation needed] In fact, this discussion is often based on the naive assumption that the word happiness meant the same thing in 1776 as it does today. In fact, happiness meant "prosperity, thriving, wellbeing" in the 18th century.[52] 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.[53][54] 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.[55][56][57][58] Increasingly, academic economists and international economic organisations 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. Libertarian think tank Cato Institute
Cato Institute
claims that economic freedom correlates strongly with happiness[59] preferably within the context of a western mixed economy, with free press and a democracy. According to certain standards, East European countries (ruled by Communist parties) were less happy than Western ones, even less happy than other equally poor countries.[60] However, much empirical research in the field of happiness economics, such as that by Benjamin Radcliff, professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, supports the contention that (at least 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.[61] Similarly, there is evidence that public policies that reduce poverty and support a strong middle class, such as a higher minimum wage, strongly affects average levels of well-being.[62] It has been argued that happiness measures could be used not as a replacement for more traditional measures, but as a supplement.[63] According to professor Edward Glaeser, people constantly make choices that decrease their happiness, because they have also more important aims. Therefore, the government should not decrease the alternatives available for the citizen by patronizing them but let the citizen keep a maximal freedom of choice.[64] Good mental health and good relationships contribute more than income to happiness and governments should take these into account.[65] Contributing factors and research outcomes Main article: Well-being
- Contributing factors and research findings 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."[66] See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Happiness.

Aversion to happiness Biopsychosocial model Extraversion, introversion and happiness Hedonic treadmill Laurie Santos Mania Paradox of hedonism Philosophy
of happiness Pleasure Psychological well-being Serotonin Subjective well-being


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Further reading


Van der Merwe, Paul, Lucky Go Happy : Make Happiness
Happen!, Reach Publishers, 2016. ISBN 9781496941640 Anand Paul " Happiness
Explained: What Human Flourishing Is and What We Can Do to Promote It", Oxford, Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
2016. ISBN 0198735456 Michael Argyle "The psychology of happiness", 1987 Boehm, J K.; Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). "Does Happiness
Promote Career Success?". Journal of Career Assessment. 16 (1): 101–16. doi:10.1177/1069072707308140.  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, Stumbling on Happiness, Knopf, 2006. Carol Graham " Happiness
Around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires", OUP Oxford, 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-954905-4 W. Doyle Gentry " Happiness
for dummies", 2008 James Hadley, Happiness: A New Perspective, 2013, ISBN 978-1493545261 Joop Hartog & Hessel Oosterbeek "Health, wealth and happiness", 1997 Hills P., Argyle M. (2002). "The Oxford Happiness
Questionnaire: a compact scale for the measurement of psychological well-being. Personality and Individual Differences". Psychological Wellbeing. 33 (7): 1073–82. doi:10.1016/s0191-8869(01)00213-6.  Robert Holden " Happiness
now!", 1998 Barbara Ann Kipfer, 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, Workman, 1990/2007, ISBN 978-0-7611-4721-3. Neil Kaufman " Happiness
is a choice", 1991 Stefan Klein, The Science of Happiness, Marlowe, 2006, ISBN 1-56924-328-X. Koenig HG, McCullough M, & Larson DB. Handbook of religion and health: a century of research reviewed (see article). New York: Oxford University Press; 2001. McMahon, Darrin M., Happiness: A History, Atlantic Monthly Press, November 28, 2005. ISBN 0-87113-886-7 McMahon, Darrin M., The History of Happiness: 400 B.C. – A.D. 1780, Daedalus journal, Spring 2004. Richard Layard, Happiness: Lessons From A New Science, Penguin, 2005, ISBN 978-0-14-101690-0. Luskin, Frederic, Kenneth R. Pelletier, Dr. Andrew Weil (Foreword). "Stress Free for Good: 10 Scientifically Proven Life Skills for Health and Happiness." 2005 James Mackaye "Economy of happiness", 1906 Desmond Morris "The nature of happiness", 2004 David G. Myers, Ph. D., The Pursuit of Happiness: Who is Happy – and Why, William Morrow and Co., 1992, ISBN 0-688-10550-5. 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, ISBN 978-1-921966-31-6 Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
"The conquest of happiness", orig. 1930 (many reprints) Martin E.P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness, Free Press, 2002, ISBN 0-7432-2298-9. 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 Amitai Etzioni. Happiness
is the Wrong Metric. Springer: 2018. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-69623-2

Articles and videos

Journal of Happiness
Studies, International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS), quarterly since 2000, also online A Point of View: The pursuit of happiness (January 2015), BBC
News Magazine Srikumar Rao: Plug into your hard-wired happiness – Video of a short lecture on how to be happy Dan Gilbert: Why are we happy? – Video of a short lecture on how our "psychological immune system" lets us feel happy even when things don’t go as planned. TED Radio Hour: Simply Happy – various guest speakers, with some research results

External links

Find more aboutHappinessat's sister projects

Definitions from Wiktionary Media from Wikimedia Commons News from Wikinews Quotations from Wikiquote Texts from Wikisource Textbooks from Wikibooks Learning resources from Wikiversity

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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. Action For Happiness
is a UK movement committed to building a happier society Improving happiness through humanistic leadership- University of Bath, U.K. The World Database of Happiness
– a register of scientific research on the subjective appreciation of life. Oxford Happiness
Questionnaire – Online psychological test to measure your happiness. Track Your Happiness
– research project with downloadable app that surveys users periodically and determines personal factors Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams
– Happy (Official Music Video) added to YouTube
by P. Williams: i Am Other – Retrieved 2015-11-21

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Emotions (list)


Adoration Affection Agitation Agony Amusement Anger Anguish Annoyance Anxiety Apathy Arousal Attraction Awe Boredom Calmness Compassion Contempt Contentment Defeat Depression Desire Disappointment Disgust Ecstasy Embarrassment


Empathy Enthrallment Enthusiasm Envy Euphoria Excitement Fear Frustration Gratitude Grief Guilt Happiness Hatred Homesickness Hope Horror Hostility Humiliation Hysteria Infatuation Insecurity Insult Interest Irritation Isolation Jealousy Joy Loneliness Longing Love Lust Melancholy Mono no aware Neglect Nostalgia Panic Passion Pity Pleasure Pride


Rage Regret Rejection Remorse Resentment Sadness Saudade Schadenfreude Sehnsucht Sentimentality Shame Shock Shyness Sorrow Spite Stress Suffering Surprise Sympathy Tenseness Wonder Worry

World views

Cynicism Defeatism Nihilism Optimism Pessimism Reclusion Weltschmerz

Authority control

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