“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

Mahatma Gandhi

 

What is happiness? In simple terms, happiness is the opposite of sadness. You think your life is good and you can’t hold back your smile. The “pursuit of happiness” is something our life is based on. Different people feel happy for various reasons. If you do something and it makes you happy, then usually you want to do more of it.

 

Approach to Happiness

In the past few decades, the “happiness” movement has intrigued psychology and pushed researchers to study the science of happiness, and human potential. This gave rise to something called positive psychology, which means “experiencing frequent positive emotions, such as joy, excitement, and contentment, combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose,” coined by none other than the founding father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman. The statement implies a positive thinking in the present and an optimistic vision for the future.

Studies demonstrate that the way we respond to situations in our lives affects our happiness. Stress, sadness, and anxiety are there in everyone’s life, and most of the time it is short.  But, that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy in the long run. While the state of happiness is unstable, it can be something we can work on.

However, those who work on the philosophical realm has split the phenomenon of happiness into different approaches, namely

  1. Hedonist Approach: Hedonists think that to live a happy life we must focus on pleasure and avoid pain. This view might satisfy human desires, but it’s often short-lived.
  2. Eudaimonic Approach: According to this, one should live an authentic life and for the greater good. We should pursue meaning and potential with kindness, justice, honesty, and courage.

If we view happiness in the hedonistic lens, we will have to keep seeking new pleasures and experiences to continue living the happy high. However, in the eudaimonic approach, we strive for meaning, use our strengths to contribute to something greater than ourselves. This might involve all types of experiences and emotions. But, that will also lead to deeper levels of joy and contentment.

Leading a happy life isn’t about avoiding the tough times; it is about responding to adversity in a way that you can grow from the experience. We need to understand that our lives will have ups and downs, enjoying the positive emotions, and harnessing painful feelings to reach our full potential.

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