Uncovering the Secrets of True Happiness: A Deep Dive into the Nature of Joy

Uncovering the Secrets of True Happiness: A Deep Dive into the Nature of Joy

In this article you will learn what really is happiness. How does one obtain it? What are the things that we need in order to achieve happiness? Is it something that last forever? Don't worry, we'll answer most of your questions shortly!

The Definition of Happiness.

By definition, happiness is said to be a state of being happy. In positive psychology however, happiness is defined as someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, and anger.

Happiness has also been said to relate to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, and moments of pleasure, but overall it has to do with the positive experience of emotions.

The key to these definitions is that positive emotions do not indicate the absence of negative emotions. A "happy person" experiences the spectrum of emotions just like anybody else, but the frequency with which they experience the negative ones may differ. It could be that "happy people" don't experience as much negative emotion because they process it differently or they may find meaning in a way others have not. In fact, using the phrase "happy person" is probably misleading because it implies that certain people are naturally happy or that positive things happen to them more often. Nobody is immune to life's stressors. The question is whether you see those stressors as moments of opposition or moments of opportunity.

Regardless of where you are on the happiness spectrum, each person has their own way of defining happiness. Philosophers, actors, politicians, and everybody in between have weighed in on their own view of happiness.

  • Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. – Dalai Lama
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi
  • Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. – Aristotle
  • True happiness is…to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  • Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. – Jim Rohn

    Summary of Definitions

    With so many takes on happiness, it’s no wonder that happiness is a little difficult to define scientifically; there is certainly disagreement about what, exactly, happiness is.

    According to researchers Chu Kim-Prieto, Ed Diener, and their colleagues (2005), there are three main ways that happiness has been approached in positive psychology:

    1. Happiness as a global assessment of life and all its facets;
    2. Happiness as a recollection of past emotional experiences;
    3. Happiness as an aggregation of multiple emotional reactions across time.

    Although they generally all agree on what happiness feels like—being satisfied with life, in a good mood, feeling positive emotions, feeling enjoyment, etc.—researchers have found it difficult to agree on the scope of happiness.

    Pleasure vs. Happiness?

    With the close ties between pleasure and happiness, you might be wondering how to differentiate between them. After all, the OED definition of happiness describes it as a state of feeling pleasure!

    The association between the two makes sense, and it’s common to hear the two words used interchangeably outside of the literature; however, when it comes to the science of positive psychology, it is important to make a distinction between the two.

    Happiness, as we described above, is a state characterized by feelings of contentment and satisfaction with one’s life or current situation. On the other hand, pleasure is a more visceral, in-the-moment experience. It often refers to the sensory-based feelings we get from experiences like eating good food, getting a massage, receiving a compliment, or having sex.

    Happiness, while not a permanent state, is a more stable state than pleasure. Happiness generally sticks around for longer than a few moments at a time, whereas pleasure can come and go in seconds (Paul, 2015).

    Pleasure can contribute to happiness, and happiness can enhance or deepen feelings of pleasure, but the two can also be completely mutually exclusive. For example, you can feel a sense of happiness based on meaning and engagement that has nothing to do with pleasure, or you could feel pleasure but also struggle with guilt because of it, keeping you from feeling happy at the same time.

    Why Happiness is like Water!

    Happiness is not static. It’s not that you do x and y which leads to z and you’ll be happy for the rest of your life. Happiness is not something that can be bought or saved like money in a bank account. Also, it has very little to do with how much money you have or what car you drive or what house you live in.

    So, how does happiness work? And why is happiness like water? Watch this short video by Einzelgänger that further explains this concept.

    "Happiness is like water, no matter how much you shake it with pleasure or stir it with pain, it will always return to a state of calmness, and in that calmness you will find bliss."

    What are the different sources of Happiness?

    Taking together all the various theories and findings on happiness, we know that there are at least a few factors that are very important for overall happiness:

    • Individual income;
    • Labor market status;
    • Physical health;
    • Family;
    • Social relationships;
    • Moral values;
    • Experience of positive emotions (AIPC, 2011).

    All of these factors can contribute to a happy life, but research has found that good relationships are a vital ingredient (Waldinger & Schulz, 2010).

    When we are happy in our most important relationships (usually our spouse or significant other, our children and/or our parents, other close family members, and our closest friends), we tend to be happier.

    We have some control over how our relationships go, so that leads us to an interesting and important question: can we increase our own happiness?

    Can one learn how to be happy?

    The answer from numerous studies is a resounding YES—you CAN learn how to be happier.

    The degree to which you can increase your happiness will vary widely by which theory you subscribe to, but there are no credible theories that allow absolutely no room for individual improvement. To improve your overall happiness, the most effective method is to look at the list of sources above and work on enhancing the quality of your experiences in each one of them.

    For example, you can work on getting a higher salary (although a higher salary will only work up to about $75,000 USD a year), improve your health, work on developing and maintaining high-quality relationships, and overall, find ways to incorporate more positive feelings into your daily life. This does assume basic access to safety as well as social equality.

    The Real Benefits of Happiness.

    You might be wondering why happiness is considered such an important aspect of life, as there are many components of a meaningful life.

    In some ways, science would agree with you. It appears that life satisfaction, meaning, and well-being can be linked with happiness, but happiness is not necessarily the overarching goal for everyone in life. It is still important because it has some undeniably positive benefits and co-occurring factors.

    June Silny at Happify outlines 14 answers to the question, “What’s so great about happiness, anyway?

    1. Happy people are more successful in multiple life domains, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health.
    2. Happy people get sick less often and experience fewer symptoms when they do get sick.
    3. Happy people have more friends and a better support system.
    4. Happy people donate more to charity (and giving money to charity makes you happy, too).
    5. Happy people are more helpful and more likely to volunteer—which also makes you happier!
    6. Happy people have an easier time navigating through life since optimism eases pain, sadness, and grief.
    7. Happy people have a positive influence on others and encourage them to seek happiness as well, which can act as reinforcement.
    8. Happy people engage in deeper and more meaningful conversations.
    9. Happy people smile more, which is beneficial to your health.
    10. Happy people exercise more often and eat more healthily.
    11. Happy people are happy with what they have rather than being jealous of others.
    12. Happy people are healthier all around and more likely to be healthy in the future.
    13. Happy people live longer than those who are not as happy.
    14. Happy people are more productive and more creative, and this effect extends to all those experiencing positive emotions.

    Final Thoughts

    We hope this article was helpful and informative for you and that you've learned something new that will help you as you move forward with LIFE.

    If you want to find more self-development content, visit our blogs or check out our Instagram posts. Click the link if you want to view our EZ-LIFE Collections to check out our products that will surely make life more fun, simple, and EZ for you!

    Let us know in the comments what topic you want us to talk about for our next blog post! Once again, thank you for choosing EFILZE for an EZ-ier life!

    (c) Psychology Today, Positive Psychology, Einzelgänger.

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    Thank you, EFILZE! You do not only provide us with good products that make our lives easier, you also provide us with positive views about life. It makes my online shopping more meaningful :-)


    This is a really good read! Maybe you could talk about mindfulness in the next blog? Looking forward to the next one! Thanks!

    I remember going through some dark times 3 years ago and this really helped me understand why it happened and finally realize how to be happy on my own. Thank you!

    Wow this helped me alot thank you efilze!


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