- “A state of well-being and contentment. A pleasurable or satisfying experience.” –Merriam-Webster
- “A happy person is someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and anger” –Lyubomirsky et al., 2005
- “Philosophy translates from the Greek concept of Eudaimonia, and refers to the good life, or flourishing, as opposed to an emotion.” –Wikipedia
Happiness Vs. Joy
A few of the most important findings
The list of fun ‘facts’ about happiness from research in positive psychology is long. While informative, many of the points about happiness that research can distill are situational, subjective, and correlative but non-causal.
For example, tall people, statistically, report higher levels of happiness on average. Similarly, murder rates go up when ice cream sales go up. Though the two are correlated, they aren’t causal, and what can they really teach us about heat?
In general, the key things that every individual should know, as backed by research are:
- Happiness, that is ‘happiness’ and ‘joy’, is and amalgamation of well-being AND meaning/purpose in life.
- Everybody has a happiness ‘setpoint’. That is, they have a genetic predisposition to a certain level of happiness. The set point has a degree of flexibility, and can shift through things like habit.
- With hard work and commitment, about 40% of our happiness level is within our power to change (6)
- Generally speaking, happy people do not have higher incomes or higher intellect than most.
- People are happiest at 50+ years. This and other myths about happiness may come as a surprise. (7)
- Happiness is not the absence of sadness. In fact, repressing sadness can go hand-in-hand with repressing happiness. Happy people let themselves be sad when it makes sense. (8)