Happiness Marinus Jan Marijs
Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happiness.
- Happiness is a state, not a trait; in other words, it isn’t a long-lasting, permanent feature or personality trait, but a more fleeting, changeable state.
- Happiness is equated with feeling pleasure or contentment, meaning that happiness is not to be confused with joy, ecstasy, bliss, or other more intense feelings.
- Happiness can be either feeling or showing, meaning that happiness is not necessarily an internal or external experience, but can be both.
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:
- Happiness as a global assessment of life and all its facets;
- Happiness as a recollection of past emotional experiences;
- Happiness as an aggregation of multiple emotional reactions across time (Kim-Prieto, Diener, Tamir, Scollon, & Diener, 2005).
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.
Happiness is a state characterized by contentment and general satisfaction with one’s current situation.
It is possible to differentiate between different levels of happiness:
1 Sufficient food, clothing, housing
Absence of hunger, cold, pain
Mainly sensory-based feelings
2 Appropriate safety, emotional stability
Absence of danger, fear
3 A well-structured self-image, self-acceptation
Absence of stress, anxiety
4 Being part of a social structure
Social acceptation by others, the capacity for focused attention
5 Having knowledge and understanding
Knowledgeable regarding to cognitive structures who relate to the external
world, control over ones thought processes
6 Leading a meaningful existence
A heightened alertness to inequality, having multiple perspectives
7 A stoic approach to life
Absence of psychological dependence on external factors
An integrated life
8 A state of equilibrium
Access to other realms of consciousness
9 A state of tranquility
Effortless meditative state, serenity
10 A state of transcendence
Sense of wholeness, mirror-mind, perceiving without categorising
11 A unitary life (‘Nirvana’)
A permanent unbroken meditative state, pure awareness, Salvation
12 Spiritual enlightenment
Spiritual illumination, a state of supreme liberation