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Mindful : June 2018
By Kelle Walsh two types of happiness: hedonic (pos- itive feelings associated with pleasure or goal fulfillment) and eudaimonic (positive feelings derived from pursu- ing meaning). Hedonic is about in-the-moment pleasure. It’s the pursuit of enjoy- ment—fun for fun’s sake. It’s focused on your own wants and needs and has an energetic, upbeat quality. Eudaimonic (pronounced u-duh- MOH-nic) is more about fulfilling your higher potential instead of an immedi- ate desire. It’s associated with things like seeing the big picture, aligning yourself with a larger purpose, and helping others. While both can evoke good feelings, current measurements of straight-up → The Happiness Debate Scientists are weighing what it really means to be happy—and their findings aren’t so straightforward. Over the past decade social scien- tists have taken a deep dive into what seems like a straightforward question: What makes us happy? The pursuit of pleasure? The absence of hardship and difficulty? Or, seen from a longer view, the feeling that your life has meant something? The answer has proven less obvious, and largely depends on whom you talk to. When it comes to the science of happiness, researchers still don’t fully agree on how to measure it or, even, a clear definition of what “happiness” is. Take, for example, the widely reported and controversial “happi- ness gap” finding that parents are less happy than people who don’t have children. One of many studies, a sur- vey of 397 adults, found that parenting may provide meaning in life but not necessarily happiness. But when researchers from the University of California, Riverside, measured both happiness and mean- ing together, parents, in general, came out happier and more satisfied in their lives than people without children. “When you feel happy, and you take out the meaning part of happiness, it’s not really happiness,” researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky told Greater Good Science Center. Differences like this have spurred a new inquiry into what actually quali- fies as happiness. And it’s generated new interest in a 2,500-year-old theory that there are 26 mindful June 2018 LIVING | inner wisdom