top of page

The meaning and nature of happiness

Nina Szczygiel

University of Aveiro, Research Unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies Department of Economics, Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism, Portugal

e-mail: nina.szczygiel@ua.pt

ORCID: 0000-0001-5026-1629

received:   28.06.2020
corrected:   09.07.2020
accepted: 10.07.2020
Keywords:
happiness, well-being, life-satisfaction, set point, hedonic adaptation, assessment

Abstract

Independently on the origin and background, chances are happiness is on the person’s list of priorities. Happiness has been said to reflect the ultimate purpose of human existence for which efforts and energy are directed. People strive toward a happy and meaningful life but reaching the state does not follow one exact path. A  widely sought-after universal receipt for happiness remains undiscovered. As many people so many ways to pursue happiness. This is because while happiness is clearly perceived when experienced, it is difficult to examine and evaluate. Centuries of ongoing interest supported by research conducted in different scientific disciplines still bring new findings and open the door to further research work.

In this paper, we present theoretical foundations of happiness and provide a range of perspectives that delineate the understanding of happiness. We present main characteristics and key determinants that manifest in happiness studies, and discuss challenges of embracing and measuring happiness in the modern world.

References

  1. Andreou, E., Roussi-Vergou, C., Didaskalou, E., & Skrzypiec, G. (2020). School bullying, subjective well-being, and resilience. Psychology in the Schools, 57 (8), 1193–1207.

  2. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. (WD Ross, Trans., 1999) Kitchener: Batoche Books. Internet Classics Archive. Retrieved May 1, 2020, from http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html

  3. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. (H. Treddenick, Trans., 2004). London: Penguin.

  4. Brickman, P. & Campbell, DT (1971). Hedonic relativism and planning the good society. In MH Apley (Ed.), Adaptation Level Theory: A Symposium (pp. 287–302). New York: Academic Press.

  5. Diener, E. (1994). Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities. Social Indicators Research, 31, 103–157. doi: 10.1007 / 978- 90-481-2354-4_3

  6. Diener, E., Lucas, R., & Scollon, C. (2006). Beyond the hedonic treadmill: Revising the adaptation theory of well-being. American Psychologist, 61 (4), 305-314. doi: https: //doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.61.4.305

  7. Haybron, D. (2020). Happiness. In EN Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved June 1, 2020, from https: // plato. stanford.edu/archives/sum2020/entries/happiness

  8. Holmes, CM (2018, November 19). What kind of happiness do people value most? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 13, 2020, from https://hbr.org/2018/11/what-kind-of-happiness-do-people-value-most

  9. Jebb, AT, Tay, L., Diener, E., & Oishi, S. (2018). Happiness, income satiation and turning points. Nature Human Behavior, 2, 33–38. doi: https: //doi.org/10.1038/s41562-017-0277-0

  10. Kahneman, D. (2010, February). The riddle of experience vs. memory. TED2010. [Video file]. Retrieved March 14, 2020, from https: // www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahneman_the_riddle_of_experience_vs_memory?language=en

  11. Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York, NY: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux. Kahneman, D. & Riss, J. (2005). Living, and thinking about it: Two perspectives on life. In F. Huppert, N. Baylis, & B. Keverne (Eds.), The Science of Well-Being (pp. 285-304). Oxford University Press.  doi: 10.1093 / acprof: oso / 9780198567523.003.0011

  12. Kahneman, D., Schkade, DA, Fischler, C., Krueger, AB, & Krilla, A. (2010). The structure of well-being in two cities: Life satisfaction and experienced happiness in Columbus, Ohio; and Rennes, France. In E. Diener, JF Helliwell, & D. Kahneman, International Differences in Well-Being (pp. 16-33). New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

  13. Keyes, CL (2006). Mental health in adolescence: Is America's youth flourishing? American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76 (3), 395–402. doi: 10.1037 / 0002-9432.76.3.395

  14. Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness: A scientific approach to getting the life you want. New York: The Penguin Press.

  15. Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, KM, & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of Gener al Psychology, 9 (2), 111–131. doi: https: //doi.org/10.1037/1089- 2680.9.2.111

  16. Mandel, A. (2018, October 7). Why Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman gave up on happiness. Haaretz. Retrieved July 3, 2020, from https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINEwhy-nobel-prize-winner-daniel-kahneman-gave-up-on-happiness-1.6528513

  17. Moeinaddini, M., Asadi-Shekari, Z., Aghaabbasi, M., Saadi, I., Shah, MZ, & Cools, M. (2020). Applying non-parametric models to ex plore urban life satisfaction in European cities. Cities, 105, 102851. doi: https: //doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2020.102851

  18. Shaver, P., Schwartz, J., Kirson, D., & O'Connor, G. (1987). Emotion knowledge: Further exploration of a  prototype approach. Journal of Personality aid Social Psychology, 52 (6), 1061–1086. doi: 10.1037 // 0022-3514.52.6.1061

  19. Stearns, PN (2012). The history of happiness. Harvard Business Review, 90 (1-2), 104–153

bottom of page