What is Happiness?

“Welcome to the 26 days of Happiness! Today is day 7. Please meet featured author Emma Coller from the soon to be released book: The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, 25 Tools for Happiness, sharing their inspiring story!”

Twenty-five amazing people have come together to change the world with their words; each one sharing courageous stories which unveiled an incredible tool that supported their happiness. Tools which we hope will impact your happiness too.

But what is happiness?

In her book, The How of Happiness, Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, a positive psychologist and author, describes happiness as:

“The experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

Happiness is a complex theory, a good starting point is understanding there are two elements to the concept, eudaemonic and hedonic happiness.

Hedonic Happiness

This type of happiness refers to pleasure-seeking activities, things that bring us immediate joy. Every one of us is as unique as a snowflake, what brings each of us immediate joy will be different.

Personally, I love clothes. Buying new things brings me immediate pleasure. But one of the problems with this type of happiness is that it doesn’t last.

There is a theory called hedonic adaptation, which has shown that we have a baseline of happiness, and whilst we may experience a short increase in immediate hedonic joy, it doesn’t last, and we quickly return to our previous baseline. This is why people who win the lottery are not necessarily happier as a result.

Eudaemonic Happiness

The other type of happiness is eudaemonic happiness, which comes from experiences that are meaningful and have a purpose. These types of experiences, where we are able to use our strengths and values, increase our overall well-being and enable us to develop optimal flourishing, leaving us with a sense of gratitude that serves our wellbeing in the longer term.

Research conducted by Bronnie Ware and detailed in her book The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying found that one regret was “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” There is no mention of, “I wish I had bought more shoes.”

For me, true happiness is about having a balanced combination of both hedonic pleasure and meaningful experiences.

There was a time when I didn’t know there were two different elements, and I spent a lot of time searching for the hedonic one. When we just pursue hedonic happiness, we can find ourselves needing more and more to gain the same pleasure and it can end up having the opposite effect from happiness.

Being armed with information is powerful. Having the knowledge of these definitions has made a huge difference to my own life and that of those I work with. Once we are aware, we can make different choices, be conscious about what we focus on and that in turn influences our ability to be well. There are numerous incredible research-backed tools you can use to engage in and increase your eudaemonic well-being.

Here are a few ideas for you to try:

*Express gratitude

*Complete an act of kindness

*Connect with another person

*Practice self-care

I discuss in my chapter of the book, the power of reflection as an important tool for our well-being, so if you do engage in any of the tasks, reflect on how it made you feel. When we consciously reflect, we are taking positive action to change our habits, arming ourselves with the ability to grow into our optimal selves and experience happiness on a daily basis.

Be consciously happy!


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A super simple way to happiness! Meet the Author of Chapter 18 David D McLeod, DD, Ph.D., CMLC: HAPPINESS HYPERLISTING | ULTIMATE JOURNALING FOR AUTHENTIC JOY

Mark your calendar, 2021 will be a year filled with happiness! February 11, pick up your copy of The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, 25 Tools for Happiness!

Join us in the  to take part in our special events and connect with all the authors!

The Wellness Universe is here to serve your best well-being. If you are experiencing anxiety, grief, overwhelm, guilt, anger, or seeking ways to cope and get help for stress, relationships, parenting, or any other issue during this challenging time, we have wonderful resources for you to connect with. Our WU Best Help members are offering reduced rates, sliding scale payment options, and even pro-bono sessions. 

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