The Motion Machine - Why Meaningful Happiness is Better Than Pleasurable Happiness


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What does happiness mean to you? Often times people think of happiness in two different ways.

The common view of happiness is hedonic well-being – which is the belief that happiness is based on the amount of joyful and pleasurable experiences you have. This is the kind of happiness you get from eating a delicious piece of cake, or winning the lottery, or having sex. It’s basically “feeling good.”

The other view of happiness is eudaimonic well-being – which is the belief that happiness is based on having a sense of purpose and meaning in life. This is the kind of happiness you get from following your passion, helping others, contributing to society, and identifying yourself as part of a “bigger picture.”

A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that individuals who scored high on meaningful happiness (or “eduaimonic well-being”) showed healthier gene expression than those who only scored high on pleasurable happiness (or “hedonic well-being”).

The implication of this study is that meaningful happiness can improve our well-being on both a psychological and biological level. Why is this?