Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

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

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?