What Distinguishes Eudaimonic From Hedonic Happiness?
There are numerous ways to define happiness. Hedonic and eudaimonic happiness are two widely accepted definitions of happiness in psychology. Eudaimonic happiness is attained through meaningful and purposeful events, whereas hedonic happiness is attained through pleasant and enjoyable experiences. Both types of happiness can be attained and have differing effects on general wellbeing.
• Hedonic happiness, or pleasure and enjoyment, and eudaimonic happiness, or meaning and purpose, are two different ways that psychologists define happiness.
• Either the hedonic or eudaimonic theories of happiness are supported by certain psychologists. However, most agree that for humans to thrive, they need both hedonia and eudaimonia.
• According to hedonic adaptation, no matter what happens in their lives, people return to a certain level of happiness that they set.
What Is Happiness?
Happiness is hard to define, even though we can recognize it when we experience it. Although happiness is a pleasant emotional state, how each person perceives that positive emotional state will vary. The timing and causes of happiness might depend on a number of variables, including society, values, and personality attributes.
Psychologists frequently refrain from using the phrase in their studies due to the difficulties in defining happiness. Psychologists instead talk about wellbeing. Though ultimately it might be viewed as a synonym for happiness, psychological research's conceptualization of well-being has helped researchers better define and quantify it.
However, there are various ideas about what it means to be happy even here. For instance, according to Diener and his colleagues, subjective well-being is a culmination of pleasant feelings and one's level of appreciation for and satisfaction with their existence. Ryff and his coworkers countered Diener's hedonic perspective on subjective well-being by offering the concept of psychological well-being as a substitute.
Psychological well-being, as opposed to subjective well-being, is assessed using six self-actualization-related constructs: autonomy, personal growth, life purpose, self-acceptance, mastery, and positive relationships with others.
The History Of The Hedonic Happiness Idea:
A Greek philosopher named Aristippus first proposed the concept of hedonic happiness in the fourth century B.C. He argued that the main purpose of life should be to maximize pleasure. This hedonistic perspective has been held by many thinkers throughout history, including Hobbes and Bentham. Psychologists that take a hedonic approach to studying happiness and cast a wide net by defining hedonia in terms of both mental and physical pleasures.
In this perspective, happiness therefore entails elevating pleasure while lowering suffering.Hedonic bliss is frequently promoted as the ultimate objective in American culture. Popular culture frequently presents an extroverted, sociable, and joyful picture of life. As a result, Many Americans think that hedonism in all its forms is the best path to happiness.
The History Of The Eudaimonic Happiness Idea:
Despite receiving less attention in American culture as a whole, eudaimonic bliss is just as significant in studies on happiness and well-being. Similar to hedonia, the idea of eudaimonia was initially put forth by Aristotle in his book, Nicomachean Ethics, in the fourth century B.C. Aristotle believed that living a life in accordance with one's values would lead to happiness. According to him, people continually try to live up to their potential and be their best selves, which results in more purpose and meaning in life.
Like the hedonic perspective, the eudaimonic approach was supported by a number of philosophers, including Plato, Marcus Aurelius, and Kant. Psychological theories that promote a eudaimonic view of human happiness and flourishing include Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which places self-actualization as the ultimate aspiration in life.
Studies On Eudaimonic And Hedonic Happiness:
Many psychologists who study happiness agree that both types of happiness are essential to achieve optimal well-being, despite the fact that some of them approach the topic from a solely hedonic or completely eudaimonic perspective. For instance, Henderson and colleagues showed that hedonic behaviors boosted pleasant feelings and life satisfaction and helped regulate emotions, while also reduced negative emotions, tension, and sadness in a study comparing hedonic and eudaimonic behaviors.
Eudaimonic behaviour, or the feeling one gets when one sees moral goodness, on the other hand, led to more elevating experiences and a better sense of meaning in life. This research suggests that in order to achieve the highest levels of enjoyment, both hedonic and eudaimonic actions are required.
Hedonic adaptation, often known as the "hedonic treadmill," asserts that, in general, humans have a baseline of happiness that they return to no matter what happens in their lives. Eudaimonic and hedonic happiness both seem to serve a purpose in general well-being. So, even while hedonic experiences like attending a party, indulging in a good meal, or receiving an award cause brief spikes in pleasure and delight, the novelty soon wears off and people revert to their usual levels of contentment.
According to psychological studies, everyone has a certain level of happiness. The three factors that go into that set point have been identified by psychologist Sonya Lyubomirsky, along with how important each one is. Her estimates show that heredity determines 50% of a person's happiness set point. Another 10% is the result of uncontrollable conditions, such as the place of birth and the nature of one's parents. Finally, a person has control over 40% of their happy set point. So, while we may influence our level of happiness to some extent, more than half of it is governed by factors outside of our control.
When one partakes in transient pleasures, hedonic adaptation is most likely to happen. The mood can temporarily improve with this kind of delight, though. Increased eudaimonic activity is one technique to prevent a return to your happiness set point. Hedonistic activities, which need little to no work to enjoy, demand less thought and effort than meaningful activities, such engaging in hobbies.
However, eudaimonic activities become increasingly successful over time, while hedonic activities become less effective. While this may give the impression that eudaimonia is the way to happiness, there are occasions when it is not feasible to partake in activities that provide eudaimonic delight. Treating yourself to a straightforward hedonic pleasure, such as eating dessert or listening to your favourite music, can frequently be a quick mood enhancer that involves a lot less work than partaking in a eudaimonic activity if you're feeling down or worried. Eudaimonia and hedonia, then, both contribute to one's general happiness and wellbeing.