Why do some people seem happier than others?
Are some people happy because good things happen to them, or do good things happen to them because they’re happy? - Happiness: The Science Behind your Smile
What is happiness?
Happiness to some can feel attainable, but to others it can often feel fleeting. We have a tendency to associate happiness with feelings of joy or contentment, but “when people say how happy they are with their lives, they usually do not mean that they are literally joyful... they mean that... on the balance sheet of pleasures and pains, they feel the balance to be reasonably positive in the long term.”
The study of happiness, also known as hedonics, has become a popular area of study in evolutionary psychology. New research has shown that hedonics may be more attainable than we think.
According to research on the subject of happiness, there are important distinctions between the different ways that we measure happiness. In the book Happiness: The Science Behind your Smile, philosopher Jeremy Bentham makes the distinction between the three levels of happiness.
As we mentioned previously, when we are talking about our overall happiness, we are typically referring to level two or level three happiness. This refers to our overall quality and satisfaction with life. But as research on the subject continues to grow, our level one happiness is what we can focus on in the present moment and it can help develop our level two and three happiness over time.
Research on this subject has shown how the act of smiling can directly influence your mood and make you happier. Even when you don’t feel like it, the act of smiling can boost your level one happiness, which is based mostly on joy and pleasure. It may feel unnatural, but this simple act is proven to boost your mood and make you feel happier. By working on your level one happiness, your level two and three happiness - which are more focused on your overall wellbeing and satisfaction with life - will further develop over time, bringing you one step closer to discovering happiness.
At CARAVAN, we believe that it is important to be aware of your total wellbeing. Implementing simple and easy techniques like this one into your life has been proven to be beneficial to your overall wellbeing.
Join CARAVAN Teacher Ellie as she guides you through her practice on The Power of Smiling:
Nettle, Daniel. Happiness: the Science behind Your Smile. Oxford University Press, 2005.
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