Definition Of Happiness (Essay Sample)

Definition of Happiness

Happiness is the state of comfort that includes living a good life with a deep satisfaction. The word happiness is translated from Eudaimonia a Greek concept that refers to a good life. However, happiness is not as a result of rebounding from one joy to another, but it basically involves a considerable time of discomfort. According to research in the psychology of happiness, happiness is explained through an individual who experiences regular positive emotions, interest, infrequent negative feelings as well as joy (Sheldon et al., 2012). Happiness is also defined as life appreciation, life satisfaction, moments of inclination that are accompanied by positive emotions. The ancient Greeks explained happiness as the joy that a person feels when struggling after one’s potential. According to Michael J. Fox, happiness is an aspect that develops in a direct proportion with one’s acceptance and also in opposite proportion to one’s expectation (Sheldon et al., 2012). Therefore, happiness is a serious business that should not be assumed because the quest for happiness is an expedition in many levels and also in life facets. Different experts like scientists, sociologists, psychologists, purveyors, and philosophers have different views on happiness. Accordingly, it is essential to understand what happiness means.

Happiness as a Process

Happiness is a process and it has become a personal as well as a national goal. According to the researchers, Denmark is referred to as the happiest country worldwide along with Australia, Switzerland, and Iceland (Feldman, 2012). Nevertheless, the comparative distance between commercial fantasy and real happiness in the society, for example, is the same distance with a trip taken from earth to moon (Chittister, 2011). Scientifically, it is within the knowledge of technology that gets people to the moon, therefore, lack of money to get one to the moon could make one feel like undeveloped human being. It is possible that many people need money in their lives which is believed to be an essence of happiness, to get things they require to make them feel happy (Chittister, 2011). Furthermore, happiness is derived from being suffused in the truths of life to enable a person to learn how to survive as well as how to get over the foundations of them and evolve from their roots. In this form of reflection, happiness comes from meaningless life events and develop into a principle of our lives. For example, when an individual watches his or her failures in despair and then becomes supercilious at their first success means that happiness is a process that encompasses sour as well as sweet moments (Chittister, 2011). Happiness is also a process that brings people to understand why what happened had to happen (Chittister, 2011). This means that happiness is the point that people accepts things that happen as significant for their growth. Also, it is the point that everyone understands the essence of the fullness of life by feeling complete with oneself and coming to a point at which everyone gives his or herself away to a greater thing than one’s self. In life, it is important to develop skills for living by discovering what it takes for one to be happy.

Theories of Happiness

In the present days, happiness is highly valued. However, there are different prominent theories that define happiness in different ways and also explain different methods of achieving happiness. Theories of happiness view the assessment of its concept in two distinctions, for instance, the probability of a good life as well as the actual results of life. The three theories of happiness are hedonism theory, cognitive theory, and affect theory.

Hedonism Theory

Hedonism theory explains happiness as an aspect of personal feelings, moods, and emotions which holds different proportions such as pleasant or unpleasant and active or inactive (Veenhoven, 2010). A happy life increases the feeling of desire and also increases pain. However, this theory states that a happy soul is ebullient, smile more and the pleasures of this soul are strong and the discomforts are few. When one assesses how well he or she feels, typically one estimates the level of happiness in moods, feelings as well as emotions. Therefore, this is referred to as the hedonic level (Veenhoven, 2010). The hedonic level of an individual can be assessed in different periods over a lifetime, for example, the happiness experienced by oneself in a week.  According to this theory, eating a nice meal and listening to music can be fundamentally pleasurable since these activities encompass an element of happiness, therefore concluding that happiness eliminates pain (Veenhoven, 2010).

Cognitive Theory

The cognitive theory defines happiness as a result of human thinking and represents the differences in life discernments and the concepts of the way life is supposed to be (Veenhoven, 2010). The basic hypothesis of this theory holds that happiness is centered on the assessment of standards of living. However, standards are suggested to be variable instead of being fixed and therefore follows the discernments of possibilities. The cognitive theory states that happiness relies on the standards which the conditions of life are judged (Veenhoven, 2010). Therefore, the smaller the difference between standard and the reality, the greater the happiness. Furthermore, it is assumed that many people use their thinking to evaluate the quality of their life; therefore, it is rational to believe that there is a great connection between happiness and perceived successes. Achievements are suggested to be essential goals that add more happiness to people’s lives. For example, individuals who have financial achievements shows happiness uplift.

Affect Theory

The affect theory defines happiness as a reflection of how people feel such as feeling good (Veenhoven, 2010). Happiness is also viewed as a desirable state that signals good adaptation in an individual thus enhancing desirable behaviour. However, in this approach, it is possible to develop more happiness by improving the environment liveability. According to this theory, it is impossible for a person to be happy while feeling depressed. Therefore, it is possible for people to be unhappy while in basic human feelings like loneliness and hunger (Veenhoven, 2010). Rational feelings are therefore the main way to define happiness because adaption to a lively state is signalled by how an individual feels either good or bad. The ability to feel happy can be structured by the human brain and other body parts that are positioned within the human neocortex region.


Happiness is an emotional and mental form of well-being that can be expressed in pleasant and positive emotions. Happiness is caused by different factors like materialistic things, award and also love. However, different experts have been giving different definitions of happiness such as happiness as an aspect that develops in a direct proportion with one’s acceptance and also in opposite proportion to one’s expectations. Nevertheless, there are several theories of happiness like hedonism theory, cognitive theory and affect theory that gives different views on happiness. Happiness has therefore been defined as an aspect of personal feelings, moods, and emotions which holds different proportions such as pleasant or unpleasant and active or inactive.


  • Chittister, J. (2011). Happiness. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.
  • Feldman, F. (2012). What is this thing called happiness? New York, N.Y: Oxford University Press.
  • Sheldon, K. M., Boehm, J. K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012). Variety is the spice of happiness: The hedonic adaptation prevention (HAP) model. Oxford handbook of happiness, 901-914.
  • Veenhoven, R. (2010). Greater happiness for a greater number. Journal of happiness studies, 11(5), 605-629.
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