Not all happiness is the same

Not all happiness is the same

Here at The Happiness Institute we've recognised for quite some time now that different people experience happiness in different ways. And even within the same person, happiness looks and feels different at different times of the day or during different times in our lives. 

There's joy and excitement; and calm and contentment; and everything in between which makes for a full and beautifully coloured spectrum if we recognise all the wonderful varieties of happiness and positive emotion. 

And this is why I'm so happy to share with you this lovely article from the Huffington Post that reviews some interesting research into different types of happiness. Read on and enjoy…

by Art Markman

If you were to stop people randomly on the street and ask them if they were happy, chances are most of them would say, "Yes." Most of us are happy most of the time.

What exactly does it mean to be happy, though?

An interesting paper by Cassie Mogilner, Jennifer Aaker, and Sepandar Kamvar in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that there may be two distinct kinds of happiness. One kind of happiness is a sense of calm well-being. A person sitting by a swimming pool relaxing in the sun is happy in this sense. A second kind of happiness is a feeling of pleasant excitement. A person dancing with friends at a club on a Saturday night is experiencing this kind of happiness.

An interesting aspect of these kinds of happiness is that they seem to be related to people's focus on time. The calm type of happiness is most associated with a focus on the present moment. The excited type of happiness is most associated with a focus on possibilities in the future. As a result, young people are more likely to experience the excited kind of happiness than older people. Older people (who are generally less focused on the future) are more likely to experience the calm type of happiness.

Why does this matter?

These researchers find that the kind of happiness you are experiencing affects the types of products you are interested in buying.

In one study, college-age participants (who are most likely to experience excited happiness naturally) either participated in a control condition that involved a breathing exercise or a meditation condition, in which people were told to focus on the present moment and to let the past and future slip away. The students in the control condition tended to rate that they were feeling more excited than calm, while those in the meditation condition rated themselves as feeling more calm than excited. At the end of the study, as participants were packing up to leave, they were given the chance to select one of two types of tea. One type of tea was described as being a relaxing blend of chamomile and mint, while the other was described as being a refreshing peppermint blend. Participants in the control condition selected the refreshing tea about 60 percent of the time, while those in the meditation condition selected the calming tea about 60 percent of the time.

In a second study…

…keep reading the full and original article HERE