There are different types of happiness: and they’re all important

There are different types of happiness: and they’re all important

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, because it’s so important and so often forgotten or ignored, but happiness means different things to different people.

Which isn’t all that surprising because even if you ask the “experts”, they’ll have different definitions of happiness.

All of which is fine. As long as you’re mindful of which type of happiness you’re thinking about and/or which type of happiness you’re working to enjoy more of.

So today, I thought I’d run through just a few examples of happiness to prompt you to more carefully consider which one or ones are most relevant and desirable to you …

  • first up, the most obvious and in some ways the simplest type of happiness is the type that’s one of the many forms of positive emotion. There are many positive emotions, including happiness and joy, calm and contentment, and these are all, by definition, pleasurable. They’re also good for us. But they’re also relatively short-lived and superficial
  • which brings me to a deeper and more enduring form of “happiness” which can be defined not so much by answering, “how are you feeling right now?” but more by considering, “taking everything into account, how satisfied are you with your life overall?” This type of happiness is more akin to life satisfaction or quality of life and is less susceptible to the ebbs and flows of daily life
  • and then you have interpersonal happiness – or the type of contentment that comes from feeling connected and a sense of belonging
  • meaning and purpose which comes from believing in something greater than your individual life or circumstances
  • maybe even physical happiness that’s related to the quality of your wellbeing (including things like adequate sleep and cardiovascular health or the absence of illness)
  • and finally, although this list is by no means exhaustive, one could consider happiness in the context of spirituality, vocation, family and thoughts about the future

The point is, we can think about happiness in many different ways. Which is exciting. How do you think about happiness and could you benefit from broadening or adding to your definition(s)?