A Quick Guide to Happiness!

by twelham on November 3, 2017 - 11:26am

Happiness is something we all experience, but have you ever thought about how you experience it? 


1. Bodily Pleasure This category needs no real introduction, but for me, an example would be eating a chocolate brioche:


This can be seen as "raw" pleasure. It comes from sensations focused on your body’s orifices. The pleasure is “online” for a short period and then fades rapidly. If you think, the first bite of the brioche is always the best!

2. Higher pleasure For me, listening to the following song is a higher pleasure:

A higher pleasure is a more cognitive response to stimuli. It is a compound experience involving several sensory systems as well as more complex cognitive processes.



For some people this is playing a musical instrument; for others, it is sculpting; for children, it can be playing with their favourite toy; for me, it is this:

Flow is a psychological state of "hyperfocus" that accompanies highly engaging activities. You are so totally absorbed by what you are doing that you lose track of time.



Emotions are state-like; they come as a response to a stimulus, and trigger a response, an action tendency ("I'm afraid, so I run away!"). Positive emotions include joy, gratitude, curiosity, and surprise. Like their darker cousins, the negative emotions of fear, anger, anxiety etc. that save our skins, positive emotions also serve an evolutionary purpose by equipping us with greater personal resources and by encouraging pro-social behaviour. To understand emotions, take a quick look at the following trailer (such a pity that Joy is all by herself!):



This is your "trait-like" emotional baseline: your positive affectivity. It varies from person to person but, to a degree, is inherited. You just have to think about Tigger and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh: they both experience positive and negative emotions, but their baseline is so different!

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