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Forms Of Happiness

Happiness is an emotion experienced by people who are doing well in one way or another in their lives. When experiencing happiness, a person is usually joyous and content. According to studies on happiness, it can exist in either of two forms but can have many variations. Some studies have also shown that happiness or lack of happiness can affect a person’s genes. Following is a discussion of these aspects of happiness.

Types of happiness

It is possible to derive contentment from either of two situations. One, a person can be happy because he feels his or her life is purposeful. This type of happiness is referred to as eudaimonic. A good example of such a person is an individual who engages in charity. His main goal is to get other people out of misery. When he achieves his goal, he is content. The other type of happiness happens as a reaction to some stimulus or behaviour and is referred to as hedonic. A good example of a person in this category is a businessman whose main goal is to make money. The more money he or she makes, the happier the person becomes. Irrespective of the form of happiness a person experiences, it can be in any of three variations: momentary, good day or lifetime happiness. Just as the names suggest, the duration of these variations of happiness are not the same. Moreover, experiencing one variation of happiness could hinder happiness of another variation. For instance, skipping work or a business meeting in order to have fun can enable someone experience a good day but miss out on lifetime happiness.

Genetic effects resulting from happiness

A study conducted on a sample of individuals experiencing either eudaimonic or hedonic showed that the two categories of people underwent differing biological changes. The process used in this study involved measuring of conserved transcriptional response to adversity, which is simply known as CTRA. CTRA examines genes for inflammation levels and antiviral activities. People who experienced eudaimonic happiness barely had any inflammation on their genetic profiles and their genes had quite strong antibody and antiviral attributes. On the other hand, individuals who experienced hedonic type of happiness showed results opposite to those of the other group.

Irrespective of the form of happiness that someone experiences, a person undergoes a phase of well being during moments of happiness. However, the study on genetic profiles indicates that eudaimonic happiness is better than hedonic happiness.


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