Research on well-being has been derived from two main perspectives:
The Eudemonic approach, which focuses on meaning and self-realization and defines Well-Being. Eudemonia is translated as Happiness but Derrick Jansen believes a more accurate definition would be more appropriate: how well your actions match your gifts and who you are. Eudemonia is also about fulfilling the gifts that we share with others: speaking, learning, reasoning and passing over knowledge and traditions.
The Hedonic approach, focuses on happiness and defines Well-Being in terms of pleasure attainment and pain avoidance. Hedonism is more about living a happy life, fulfilling material needs and pleasures and running for ego gratifications.
How to get there?
There are various methods, techniques or models which can help:
The Authentic Happiness Model was introduced by Martin Seligman (Positive Psychology Movement). He speaks of the differences between a pleasant life, a good life and a meaningful life.
-A pleasant life is devoted to positive emotions and can be paralleled with Hedonic Well-Being. Seligman’s research shows that when people engage in hedonic activities (leisure, rest or fun), they experience pleasant feelings, they are therefore more energetic. The concept of satisfaction with life has been firmly allocated into the hedonic camp.
-A good life is the use of dominant strengths to obtain personal gratifications.
-A meaningful life is about using strengths, at the disposal of something greater than oneself.
Seligman’s research shows that those who have a more eudemonic existence (learn and work on developing their potentials) are more satisfied with their lives.
Eudemonic Well-Being is achieved by pursuing one of the following two routes:
Personal development/growth, or Transcendence. Transcendence is a Eudemonic pathway to well-being that is independent of personal development but it is often part of it. Transcendence is related to dedication and commitment to something or somebody else but oneself. It is also related to finding the meaning in one’s life and acting in accordance with it.
The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) developed by Ryan and Deci, is another Eudemonic model.
There are three basic and fundamental needs, which were found in different cultures and times. Everyone needs secure human connections which respect autonomy and facilitate skills.
Carol Ryff’s six components of PWB:
There are plenty of other methods to get you closer to Happiness, you can find the ones that suit you better. They have common elements and directions but working with consciousness and for the good of others, seem to be a much better option!