The psychology of happiness!


What is the one thing we all are looking for? Happiness! Which is also the one thing we tend to compromise on in return for pleasure, money, and more. But is happiness so easy to gain and lose? If so, why do we see so many frowny faces on the street? Let us discuss this in detail.

I recently read an article on happiness and hormones. While we keep looking for happiness around us, we forget that it is deeply rooted within us and it is we who can bring happiness to our lives.

What is happiness?

According to Aristotle, happiness consists in achieving, through the course of a whole lifetime, all the goods — health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. — that lead to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life. This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very difficult.

According to the work of contemporary philosopher Wayne Sumner, who defined happiness as “a response by a person to her life situations as she sees them,” subjective life satisfaction is a key component of happiness.

The main factors influencing subjective well-being are:

  • satisfaction in life
  • satisfaction in life’s most crucial aspects (for example work, relationships, health)
  • the existence of good feelings
  • minimally negative effects

Since a long time, these four elements have been discussed in philosophical writings on happiness.

Happy hormones

Whether it is sitting with a friend, going on a holiday, or a hug from a loved one, all bring us happiness. But do you between this stimulation and the actual feeling, a lot goes around in our body? Our hormones and neurotransmitter help the brain in communicating, evaluating and understanding the experience. Different neurotransmitter works on different stimuli, but do you notice how much effort your body is making in making you happy?

The chief happiness hormones include:

Dopamine allows you to feel pleasure, satisfaction and motivation. 

Serotonin, or the “feel-good hormone, it plays a key role in staving off anxiety and depression.

Endorphins help relieve pain, reduce stress and improve your sense of well-being

Oxytocin, or the love hormone, is associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building.

ChemicalMood function
Serotoninmood stabiliser, well-being, happiness
Dopaminepleasure, motivational role in the brain’s reward system
OxytocinBonding, love, trust
EndorphinsPain relief, runner’s high, relaxation

Can people be happy?

There are two kinds of happiness, ideal and adaptive. It may sound surprising to many, but in just the next read, you will know what I mean by these two kinds of happiness.

Ideal happiness is complete, lasting and perfect. As stated this happiness is the ideal, that we all yearn for, but is probably outside anyone’s reach.

Adaptive happiness is a factor that may cause happiness to someone. for example, positivity and well-being are closely related to people being confident, exploring their surrounding and focusing on their gals. This too brings them happiness.

Types of happiness

There are diverse perspectives on the concept of happiness. For instance, Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, distinguished between two types of happiness: hedonia and eudaimonia.

Hedonia: Pleasure is the source of hedonic happiness. It is frequently linked to following one’s instincts, taking care of oneself, achieving goals, having fun, and feeling content.
Eudaimonia: This kind of happiness results from desiring goodness and significance. Having a sense of purpose and value in life is a crucial aspect of eudaimonic well-being. It is more frequently linked to carrying out obligations, making long-term investments, caring for the welfare of others, and upholding personal principles.

Similarly, Aritsotle defines 4 levels of happiness

Happiness level 1: Laetus. Happiness from material objects 

Happiness level 2: Felix. Ego gratification. Happiness from comparison: being better, more admired than others etc. 

Happiness level 3: Beatitudo. The happiness from doing good for others and making the world a better place.

Happiness level 4: Sublime Beatitudo. Ultimate, perfect happiness 


You will read multiple articles online about how to be happy. Some of the points include eating healthy, exercising, staying focussed, the one thing to remember is ‘Happiness is personal’. Anything that might give me happiness, may not do the same for you. So, all you have to do is be the best of you and do what makes you happy.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”

Dalai Lama

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