How do pleasure and happiness improve your wellbeing?
Wellbeing is about having resources to match our challenges. When we are in a good place it feels like the world is full of opportunities, relationships seem easier, and you personally feel happier and fulfilled.
There is a lot that goes into being in a good place for well-being.
In the 4th century BC, Aristotle advanced the idea that wellbeing has two parts - hedonic and eudemonic wellbeing.
But, what does that mean?
Hedonic comes from the ancient Greeks to describe the pleasure states. Not surprisingly well-being can be an artefact of pleasure. Taking part in scrumptious food, heart-warming friends, being immersed in large gatherings such as concerts or football matches, enjoying alcohol, and the list goes on. Our experience from participating in these activities is of filling up our well-being cup.
Well-being requires balance.
Pleasurable activities trigger our dopamine receptors to give us that uplifted feeling - a little pleasure is productive, too much can be addictive. Conversely taking a stoic approach may undermine well-being. Eliminating our hedonic tendencies ignores the building blocks of the human experience. To productively utilise hedonic well-being, we can frame pleasure as a productive and capability enhancing pleasure.
Eudemonic well-being describes a sense of happiness. For a balanced sense of wellbeing, it is important to be happy. We know those with a positive outlook and inner sense of joy have stable and productive well-being.
The factors that enhance happiness in our lives are individual to us. Examples include having meaning and purpose in the activities of our life, having loving relationships that support us, having a positive attitude to difficult life events, having sound health and wellness, having a sound mind and equanimity, taking breaks from work, exercise, enjoying nature, and again, the list goes on.
In both pleasure and happiness, it's important to identify what builds our individual underlying sense of well-being.
The questions to uncover our eudemonic and hedonic well-being include:
1. What productive and capability enhancing pleasure builds my state of well-being?
2. What activities or relationships bring me happiness and joy?
3. Can I combine productive, pleasurable activities with those that bring me happiness and joy?
Until next time, find a happy and pleasurable place.