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As I mentioned in a previous post: you can create your own happiness. Important to know: positive psychology as philosophy distinguishes two aspects: the hedonic and the eudaimonic happiness. You can have both.


Having flowers all around me, seeing and smelling them always makes me happy.

Hedonic happiness is fleeting and related to sensual pleasures or positive feelings. This is the way that people usually think of happiness.

We experience eudaimonic happiness when we pursue activities we are fully engaged in and that give meaning and purpose to our life.

Is Happiness Overrated?

In her article Is Happiness Overrated?  Shirley S. Wang writes:

“Raising children, volunteering or going to medical school may be less pleasurable day to day. But these pursuits give a sense of fulfillment, of being the best one can be, particularly in the long run.”

She also quotes Carol Ryff from the University of Wisconsin: “Sometimes things that really matter most are not conducive to short-term happiness.”

What makes us happy?

In my view is while worth to distinguish these two – and to choose happiness twice.

In previous posts we showed how by smiling, body language and thinking we are able to produce positive emotions easily and swiftly – even if we start from a point, where we feel down and sluggish.

This knowledge is going to enhance our capability to stick with longer term goals that are in tune with our mission in life for example and will result in the second kind of happiness.

Hedonic pleasures can be induced through our body (eating chocolate, taking a bath, smelling a flower, watching someone smiling at us) whereas the mind is more involved in the pursuit of the lasting joy we get from pursuing and achieving a goal and living on purpose.

The more conscious you are about these things, the easier it gets to be happy every single day!

As an example, I share with you what made me happy today:

  • Connecting with a colleague by skype, sharing ideas and asking each other questions.
  • Getting feedback from a client about what she could apply in her life after a session with me.
  • Having the freedom to take the afternoon off to visit an exhibition of Rodin (I love modern art).
  • Having tea and three sorts of delicious cake in lovely company.
  • Playing the piano
  • Talking to my partner on the phone who is in Stockholm.
  • Getting clarity about an issue and taking a decision
  • Anticipating: Hitting on the “publish” button in 10 minutes


Take five minutes to think (and even better write down):

What made you happy today?

Are these things / activities hedonic or eudaimonic?

Do you find 3 to 5 things for each category?


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Patricia Mauerhofer
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