The 2 Types of HappinessNathalie H
“The (exclusive) pursuit of pleasure is the ambition of a pig.” – Einstein.
In late 2015, during my sabbatical, I attended a Mindfulness conference near Amsterdam and was introduced to the concept of hedonic and eudaimonic happiness.
I still remember the exact moment and the scene. During the morning tea break, Martin Strom and Maria Strom were sitting outside enjoying the sunshine with a few other colleagues and I joined the conversation. They had recently completed a workshop on compassion training and were sharing their reflections-insights. When Martin explained the difference between hedonic and eudaimonic happiness I had this light bulb moment. I recall exactly how I mentally said to myself – “Wow! There is actually a name for that which I always knew in my heart!”. I was so glad to know there was actually a term as such and that idea I had in mind for so long was an actual THING!
Those terms were coined originally by Aristoteles, the Greek philosopher. A simple translation would be:
- Hedonic Happiness: Achieved by the pursuit of sensual pleasures – think 5 senses.
- Eudaimonic Happiness: Achieved when one is living according to their virtues, striving to meet their potential and be their best selves, which leads to a greater purpose, meaning, and self-actualisation.
To learn more about this topic:
- Watch the fascinating (and hilarious!) discussion between Allan Wallace and Tenzin Palmo in this 30 minutes video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNUyOX-yw34
- Check this article – https://www.thoughtco.com/eudaimonic-and-hedonic-happiness-4783750#:~:text=Hedonic%20happiness%20is%20achieved%20through,well%2Dbeing%20in%20different%20ways.
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