09 Jun 5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself for Long-Lasting Happiness
via Well & Good by Emily Laurence
If a search for “secret to happiness,” which leads to over 345 million Google results is any indicator, clearly, the question of how to feel pleasure and contentment is an elusive one. It would be great if there was one simple, universal answer, wouldn’t it? But part of the reason the pursuit is so complex is that “happiness” looks totally different for different people.
That’s why a major key is finding out what it means to you. According to psychologist and Detox Your Thoughts ($19) author Andrea Bonior, PhD, there are two types of happiness: hedonic and eudaimonic. Both are important, but will vary in how they appear from person to person. “Hedonic happiness is about feeling good and pleasure,” she says, explaining that one example of this is savoring a delicious meal. “Eudaimonic happiness is connected to a deeper sense of fulfillment. It’s a sense of feeling connected to what matters to you, even when things aren’t always happy or joyful.”
Dr. Bonior says that hedonic happiness is important for feeling joy in the moment, but eudaimonic happiness is what’s truly important for long-lasting contentedness. She explains that it’s impossible to be happy all the time—life is bound to throw you some curveballs and sometimes bad stuff happens—but eudaimonic happiness is about a deep-rooted sense of life satisfaction that can remain steady even during difficult periods.
Chances are, you can probably think of what gives you the type of pleasure related to hedonic happiness. Maybe it’s losing yourself in a 45-minute boxing class or going out to dinner with your partner. But pinpointing eudaimonic happiness is a bit tricker. To help you figure out what it means for yourself, Dr. Bonior recommends asking yourself five key questions about happiness, which she explains in detail below.
5 questions about happiness to ask yourself
1. What would you do with a totally free day?
“Part of eudaimonic happiness involves figuring out what our values are and how we can put our values into play each day,” Dr. Bonior says. If you don’t know what your values are, she says asking yourself the question of what you would do on a totally free day can help. And she’s not talking about a day where you’re completely burned out and all you want to do is eat dumplings and watch Netflix. She’s talking about a day where you wake up completely rested with no chores to do. How would you spend it?
For one person, a free day may look like going to an outdoor cafe and reading a good book with their phone completely turned off. Another may want to do something adventurous, like camp under the stars. Someone else may choose to spend their free day all alone, while others would prefer it to be more social. When asking yourself this “free day” question, Dr. Bonior says to pay attention to the aspects of it that mean something to you. Then, think about ways you can integrate these values into your everyday life. While most people don’t get to live out their dream free day every day, you can still find ways to take parts of it—like doing something adventurous, social, or alone—into your life more regularly…
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