The Wall Street Journal points to research that shows the American emphasis on materialism and status, associated with hedonistic happiness, has resulted in a decreased focus on community and pursuing a greater purpose (besides making tons of money) in life. This shift could explain the increase in depression, paranoia, and psychopathology among young people. Instead of chasing short-term pleasures like an expensive vacation, eating a gourmet meal, or indulging in a guilty-pleasure viewing of The Bachelor, activities like raising children, volunteering, or pursuing a higher degree have a more positive impact on our well-being, even if they're not enjoyable day to day.
None of this comes as a surprise really — it's just another way to say long-term investments, like raising a family and nurturing valuable relationships, come with greater rewards. But while the research points out that hedonistic happiness and eudaimonic happiness are not necessarily mutually exclusive, its also makes a somewhat unexpected and ironic conclusion: pursuing pleasure for its own sake will not only leave us unfulfilled, but could actually make us depressed.