Skip Nav
25 Halloween Costumes For the Most Romantic Couple on the Block
Watch These '90s Romances on Netflix If You're Ready For a Lot of Feelings
2016 Presidential Debates
17 Fabulous Items For the "Nasty Women" of America

What Makes People Happy

Pleasure Won't Make You Happy

Happiness might be overrated, depending on how you define it. On the one hand you have pleasure, or hedonistic happiness, an immediate feeling of satisfaction, amusement, or joy. And on the other, there's contentment, or eudaimonic happiness, which you can think of as a general feeling of well-being and fulfillment. Researchers say pursuing the former might actually make us less happy, while living your life with a sense of purpose could add years to your life.

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.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Around The Web
Join The Conversation
lizlee89 lizlee89 5 years
um, duh. if only everyone lived by this tenant; then maybe the world wouldn't be in such disarray...
Hormonal Birth Control Linked to Depression
How This Woman's Son Saved Her From Suicide
Sadness After Sex is a Real Condition
How Pokemon Go Is Helping Mental Health and Anxiety
Omega-3 Supplements Can Help Reduce Levels of Depression
Running and Meditation For Depression
Tattoo Artist Helps People Cover Scars With Tattoos (Video)

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Love