In psychology, happiness goes by well-being, subjective well-being, happiness, etc. But, what exactly is ‘happiness’? A lot of people have a lot of definitions of happiness and well-being. Some say happiness is when we are loved by the people around us. Others say that happiness is when you are grateful for what you have in life.
Meanwhile, the APA Dictionary of Psychology (VandenBos, 2015) explained happiness as an emotion of joy, gladness, satisfaction, and well-being. Also, APA defines well-being as a state of happiness and contentment, with low levels of stress, overall good physical and mental health outlook, or good quality of life.
So, what do you think happiness/well-being means?
Me? I’d love to go by the definition of subjective well-being which means our appraisal of our level of happiness and life satisfaction, thinking, and feeling that our life is going well.
Thinking and feeling are the two main aspects of subjective well-being. Scientifically, the aspects are called affective well-being and cognitive well-being. Affective well-being is referred to as the presence of pleasant affect versus the absence of unpleasant affect, while cognitive well-being refers to one’s evaluation of life overall and of specific life experiences.
You might be wondering why am I bringing this issue? Let me explain.
The question of ‘how to be happy?’ has always been on my mind since I was very little. And the opportunity to enter university and learn psychology opened up my way to know how exactly can we reach happiness. So I decided to start learning what happiness is, but in the end, I fell in love with the concept of subjective well-being instead.
Usually, the aspects of one concept such as happiness, or self-management are easier to understand, and also more practical. Therefore, we will be able to understand more and decide what should we do to reach happiness or self-management regarding to the aspects.
And by knowing how important affective well-being and cognitive well-being, I can always evaluate how am I doing. Asking myself, am I happy with my life, do I feel ‘well’, or am I satisfied with my life now. And every time I realized that I’m not doing well, I can try to find the problem and deal with it.
It makes my life a lot easier than before because I know when I am or am not happy and help myself try to make peace with the problem.
So, maybe, you can start knowing if you’re happy or not by asking yourself “How do I feel nowadays? Do I smile more or the opposite, I frown more? Am I satisfied with my job? Is this relationship making me happy most of the time or the opposite?”
Happiness is simple, no need to make it complicated ;)