3 Kinds of Happiness
Which do you prefer?
This week marks one year and one month removed since I began my journey towards a master’s degree in positive psychology. As you may recall, positive psychology is the science of well-being. Therefore, in our introductory course, we were introduced to competing ideas regarding what a good life is. What does it look like? And who gets to define whether my life is a good one?
In reviewing the literature, we learned that leading theorists posited two such good lives characterized by either hedonic or eudaimonic happiness. Hedonic well-being refers to a life of pleasure and happiness, while eudaimonic well-being refers to a life filled with meaning and virtue. And low and behold, just this week, I discover that while we were plowing through our piles of introductory lit on positive psychology, the science of well-being was evolving further. By that time, a third form of happiness had been posited: psychological richness. This, according to the authors Dr. Shigehiro Oishi and Dr. Erin Westgate, involves “a life characterized by a variety of interesting and perspective-changing experiences.”
I became so enamored of this idea of psychological richness that I have included not one, but two articles on it in this week’s MM. The first of these is written by one of the preeminent psychologists of today, Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman. The second article is by Dr. Bella DePaolo. The clarity of her presentation was such that it dissuaded me from writing my own!
After reading either of these two articles, which life resonates for you as “the good life”? Is it one rich in pleasure, meaning and virtue, or psychological richness? Or a combination thereof? If you could live only one of these lives, which would it be?