"In America today the popular word for the good life is "happiness." ... The American pursuit of happiness can often look like a compulsive, joyless effort to escape boredom... A people blessed with far more material advantages than any other society has ever enjoyed is not clearly the happiest people on earth. One plain reason is a paltry conception of the good life, or what I have called the highest standard of low living in all history. But this only forces the basic question. What, then, is the good life?"
-P. 115 of "Living Issues with Philosophy" book by Harold H. Titus and Marilyn S. Smith
According to Chris Brady, there are actually 3 “happy” feelings that one can feel. Those are Pleasure, Happiness and Joy. Let’s talk about them in a bit more details:
- Pleasure is the least fulfilling of the 3 because it constantly needs to be worked on in order to keep the good feeling going and it doesn’t last very long. Orrin Woodward once said that “"Pleasure does not bring happiness; it only brings an increasing hunger for more pleasure." Pleasure can be felt while doing such things as playing video-games, watching movies, sex among others. Pleasure requires an external component to trigger the feeling and is short lived. It's at this level that addictions can be found.
- Happiness comes from being proud of yourself for a job well done or through meaning. It’s to see the good sides of life.
- Joy is the ultimate form of “happiness” and there are 4 things to consider to achieve it. Those are (note that I’ve ordered them by importance to me):
- Spiritual - Spirituality is finding your moral compass either by following a religion or by other means. It’s to have a general understanding of the universe and your place in it - to be at peace with it.
- Health - Everything in life gets more difficult if health is an issue. Be sure to eat right, exercise and stay away of agents that are known to cause health issues (such as cigarettes, chemicals …)
- Relationships - This includes friends and family. Robert Putnam once said “Happiness is best predicted by the breadth and depth of one’s social connections.” If you do not find this to be true, then you likely do not have many meaningful relationships.
- Finances - Here, I’m not talking about owning a big house with nice cars but to be financially fit. If you are heavily in debt, it can be very difficult to feel anything else but stress and stress doesn’t bring Joy.