eudaimonic

Eudaimonic Well-Being —

“Is happiness enough for a good life? This question is becoming increasingly prominent in positive psychology. Is feeling good an adequate measure of someone’s quality of life? Do we really know what it means to be subjectively well when we assess someone’s subjective well-being?

Problems with existing approaches to happiness

Many researchers believe we don’t, saying that the current definition of well-being came about almost accidentally: first of all, researchers wanted to develop well-being questionnaires (because they needed to evaluate various interventions), then they derived the definition of well-being from these questionnaires, without paying much attention to whether they actually captured the richness of human wellness and happiness.

It is probably true to say that contemporary literature on well-being largely ignores the contributions of humanistic and existential thinkers like Maslow, Rogers, Jung and Allport. It also doesn’t pay much attention to the complexity of philosophical conceptions of happiness, even though philosophy has dealt with this subject since long before psychology even existed.

Can someone be truly fulfilled without knowing what he or she is living for, what the point is, the meaning of one’s existence? Is it possible to be truly well without moving a finger to change something in oneself, without growing and developing as a person? This is what is missing from the current mainstream theories of well-being - the notions of growth, self-actualisation and meaning.

The current theories of well-being seem to give a one-sided, rather bare picture of well-being. In fact, what they do seem to cover quite well is the notion of hedonism - striving for maximisation of pleasure (positive affect) and minimisation of pain (negative affect). This hedonic view can be traced to Aristippus, a Greek philosopher who believed that the goal of life is to experience maximum pleasure, and later on to Utilitarian philosophers.

An alternative to hedonic happiness

Recently, another approach to a good life has risen out of the historical and philosophical debris - the idea of eudaimonic well-being. Aristotle was the originator of the concept of eudaimonia (from daimon - true nature). He deemed happiness to be a vulgar idea, stressing that not all desires are worth pursuing as, even though some of them may yield pleasure, they would not produce wellness. Aristotle thought that true happiness is found by leading a virtuous life and doing what is worth doing. He argued that realising human potential is the ultimate human goal. This idea was further developed in history by prominent thinkers, such as Stoics, who stressed the value of self-discipline, and John Locke, who argued that happiness is pursued through prudence….”

click through for full article–

themindunleashed.org
8 Ancient Beliefs Now Backed By Modern Science

By: Alena Hall, huffingtonpost.com

The Earth may not be flat nor is it the center of the universe, but that doesn’t mean old-world intellectuals got everything wrong. In fact, in recent years, modern science has validated a number of teachings and beliefs rooted in ancient wisdom that, up until now, had been trusted but unproven empirically.

Here are eight ancient beliefs and practices that have been confirmed by modern science.

HELPING OTHERS CAN MAKE YOU HEALTHIER.

In their never-ending search for the best way to live, Greek philosophers argued over the relative benefits of hedonic and eudaimonic happiness. Hedonic well-being sees happiness as a factor of increased pleasure and decreased pain, while eudaimonic (“human flourishing”) happiness has more to do with having a larger purpose or meaning in life. A recent study from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist Barbara Fredrickson may reveal which form of happiness is more beneficial for health and well-being.

The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year, found that while both types of happiness can make you feel good, the latter could promote physical health and longevity as well. Using phone interviews, questionnaires and blood samples, the study explored how the two forms of happiness affected individuals on a genetic level. Participants with more hedonic and less eudaimonic well-being were found to have a lower production of virus-attacking antibodies, while those with more eudaimonic well-being experienced an increase in antibody production.

ACUPUNCTURE CAN RESTORE BALANCE TO YOUR BODY.

The traditional Chinese medicine technique is believed to address imbalances in a person’s qi (pronounced chi), the circulating energy within every living thing. Whether or not you believe in the existence of this energy flow, a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that the age-old practice may be an effective way to relieve migraines, arthritis and other chronic pains.

Analyzing previous research data from approximately 18,000 subjects, researchers found that acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture and standard western care when treating various types of pain, including migraines and chronic back pain.

WE NEED THE SUPPORT OF A COMMUNITY IN ORDER TO THRIVE.

Traditional Buddhist teachings suggest that community is a key component in any happy, fulfilled life. A 2010 study conducted by Brigham Young University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers confirmed this belief, concluding that a healthy social life promotes longevity.

In analyzing the 148 studies — involving more than 300,000 individual participants — available on the subject, the researchers discovered that those with stronger social relationships maintained a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival. The effect of social relationships on mortality risk is even greater than the effect of exercise or obesity.

TAI CHI CAN HELP ALLEVIATE A VARIETY OF HEALTH CONDITIONS.

This ancient Chinese martial art is based on the belief that achieving balance with one’s mind and body creates an overall sense of peace and harmony, naturally inspiring a long life. A report in the May 2009 issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch summarized several studies confirming that this “moving meditation” practice can help prevent and treat many age-related health problems alongside standard treatment in older adults. A number of studies in the past decade have found tai chi to be helpful for those suffering from arthritis, low bone density and heart disease.

MEDITATION CAN HELP YOU REDUCE STRESS AND DISCOVER INNER PEACE.

Stemming from ancient Eastern origins, the practice of meditation is believed to help still the mind and reach a heightened level of awareness, improving health and well-being as a byproduct. Science is now proving the health benefits of meditation. The latest study from a team of Harvard Medical School scientists reveals how this mind-body practice can affect genes that control stress levels and immune function.

Harvard psychiatrist John Denniger and his team used neuro-imaging and genomics technology to measure potential physiological changes in each subject more accurately. After observing the high-stress individuals as they followed the study’s prescribed yoga and meditation practices, the team noticed an improved mitochondrial energy production, utilization and resiliency, which help to reduce the stress linked to health conditions like hypertension and infertility.

COMPASSION IS THE KEY TO A MEANINGFUL LIFE.

Tibetan Buddhist tradition includes a practice called metta, or loving-kindness. A 2012 study from Emory University found that compassion meditation based on this Tibetan model can effectively boost one’s ability to empathize with others by way of reading their facial expressions.

Another loving-kindness meditation study from 2011 found that, over time, this practice increased participants’ positive emotions that allowed them to find a deeper sense of mindfulness, their purpose in life, the network of support surrounding them, and their health. These components helped increase their overall life satisfaction.

ACCEPTING WHAT YOU CAN’T CHANGE IS KEY TO REDUCING SUFFERING.

According to Buddhist teachings, one must accept the things they cannot change in order to reduce suffering. Now, scientists have found that this belief rings true, especially for older adults who are working through difficult life changes.

Researchers from Deakin University in Australia found that facing the realities of living with assistance and losing a degree of independence helps seniors live longer and feel far happier. Their study, which was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies last year, compared feelings of life satisfaction and perceived control of older adults living with assistance and those living in the community. Their analysis revealed that the ability to accept the inevitable (as well as maintain low-level control) in an assisted living setting was a significant predictor of life satisfaction. The researchers concluded, “In order to protect the well-being of older individuals, adaptation involves both a sense of control and the active acceptance of what cannot be changed.”

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.

If there is one thing that a variety of ancient wisdom traditions can agree on, it’s the value of love in maintaining a happy, meaningful life. And a group of Harvard researchers, on a mission to uncover the true roots of life fulfillment, conducted a 75-year study that reached the same conclusion.

The Harvard Grant Study, led by psychiatrist George Vaillant, followed the life trajectories of 268 male students in order to answer life’s universal questions of growth, development, value and purpose. Vaillant considers the most meaningful finding of the study to be that a happy life revolves around loving relationships. He explained that there are two pillars of happiness: “One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”

A couple words on the 1dff community...

In typical Kath fashion, I’m going to throw some psychology at all of you:

In positive psychology, there are two schools of happiness and well-being theory – hedonia which defines happiness as ‘feeling pleasure’ and eudaimonia which defines happiness as ‘living well’. Ryan and Deci did an examination of eudaimonia through the lens of self-determination theory (a theory about intrinsic motivation), and found that eudaimonic happiness is dictated by three things: the need for autonomy, the need for competence, and the need for relatedness, “feeling connected to and cared about by others”. 

I’m sure you’re all like, “Kath, shut up and get to the point”, so what does this essentially boil down to? To be happy, we need to feel connected to people, to feel like we belong.

That’s what makes a fic community like ours so important – connectedness. We could all be sitting alone, writing up a novel that might one day be published in complete and utter solitude (what a concept, writing for money, wouldn’t that be wonderful…), but we’re not. And I can’t speak for anyone else but the reason why I write fic and post it on a public forum like this is because it fosters a connection with every single person who reads it and gives me feedback, the kind of connection that can be hard to find offline especially if you’re an introvert like me.

(that’s why feedback is so important but that’s an issue for another post)

We all started here because of a shared love of one direction; I think it’s safe to say we stay for the people. I have never met a group of people so warm and open and accepting, so friendly and welcoming, so supportive and encouraging, so talented and wise and outspoken and emotional and everything in between. I have made so many friends through my writing that I wouldn’t have made otherwise, fostered connections that have gotten me through some of the toughest times I’ve had over the last few years. I am the person I am today because of all of you, my fellow writers, the readers who have stuck with me from the first chapters of my now deleted first fic, every single person I have ever had the pleasure of speaking to since I first started posting fic. I owe all of you the world and I don’t think a simple thank you would ever suffice, but here it is:

thank you. you have all filled my need for relatedness. I am much (eudaimonically) happier for having met all of you.

there’s a couple of people I’d really like to thank:

Keep reading

A new study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin reveals more evidence on the benefits of practicing self-affirmations.

Participants from both the United States and South Korea did a small self-affirmations exercise for 2-4 weeks and it was found that it improved both hedonic well-being (“positive emotions”) and eudaimonic well-being (“sense of meaning”). The effect was especially strong for individuals who were anxious and had low self-esteem.

My free guide “The Science of Self-Affirmations” also goes into several other recent studies on the benefits of these exercises on motivation, self-esteem, and relationships:

http://theemotionmachine.com/free-download-the-science-of-self-affirmations-pdf

I’m looking forward to more research in the future!