The theory of happiness consists of many different things. It would mean the world to me if you shared this with someone you care about. I think that it is important to leave something behind when we die. Improving your life can perhaps be a bit overwhelming sometimes. You could potentially be doing so many things that you don’t even know where to start. People often ask me: “who do you think you are telling me what I should or should not do?”.
I cannot deny that this is a reasonable question to ask. A long time ago, I used to be quite the opposite. For instance, I was procrastinating all day, I poisoned my body regularly, I loved wasting my time, and I was far from happy. That is pretty much how my life went.
Watching those ‘be happy’ videos about those life gurus – who lived in peace and harmony – did not help me as well. It was more the other way around. I tried to make a program to get myself out of the rut. Spoiler alert: for me, it worked surprisingly well.
So, now you know that was the person one does not want to become. So, what can this Anthony J. Vasquez probably teach you about improving your life, right? That is also what I thought until I read: ‘The subtle art of not giving a f*ck.’
I realized that this is probably a good start for improving my life to start writing everything down that I will learn on this journey. After all, I love writing. A few years passed, and I think I have something precious to share that I am proud of. Happiness is for everyone!
What is happiness
As stated before, yearly over 300 million people Google ‘how to be happy.’ Believe it or not but that number is still skyrocketing. The theory of happiness originates from the human need to feel happy. Feeling happy is very important. Know that happiness is a state, not a trait. Basically, feeling happy with life means that one is feeling positive emotions and enjoyment while being in a good mood. Happiness easily gets confused with pleasure although pleasure can contribute to happiness.
Happiness and philosophy
Philosophy is boring and only for old folks. Wrong! At least it is from my perspective, and I am only 22 years old. Tons of wisdom are obtainable from philosophy. Some philosophers do or did not identify themselves as philosophers. Plenty of YouTube channels can tell those findings and backstories excitingly and animatedly. One of my favorites is ‘The School of Life. But, what can we learn from philosophy? I am glad you asked!
Some philosophers spend their whole life studying. Some even spend a lifetime answering the following question: ‘How to be happy?’. And they did a remarkable job. For instance, Epicurus. He made some monarchy where he spent most of his life. Albert Camus – who is a famous philosopher as well – figured that life is absurd.
So how should you live it? These days there is no such thing as a job as a philosopher which was the case in ancient Greek. Many people used to live who spend a lifetime thinking about how one can be happy. I believe that we can learn a lot from those philosophers.
Different theories on happiness
Do not worry. This is not something that you need to study, and I will not grade you. But I think it is vital that you know about their existence. I wrote an article with eight tips to be happier, and I received a lot of positive feedback. That is why I think it is essential to understand what happiness is all about.
Marcus Aurelius and Epicurus are ancient philosophers whose studies orbit around happiness and living life. Their discoveries are remarkable. Sam Berns – who sadly passed away in 2014 from complications of progeria – shared unique insights regarding his philosophy for a happy life. Not to forget the wisdom of Lao Tzu or the Buddhists for achieving inner peace.
People often tell you that you need to start exercising, that it is essential to eat healthily, that it is essential that you do what you love and that you have someone in your life to love. All of those are true, but why is that? They tried stuffing people with pills containing a high dose of one single happy hormone in past studies. For some, it worked, but most people did not notice any differences. What are those happy hormones exactly?
There are some theories of happiness by philosophers. The following chapters contain the three theories of happiness. The most famous one is probably the science of happiness by Einstein. Furthermore, we will dive into Seligman’s theory and lastly, we will cover the philosopher Aristotle’s theory regarding happiness.
Einstein’s theory of happiness
theory on happiness by Einstein states that money cannot buy happiness. Albert Einstein was a German theoretical physicist who made a tremendous contribution to the theory of relativity. Einstein said that living a humble life can bring more happiness to a person than one stuck in the pursuit of success.
A fun fact is that this note sold for 1.8 million dollars in 2017.
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”Albert Einstein
Seligman’s theory of happiness
For every 100 studies on negative psychology, there is only one positive study about psychology. This was the motivation for Martin Seligman to write a book about ‘Authentic Happiness’ which became a New York Times bestseller. We knew how to get people from an unhappy state to a happy state.
Seligman says that there are three paths to the theory of happiness:
- Pleasure – maximizing positive emotions while minimizing the negative ones
- Engagement – seek out an activity that gets you in the so-called ‘flow’
- Meaning – Search for something bigger than oneself
Just as good life is something beyond the pleasant life, the meaningful life is beyond the good life.Martin Seligman
Aristotle’s theory of happiness
The last theory of happiness by Aristotle starts with eudaimonia – which means ‘well life’ or ‘good spirit’ in Greek. Basically, there are two main parts of who you are. The rational part is the body, your health, and your intellect (knowledge). The irrational part is the nourishing and desires. For instance, emotions like anger and sadness.
Happiness is the working together of the ‘soul’ – which also comes back to eudaimonia. If the heart, the body, the mind, and will work in harmony together, that will lead to fulfillment and living a happy life.
Do you want to be happy? Your brain is releasing one of the four happy chemicals if you feel good. Crack your biochemical code and make dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, and oxytocin work for you. This is scientifically proven to work.
We want to be happy all the time, but our brain naturally releases them as a reward mechanism, mostly when you do something good for your survival.
Hormones are a kind of biochemical ‘messengers’ that travel everywhere in your body. They are responsible for organizing complex processes—for instance, growth, fertility, and metabolism. Your brain has a lot of receptors. You can read this article if you are interested, but that is not important.
They did a lot of analysis on animals – mainly monkeys – to find out how these chemicals are released. These happy hormones help with increasing the survivability of species. Especially back in the days.
Dopamine is probably one of the widely known happy hormones. Dopamine is the reward hormone and it releases when you complete a task, eat food, or if you perform self-care activities. Getting sufficient sleep, listening to music, exercising, and meditation can all boost dopamine levels in a healthy way.
Serotonin is usually used in antidepressants as it is a mood stabilizer. It is often described as the body’s natural feel-good chemical and it is fundamental to your overall sense of well-being. Serotonin functions as a neurotransmitter – which basically means that it is a chemical messenger. To boost the serotonin levels in your brain you should exercise regularly, improve your diet, get more exposure to sunlight, and use certain supplements. Low serotonin levels can be linked with depression, so it is essential to boost your serotonin levels if you want to
Endorphines are there to reduce stress and pain. They work kind of similar to ‘opioids’ – which we discussed in our podcast. Sometimes doctors prescribe endorphins for a short time use after surgery or for pain relief. For example, morphine. You can boost endorphins by exercising – preferably in a group, by having sex, by being creative – for instance, making art or music, dancing, eating dark chocolate, laughing, or drinking a glass of wine.
Word on the street is that cupid’s love arrow is dipped in oxytocin, but you did not hear that from me. Oxytocin is considered the love hormone. It also increases trust. Furthermore, it is an important neurotransmitter – or chemical messenger – that is responsible for some human behaviors and social interactions. You can boost your oxytocin levels by listening to or making music, practicing yoga, getting a massage, meditating, spending time with friends, or telling someone how much you care about them.
Other hormones worth mentioning
There are other hormones and neurotransmitters that could impact your mood are melatonin – which helps you to fall asleep quicker. There is also norepinephrine – which is the excitement hormone. Furthermore, there is phenylethylamine – which aids in improving athletic performance, depression, weight loss, and improved mood, and attention. It works similarly to the drug ‘amphetamine’. Lastly, there is acetylcholine – which contracts smooth muscles, dilates blood vessels, increases bodily secretions, and slows the heart rate.