Is A Meaningful Life Different From A Happy One?
Meaningful life and happy life are generally thought to go parallel. Actually, it is not always so. They are very different but intertwined concepts. So how do you live a good life? What are the things that make living valuable? Would you be happy without pleasure? Why do we always try to make life more meaningful?
In a study, it was concluded that meaningless happiness is not a real feeling. In order to distinguish between a happy life and a meaningful life, a questionnaire was administered to a group of approximately 400 adults. According to the answers given, their behaviours, moods, relationships, health, stress levels, business lives, creative quests and more were examined. The participants answered a wide range of questions. The evaluations of the general conclusions are as follows …
1) What does happiness actually mean?
Researchers think differently about the definition of “happiness” and how to measure it. Some observe the pleasure centres of the brain. Some describe happiness with temporary emotional states. The research done as general life satisfaction is confusing. The results of the research are different and contradictory for all subjects. Happy people can supply their wishes and needs. For example, health, wealth and ease of life are all about being happy. But they are not meaningful.
Signs of a happy life;
• Feeling very good and not feeling bad
• Feeling that life is easy, not a war
• Being healthy
• Being able to buy what you need and want
• Focus on the short term
2) What Does a Meaningful Life Mean?
It is considered meaningful to do things that you can express yourself. It is very important to develop himself personally and culturally. But it doesn’t bring happiness.
Meaningful lives have stress and difficulties. Stress and happiness are inversely proportional. It shows that participating in difficult situations beyond his or her pleasure encourages happy feeling, not significance.
Signs of a meaningful life;
• Spending time thinking about the past and dreaming of the future
• Focus on long-term things• Spending time thinking deeply
• Reading for pleasure
• As well as thinking that relationships are more important than successes, feel that work reflects who you are
• Spending time with people you love
• Planning, organizing and balancing financing
• Cooking, cleaning and watching TV
• Taking time to meditate and pray
• Reward yourself
• Giving gifts to others and giving them in general
• Helping the Poor
• Thinking yourself smart and creative
3) Signs of that a Happy Life and a Meaningful Life are the Same
Happiness includes focusing on the present. However, meaningfulness synthesizes the past, the present and the future. Besides, happy feeling was seen temporarily, meaningfulness was a longer term.
• Experiencing more positive events
• Not getting bored
• Guessing you won’t spend too much time in the future
• Feeling connected to others
• To think that others are up to you
4) Some experiences not related to Happiness or Meaningfulness
For example, good social connections are more about happy feeling. But meaningfulness is about selflessness. For example, spending time with your kids is more about meaningfulness, and also it was observed that they are happier as a result of the questions in the survey.
Experiences not related to happiness or meaningfulness;
• Alcohol party
• Relaxing Alone
• Receiving Gifts For Yourself
• Going online
Would you be happy without pleasure?
For ages, philosophers have discussed the difference between true and false happiness. In his writings, Aristotle calls real happiness “Eudaimonia”, and unreal happiness is “hedonic”. It distinguishes them as follows:
Unreal happiness is all about seeking pleasure and taste. Real happiness is all about educating and developing the soul. Most people confuse pleasure with happiness. It’s like the difference between eating a portion of food we love and working for a charity. They both have a kind of feeling of happy but the effect they have on the cellular level is very different.
A study says that our Cells recognize true happiness, and react to these emotions in different ways, that is, affect our physical health. If we have real happiness, our immune system becomes stronger.
Good health is a factor that conduces to happiness but not to meaningfulness. Healthy people are happier than sick people, but sick people’s lives are meaningless.
Another research says, “If you make sense out of happiness, the happiness factor may disappear.”
Can you have everything?
Although not a meaningful life, experiences associated with a happy life seem quite simple. Relationships that become meaningless as they spend a lot of time are an example of this. Because your loved ones can be difficult sometimes.
Feeling happy is focused on feelings of today. Bad events in the past reduce present happiness, but perhaps change your perspective on life. This makes that moment more meaningful.
The essence of happiness for people still consists of their needs and satisfaction. But what sets us apart from other creatures is that we can add meaning to this happiness.
As a result, it is a great skill to be able to live happily without losing what makes life meaningful.