Different lenses on Happiness

Joana Pinheiro - March 23, 2021
In 2021, reflections about Happiness seem to be more and more on the agenda of diverse forums about wellbeing, relationships, purpose in life, lifestyle, career choices, workplace culture, etc. Furthermore, try to google “Happiness”, and you will find a bunch of information regarding that topic such as books, articles, studies, certifications, post-graduations, MBA’s, consultancy, or even movies and music!

One activity that is very interesting to do is to pick a concept and observe it from different lenses or approaches to increase diversity in the analysis and, at the same time, find a common ground of different perspectives. Do you know that proverb that says “All roads lead to Rome”? Maybe it is not always true, but it is very inspiring to test it!

Thus, if you are starting to feel curious about the concept of Happiness and different ways to improve it in your life and around you, here are some of the disciplines that have been developing knowledge around this subject and inspired the Wellbeing Warrior team!

Where the story seems to start… In the early 1970s, Bhutan recognized the value of national happiness over national income and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. That was the trigger to build a New Economic Paradigm. Consequently, the economics of happiness has emerged as one of the most thriving areas in current economic research.

Well, well, well the truth is, concerns about happiness come from far away! Have you ever heard about Aristotle, Epicurus, Nietzsche, José Ortega y Gasset, or Slavoj Zizek? I believe yes, at least some of them. So, the study of Happiness at least comes from Ancient Greece (if not before) and, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in this field of knowledge is possible to find two senses of Happiness.

Positive Psychology
This area of Psychology was developed by Martin Seligman in the last century and was also inspired by some philosophers like Confucius, Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle. Positive Psychology is also known as the psychology of well-being or happiness and created the Well-being Theory (PERMA Model). This branch of psychology has been inspiring a lot of professionals around the globe and nowadays is possible to find many courses, books, articles with different applications and interventions such as health, education, gerontology, workplace, etc.

As we can read in the manuscript of The Neuroscience of Happiness and Pleasure written by Morten L. Kringelbach and Kent C. Berridge “neuroscientists have made comparable progress in investigating the functional neuroanatomy of pleasure, which contributes importantly to happiness and is central to our sense of well-being”. Also, you can find very interesting information in the talk of Professor Richard Davidson organized by Action for Happiness.

Regarding psychology and neuroscience maybe we can also correlate physics, chemistry, or maths with happiness but this article doesn't pretend to be academic or assume something without evidence. Instead of that, pretends to inspire and be inspired!

This month we are celebrating Happiness due to the declaration of the 20th of March as the International Day of Happiness!

This day has been celebrated since 2013 by the United Nations “as a way to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world”. Yet, in 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.

So, if you know more applications or developed knowledge about Happiness, please share with us!

We wish you a Happy Day and loads of inspiration to you and to your projects!

And … If you want to know more about how Wellbeing Warrior promotes happiness at work, stay tuned!