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Forms of Happiness

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Happiness is an emotional or affective state that is characterized by feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction. As a state and a subject, it has been pursued and commented on extensively throughout world history. This reflects the universal importance that humans place on happiness.



In the Nicomachean Ethics, written in 350 B.C.E., Aristotle stated that happiness is the only thing that humans desire for its own sake. He observed that men sought riches not for the sake of being rich, but to be happy (although the term we translate as 'happiness' in Aristotle cannot be adequately defined as either an emotion or a state). Those who sought fame desired it not to be famous, but because they believed fame would bring them happiness. Many ethicists make arguments for how humans should behave, either individually or collectively, based on the resulting happiness of such behavior. Utilitarians, such as John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham, advocated the greatest happiness principle as a guide for ethical behavior.



States associated with happiness include well-being, delight, health, safety, contentment, and love. Contrasting states include suffering, depression, grief, anxiety, and pain. Happiness is often associated with the presence of favorable circumstances such as a supportive family life, a loving marriage, and economic stability. Unfavorable circumstances, such as abusive relationships, accidents, loss of employment, and conflicts, diminish the amount of happiness a person experiences. However, according to several ancient and modern thinkers, happiness is influenced by the attitude and perspective taken on such circumstances.



Various forms of happiness

Many English language terms refer to various forms of happiness and pleasure. These terms vary in the intensity of the pleasure they describe, as well as the depth and longevity of the satisfaction. These include: bliss, joy, joyous, carefree, jubilant, exultant, cheerful, playful, amused, fun, glad, gay, gleeful, jolly, jovial, delighted, euphoric, ecstatic, thrilled, elated, enraptured, comfortable, harmonious, and triumphant. Gratification is a deep satisfaction gained from becoming totally absorbed in a complex activity or by working toward meaningful goals



Societal theories of happiness

Societies, religions, and individuals have various views on the nature of happiness and how to pursue it. Western society takes its concept of happiness, at least in part, from the Greek concept of Eudaimonia[citation needed]. Eudaimonia(Greek: εὐδαιμονία) is a classical Greek word commonly translated as 'happiness'. Etymologically, it consists of the word "eu" ("good" or "well being") and "daimōn" ("spirit" or "minor deity", used by extension to mean one's lot or fortune).



For Americans, the happy or ideal life is sometimes referred to as the American dream, which can be seen as the idea that any goal can be attained through sufficient hard work and determination, birth and privilege notwithstanding[citation needed]. While many artists, writers, scholars, and religious leaders can and do consider their work to fall within the American dream, it is usually thought of as relating to financial success[citation needed]. Writers such as Horatio Alger promoted this idea, while many writers, such as Arthur Miller, criticized it[citation needed].



In all nations, factors such as hunger, disease, crime, corruption, and warfare can decrease happiness


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