So What Is Happy Anyway?

Hi, Happy Moms!

I talk about finding more happiness and being a “happy mom,” but what does that even mean? What is happiness anyway?

I imagine you can list a dozen things that make you happy. But coffee, puppies, warm quilts, and picnics in the sun aren’t happy. Even if they are things that make me profoundly happy.

But how do we define happy? Measure happy? Well, the experts believe that there are three main dimensions of happiness: affective, cognitive, and eudaemonia. And while I’ve read tons of research on happiness back in my psychology grad school days, I just re-read about these dimensions in The Little Book of Lykke: Secrets of The World’s Happiest People, a light book I highly recommend to all looking for more happy!

Affective Happiness refers to the emotions we experience on a daily basis. This is the #LOL of the happiness dimensions.

affective happiness

One moment you’re feeling happy, the next you’re sad because you broke your favorite coffee mug, then happy again because it looks like a clean break and you can fix it, and then angry again when you pick up the handle to find it’s shattered, and then your kid runs into the kitchen with her underwear on her head and a proud grin and you laugh because you’re filled with so much happy. 

Cognitive Happiness comes down to how satisfied we are with our lives overall. This is the #blessed of happiness.


So while you’re feeling sad because you just broke your favorite coffee mug, overall you might note that you are happy because you’re satisfied with the way things are going in your life — you love your job, your friends are amazing, you love your home and community, and your family is pretty fantastic! 

Eudaemonia is the idea that a meaningful and purposeful life is the basis of happiness. This one is the reason we watch #tedtalks. Listening to people talk about their passions and purpose…it’s so inspiring!

What Is Happiness Anyway?

So you’re still standing in the kitchen sad because you broke your mug… And you’re looking about at a house you can’t stand, thinking about the dead-end  job you have to go to, and you’re just not that satisfied with things in your life overall right now. But you’re a painter and it fills you and fulfills you with passion and purpose. Your happiness is in the meaningful pursuit of your art. 

So that’s that! When I talk about finding more happiness as a mom in this blog and on Instagram, I’m typically talking about the affective and cognitive dimensions — finding happiness in our day-to-day lives as well as more satisfaction in our lives overall.

Is there a dimension of happiness you feel like you are totally winning in?

Any dimension you’d like to create more happiness in? If you’ve started the Happy Habits Workbook or set a resolution for 2018, does your goal fall in one (or more) of these happiness categories?

Tell me about it below or share it on Instagram or Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s