Happiness is something we’re all striving for. Most of us say that all we want for our children, our friends and ourselves is to be happy. Happiness is also incredibly difficult to define. It looks different to everyone. One person’s happiness might not match another’s. There are so many different types of happiness because “happiness” is only an umbrella term for a range of positive feelings. Some studies have even shown that the different types of happy feelings result in different health benefits.
The different types of happiness can be divided into three levels. These levels range from short-lived and surface level to deep and spiritual long-lasting happiness.
The Base Level Types of Happiness
These types of happiness tend to be short-lived and can occur rarely, or very regularly. They don’t tend to impact your overall happiness. Base Level types of happy feelings are based on pleasure that typically only exist in the moment.
Pride is a short-lived type of happiness that can be directed at yourself or others. It means feeling happy because you have achieved something or feeling happy for a loved one because they reached a goal they wanted. This happiness is pride. It is an unselfish kind of happiness when it’s brought on by seeing others succeed.
This type of happiness might vary in depth depending on the achievement and the work it took to get there. A parent might be momentarily proud of their child for helping with housework. Their pride might last a little longer if their child gets the grades they worked very hard for, for example.
Excitement is a type of happiness brought on by looking forward to something. Imagine a child on the night before Christmas. The happiness they feel is directed towards the future. They know what is coming will be good, so they’re pre-emptively happy.
Excitement is usually a “busy” type of happiness. It is all-consuming and often causes you to fidget or feel unsettled. Impatience often accompanies excitement because the exciting moment lies in the future. Despite the difficulties of being patient, our happiness is unaffected.
Something can also be exciting in the moment, such as watching a story unfold or being part of an important project. This excitement is an energetic and enthusiastic type of happiness.
Joy is a very simple type of momentary happiness we can all understand. You feel joy when you see or do something you like. It is a feeling of warm satisfaction and pleasure. This could be brought on by something you’re involved in, such as a moment with loved ones or a hobby you enjoy. Joy could also be brought on passively, such as whilst observing beauty in nature.
One of the easiest types of happiness to achieve might be humor. Laughter can be hard to deny and boosts our mood significantly. Even when we’re feeling far from happy, humor can bring us back. Funny movies, pictures, or jokes will bring us short bursts of happiness, regardless of how we really feel. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.
The Mid-Level Types of Happiness
This middle-range tends to be what we use to answer the question “how are you?”. These feelings aren’t fleeting but also don’t represent your entire life. When you say you’re doing well, you’re likely to be feeling one of these types of happiness.
These mid-level types of happiness are usually based on comparisons. These comparisons could be to your past self, or to the lives of others.
When you believe good things will come your way, you’re feeling optimistic, a type of happiness. You may have no evidence of this, but based on how the past looks, you feel hopeful that good things are on the way. Your happiness is brought on by feelings of hopefulness for the future.
Optimism is a type of happiness that relies on the belief that positivity will outweigh any negativity to come.
Gratitude, unlike optimism, is founded in the moment. It is an appreciative type of happiness. You’ll feel gratitude when you take note of something you’re appreciative of. When you’re grateful for the things you’ve been given in life, from material possessions to the people who surround you, you’ll feel undeniably happy.
Gratitude might also be brought on by comparison to others who are less fortunate. We are happy to have what we do because we know that others might not be so lucky.
The Highest Level Types of Happiness
The deepest-rooted types of happiness are often difficult to explain or measure. They’re often also difficult to achieve. These are certain forms of happiness that are unwavering. They aren’t impacted by the comings and goings of life. Not everyone is fortunate enough to experience these types of happiness, and they are much more common in older people.
In order to find out if you’re experiencing these highest forms of happiness, you may have to ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- Are you missing anything from your life?
- Are you living the life you dreamed of?
Happiness in the form of love is considered one of the deepest types of happiness. Love comes in many forms and isn’t exclusive to romantic interests. Having familial or platonic love is more than enough. Love as a form of happiness feels like security. When we feel loved, we feel valuable.
When you know you’re loved, and you love others in return, there is little that could take away your happiness. Lifelong love will keep happiness in your life no matter what.
When we achieve our life goals, we have a sense of fulfillment that can’t be undone. This type of happiness is deep and can even be spiritual – arriving at your true calling. When you’ve reached your true life purpose, happiness will become a default state. You have no internal conflicts or a sense of longing, bringing you true peacefulness.
When you aren’t looking for change, you become grateful for what you have and proud of what you have achieved. Total fulfillment includes a number of other types of happiness, strengthening the overall feeling. When you’re feeling fulfilled, you will feel a whole array of positive emotions that can’t be taken away.
There’s no single type of happiness. What you consider to be your happiest may not match someone else’s, but that’s the beauty of it. Whenever something feels like happiness to you, be it superficial or short-lived, or the forever kind, cling on to it. We could all use a little more happiness in our lives.
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