What is the True Meaning of Happiness?

What is the True Meaning of Happiness

We often hear talk of happiness, but what does it mean? Many people have tried defining happiness and we are now left to wonder which of these definitions is correct.

Happiness is both a simple and complex emotion, and there is no straightforward way to define it. The different definitions of happiness are correct, but they can all be understood from varying perspectives.

So, if you’re wondering what is the true meaning of happiness, we’re going to simplify the concept of happiness and help you find your true meaning of happiness.

What is the True Meaning of Happiness?


Put simply, happiness is an emotion one feels when satisfied, exhilarated, and joyful. Happiness can’t be defined without a cause of happiness, and the cause is often the complex part. We can tell when we’re happy because it is a definable emotion, however, we can’t always define our reasons for being happy.

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We’ve discovered what happiness means, but how do you find true happiness? This question is seeking reasons to be happy. True happiness is being genuinely happy, but that can originate from different factors.

Types Of Happiness

Part of understanding the true meaning of happiness includes knowing the types. There are two classifications of happiness, but note that happiness is not limited to these two classes.


Hedonia refers to happiness derived from performing a certain action. Hedonia happiness occurs at the moment and is a result of an action. It’s characterized by pleasure, meeting a desire, completing a task, self-care, or a feeling of fulfillment.


Eudaimonia is a type of happiness that goes deeper. It is driven by less materialistic accomplishments and more by virtue. It is happiness derived from having a purpose or living a meaningful life.

To put it in simpler terms, hedonic happiness is what you feel when you’re gifted a new car or kiss your crush. On the other hand, eudaimonia happiness is what you feel when you help a neighbor or make a life investment.

Hedonic happiness is often characterized by pleasure, while eudaimonia happiness is characterized by meaning. Another way of classifying them is: hedonic happiness is material driven while eudaimonia happiness is ephemeral.

The concept of true happiness falls more under eudaimonia happiness. 

Additional forms of happiness include:


Joy is a feeling of exhilaration that occurs at the moment, and it is usually felt after something interesting has happened.


Excitement is a feeling of happiness that originates from an expectation stemming from positive anticipation.


Gratitude is a feeling of happiness that is accompanied by appreciation. Gratitude is often felt after a positive occurrence.

Cultivating True Happiness

Clos up of a Woman's Smile

While happiness is a feeling of joy and satisfaction, true happiness is defined by reason. From experience, we’ve learned that true happiness is happiness amid unlikely situations.

It is easy to be happy and maintain positive feelings when everything is going as planned or when good things are happening to us. However, what happens to our happiness when we’re facing tough times?

We’re going to define true happiness as happiness that is found during trying times. True happiness is independent of material possession and can never be lost once found.

Some people are naturally happy and can easily think positive thoughts. However, not everybody has a naturally happy deposition. Some people require effort to be happy, but that doesn’t mean true happiness is impossible to achieve.

Here are some helpful tips for cultivating true happiness:

Focus on Intrinsic Motivation

There are two motives for doing things, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation means aiming for an external reward like a car, house, medal, money, and other material rewards.

Intrinsic motivation is aimed at internal rewards – meaning rewards within us like happiness, and growth. We can cultivate true happiness by doing tasks with intrinsic motivation. The less we attach our happiness to material things, the easier happiness comes to us.

On the days when there are no material possessions to cheer you up, you will have your intrinsic sources of happiness.

Appreciate Your Life

It can be hard to catch a break in the rushing flow of life. We’re often too busy trying to survive and improve our lives that we forget to appreciate how far we’ve come. To cultivate true happiness, take time to look back on your life and you’ll know that you’ve come a long way.

Make a habit of reviewing your life, you can do it yearly, monthly, or at any suitable interval, and you’ll see more positive vibes building.

Focus on the Positive

Negative emotions and circumstances are never-ending and they’re all around us. This point is to focus on the positive – the keyword being “focus”. It takes a conscious effort to highlight the positive parts of our life.

People typically wait for positive things to happen, but rarely see them if they don’t actively look. Put conscious effort into pointing out at least three positive things in your everyday life.

As much as you’re focusing on the positive, refrain from the negative. Focusing on the negative will affect your mental health, and give rise to negative feelings.

Build Relationships

True happiness can also be found in meaningful relationships. There are family members and friends that bring out positive feelings in us without even trying. It’s important to have a few people we trust and can depend on during hard times.

Facing tough times alone can be exhausting and can cause depression in the long run. Endeavor to cultivate healthy relationships.


True happiness is the ability to find happiness even in unlikely situations. The true meaning of happiness is not tied to physical possessions, instead, it comes from within. You know you’re truly happy when you can overlook the negative and focus on the positive.

So, what is the true meaning of happiness? We’ve looked at the definition of true happiness and how it can be cultivated. You can learn more about true happiness and other life-building tips here

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