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  • Writer's picturePenelope Davis

Eudaimonia And Quality of Life

What is Eudaimonia?  

 

Eudaimonia is a Greek word that means ‘good life’ or happiness. A core part of Positive Psychology is cultivating a good life. There is no standard for what that means, which allows us to have the flexibility to decide for ourselves what makes our lives worth living. Eudaimonia means living well, doing well, and thriving.

 

Throughout history, humans have explored what it means to have a good life. In ancient Greek society, there were the concepts of Hedonism and Eudaimonia. Hedonism focused on pleasure seeking, whereas Eudaimonia focused on wellness, joy, and satisfaction. Now in positive psychology, we think about what we need to survive and thrive. Dr. Martin Seligman talks about the four tenets of positive psychology. 

  • Eudaimonia

  • Surviving and Thriving

  • Flow

  • Optimism, Hope, and Wellbeing.


How do we live a life of Purpose?

The balance between pleasure and purpose.


Some common misconceptions about eudaimonia are that it’s a selfish pursuit or that it’s static. While eudaimonia is a concept that must be defined in individual terms, it has a lot to do with living a life of purpose and living by one’s values. Eudaimonia will change from day to day and constantly evolve as we grow. Eudaimonia is a deeply personal venture;

however, it benefits our communities when we can live lives of purpose. Often people’s concept of living a good life includes working within their communities to better them. Two of the things I look at when thinking about increasing quality of life are values and if the life we are living aligns with our strengths. According to Dr. Seligman, there are three forms of happiness: pleasure, engagement/flow, and meaning.


Often, we can feel stuck in our lives or feel like we are stagnating. This can lead us down the path of the hedonic treadmill. The hedonic treadmill is a process of seeking happiness by seeking things that bring us pleasure. For example, we may eat a sugary treat and while it satisfies us for a little while, we find ourselves seeking more food later because the sweets don’t fully satisfy our needs.  Pleasure isn’t something to be avoided, but it needs to be balanced with things that more fully satisfy our needs.


Engagement means that we engage in things that align with our values and strengths. This helps us live more satisfying lives because we can live authentically. When we live in accordance with our strengths and values, we are more likely to experience flow states. A flow state is a state of consciousness where we get completely emersed in what we are doing. Some people experience this with exercise, art, or learning something new.


Meaning in life goes with engagement as if we are able live authentically, we are in a better position to act in accordance with our values. This helps us achieve a sense of coherence with our lives. Often people want to help their communities, and this can be a source of purpose in their lives. Helping other people helps us feel like we matter. It helps us feel more connected to the people and causes we care about.


Having a purpose in life also includes having goals. However, it’s important that our goals are realistic and achievable. If our goals are unattainable, it can lead us to feeling defeated. If we can break big goals into smaller ones and make sure that we have the resources to accomplish them, this will help us feel more satisfied when we achieve them.


If you would like to learn more about Eudaimonia, feel free to check out our Positive Psychology group! 


­Source:

Seligman, M. P. (2022). Pleasure, Meaning, and Eudaimonia. University of Pennsylvania. https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletters/authentichappiness/pleasure



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