Happiness and Positive Emotions

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By azajan
Words 2086
Pages 9
Happiness and Positive Emotions
The United States Declaration of Independence states: “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. To mention happiness in such an important document that would later go on to be the foundation of an entire country, carries a lot of weight and meaning. Most Americans agree that happiness is an important part of one’s life. Even though different cultures have a different perception of happiness, it is still plays a significant role. Research has been done which states people who are happier achieve better life outcomes, including financial success, supportive relationships, mental health, and even physical health and longevity. Having read the chapter of happiness and positive emotions and a few articles, I will related the readings and research to my own understanding and interpretation of how each plays a role in my life.
Research on positive emotions, such as happiness, compassion, love and hope, is relatively new. Most scientists who study emotions focus on negative states such as depression, anxiety, and fear. Psychologists spend most of their time trying to help people control those states, whereas happiness is a positive emotion that does not need any help to overcome. Researchers have trouble defining and measuring happiness, and have concluded that happiness does not fit the definition of an emotion. The authors of Emotion, Shiota and Kalat, state that happiness qualifies more as a mood or affect, and people with a happy personality have been described as emotionally stable, conscientious, and in control of the situation. It is not to say that happy people do not have mad moods, but it just means that they overcome it quickly.
Generally, when I hear the word happiness I picture someone who is content with their life with respect to their job, relationships, and family; the cliché, American dream, comes to mind. But…...

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