Refers to the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

It is also used in the context of life satisfaction, subjective well-being, flourishing and well-being.

The term is used in relation to two factors:

The current experience of the feeling of an emotion of pleasure or joy.

A more general sense of emotional condition as a whole.

It is an appraisal of life satisfaction, such as of quality of life, and is the overall appreciation of one’s life as-a-whole, and is more important to people than current experience.

Some descriptions of happiness can include both of these factors: Subjective well-being including measures of current experience of emotions, moods, and feelings and of life satisfaction:the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.

The correlation of income levels is substantial with life satisfaction measures, but is far weaker, than with current experience measures.

Whereas Nordic countries often score highest on subjective well-being surveys, South American countries score higher on affect-based surveys of current positive life experiencing.

One’s appraisal of a level of happiness at the time of the experience may be different from appraisal via memory at a later date.

Not all cultures seek to maximize happiness, and some cultures are averse to happiness.

People in countries with high cultural religiosity tend to relate their life satisfaction less to their emotional experiences than people in more secular countries.

The extent to which a society allows free choice has a major impact on happiness.

When basic needs are satisfied, the degree of happiness depends on economic and cultural factors that enable free choice in how people live their lives.

Happiness also depends on religion in countries where free choice is constrained.

Writers have suggested that the act of searching or seeking for happiness is incompatible with being happy, and that for the majority of people happiness is best achieved en passant, rather than striving for it directly.

These beliefs suggest self-consciousness, scrutiny, self-interrogation, dwelling on, thinking about, imagining or questioning on one’s happiness, doesn’t result in it.

Rather, some believe the happiest people seem to be those who have no particular cause for being happy except the fact that they are so: some people are born happy.

Negative effects of seeking happiness can result from failure to meet high expectations, resulting in disappointment.

Negative effects of happiness may trigger a person to be more sensitive, more gullible, less successful, and more likely to undertake high risk behaviors.

Sigmund Freud suggested all humans strive after happiness, but that the possibilities of achieving it are restricted because we can “derive intense enjoyment only from a contrast and very little from the state of things”.

In Western cultures individual happiness is the most important.

Other cultures have opposite views and tend to be aversive to the idea of individual happiness, focusing more on the need for happiness within relationships with others and even find personal happiness to be harmful to fulfilling happy social relationships.

A study found that psychological well-being is higher for people who experienced both positive and negative emotions.

Experiential well-being, or “objective happiness”, is happiness measured in the moment via questions such as “How good or bad is your experience now?”

Evaluative well-being asks questions such as “How good was your vacation?” and measures one’s subjective thoughts and feelings about happiness in the past.

Several scales have been developed to measure happiness:

The Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS) is a four-item scale, measuring global subjective happiness.

The scale requires participants to use absolute ratings to characterize themselves as happy or unhappy individuals, as well as it asks to what extent they identify themselves with descriptions of happy and unhappy individuals.

The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is a 20-item questionnaire, using a five-point Likert scale (1 = very slightly or not at all, 5 = extremely) to assess the relation between personality traits and positive or negative affects at this moment, today, the past few days, the past week, the past few weeks, the past year, and in general.

Positive Experience survey by Gallup.

World Happiness Report.

Happiness has been found to be quite stable over time.

No evidence of happiness causing improved physical health has been found.

There is a positive relationship has been suggested between the volume of the brain’s gray matter in the right precuneus area and one’s subjective happiness score.

Investigator Lyubomirsky has estimated that 50 percent of a given human’s happiness level could be genetically determined, 10 percent is affected by life circumstances and situation, and a remaining 40 percent of happiness is subject to self-control.

Genetics do not predict behavior, but is possible it for genes to increase the likelihood of individuals being happier compared to others, but they do not 100 percent predict behavior.

On average richer nations tend to be happier than poorer nations.

However, happiness seems to diminish with wealth of nations.

There are many different contributors to adult wellbeing, in that happiness reflects, in part, the presence of fairness, autonomy, community and engagement.

Cato Institute claims that economic freedom correlates strongly with happiness, preferably within the context of a western mixed economy, with free press and a democracy: East European countries when ruled by Communist parties were less happy than Western ones, even less happy than other equally poor countries.

Happiness economics, supports the contention that in democratic countries life satisfaction is strongly and positively related to the social democratic model of a generous social safety net, pro-worker labor market regulations, and strong labor unions.

There is evidence that public policies which reduce poverty and support a strong middle class, such as a higher minimum wage, strongly affect average levels of well-being.

The Cato institute suggests people make choices that decrease their happiness, because they have also more important aims, and government should not decrease the alternatives available for the citizens by patronizing them, but let the citizen keep a maximal freedom of choice: good mental health and relationships contribute more than income to happiness and governments should take these into account.

In the UK Richard Layard and others have led the development of happiness economics.

Studies show individuals who are the happiest and healthiest report strong interpersonal relationships.

Research shows that adequate sleep contributes to well-being.

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