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Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happy mental states may also reflect judgements by a person about their overall well-being. A variety of biological, psychological, economic, religious and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources. Various research groups, including positive psychology and happiness economics are employing the scientific method to research questions about what "happiness" is, and how it might be attained.
The United Nations declared 20 March the International Day of Happiness to recognise the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals.
Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. Happiness in this sense was used to translate the Greek eudaimonia, and is still used in virtue ethics. There has been a transition over time from emphasis on the happiness of virtue to the virtue of happiness. Since the turn of the millennium, the human flourishing approach, advanced particularly by Amartya Sen has attracted increasing interest in psychological, especially prominent in the work of Martin Seligman, Ed Diener and Ruut Veenhoven, and international development and medical research in the work of Paul Anand.
A widely discussed political value expressed in the United States Declaration of Independence of 1776, written by Thomas Jefferson, is the universal right to "the pursuit of happiness." This seems to suggest a subjective interpretation but one that nonetheless goes beyond emotions alone. In fact, this discussion is often based on the naive assumption that the word happiness meant the same thing in 1776 as it does today. In fact, happiness meant "prosperity, thriving, wellbeing" in the 18th century.
- Articles and videos
- 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 used to detect 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 generally (on average). PANAS is a 20-item questionnaire, which uses a five-point Likert scale (1 = very slightly or not at all, 5 = extremely). A longer version with additional affect scales is available in a manual.
- The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) is a global cognitive assessment of life satisfaction developed by Ed Diener. The SWLS requires a person to use a seven-item scale to state their agreement or disagreement (1 = strongly disagree, 4 = neither agree nor disagree, 7 = strongly agree) with five statements about their life.
- Van der Merwe, Paul, Lucky Go Happy : Make Happiness Happen!, Reach Publishers, 2016.
- Anand Paul "Happiness Explained: What Human Flourishing Is and What We Can Do to Promote It", Oxford, Oxford University Press 2016.
- Michael Argyle "The psychology of happiness", 1987
- Boehm, J K. & S. Lyubomirsky, Journal of Career Assessment. Vol 16(1), Feb 2008, 101–16.
- Norman M. Bradburn "The structure of psychological well-being", 1969
C. Robert Cloninger, Feeling Good: The Science of Well-Being, Oxford, 2004.
- Gregg Easterbrook "The progress paradox – how life gets better while people feel worse", 2003
- Michael W. Eysenck "Happiness – facts and myths", 1990
Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness, Knopf, 2006.
- Carol Graham "Happiness Around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires", OUP Oxford, 2009.
- W. Doyle Gentry "Happiness for dummies", 2008
- James Hadley, Happiness: A New Perspective, 2013,
- Joop Hartog & Hessel Oosterbeek "Health, wealth and happiness", 1997
Hills P., Argyle M. (2002). "The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire: a compact scale for the measurement of psychological well-being. Personality and Individual Differences". Psychological Wellbeing. 33: 1073–82. doi:10.1016/s0191-8869(01)00213-6.
- Robert Holden "Happiness now!", 1998
Barbara Ann Kipfer, 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, Workman, 1990/2007, .
- Neil Kaufman "Happiness is a choice", 1991
Stefan Klein, The Science of Happiness, Marlowe, 2006, .
Koenig HG, McCullough M, & Larson DB. Handbook of religion and health: a century of research reviewed (see article). New York: Oxford University Press; 2001.
McMahon, Darrin M., Happiness: A History, Atlantic Monthly Press, November 28, 2005.
- McMahon, Darrin M., The History of Happiness: 400 B.C. – A.D. 1780, Daedalus journal, Spring 2004.
Richard Layard, Happiness: Lessons From A New Science, Penguin, 2005, .
- Luskin, Frederic, Kenneth R. Pelletier, Dr. Andrew Weil (Foreword). "Stress Free for Good: 10 Scientifically Proven Life Skills for Health and Happiness." 2005
- James Mackaye "Economy of happiness", 1906
Desmond Morris "The nature of happiness", 2004
- David G. Myers, Ph. D., The Pursuit of Happiness: Who is Happy – and Why, William Morrow and Co., 1992, .
- Niek Persoon "Happiness doesn't just happen", 2006
Benjamin Radcliff The Political Economy of Human Happiness (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
- Ben Renshaw "The secrets of happiness", 2003
- Fiona Robards, "What makes you happy?" Exisle Publishing, 2014,
Bertrand Russell "The conquest of happiness", orig. 1930 (many reprints)
Martin E.P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness, Free Press, 2002, .
- Alexandra Stoddard "Choosing happiness – keys to a joyful life", 2002
Władysław Tatarkiewicz, Analysis of Happiness, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1976
- Elizabeth Telfer "Happiness : an examination of a hedonistic and a eudaemonistic concept of happiness and of the relations between them...", 1980
- Ruut Veenhoven "Bibliography of happiness – world database of happiness : 2472 studies on subjective appreciation of life", 1993
- Ruut Veenhoven "Conditions of happiness", 1984
- Joachim Weimann, Andreas Knabe, and Ronnie Schob, eds. Measuring Happiness: The Economics of Well-Being (MIT Press; 2015) 206 pages
- Eric G. Wilson "Against Happiness", 2008
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