No, eudaimonia can't be downloaded from the cloud or packaged in a pill. But eudaimonia is a remarkable type of experience that can improve health and well-being, for yourself and others.
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Definitions of eudaimonia date back to ancient philosophers. According to Plato and Aristotle, eudaimonia is the sense of living life in a full and deeply satisfying way, beyond fleeting emotional states. Think of it this way, if you answer "yes" to the question, "Am I living in alignment with my values and purpose?
Aristotle considers eudaimonia the highest human achievement. The ultimate goal of existence, he believes, is human flourishing. Now, most of us are quite familiar with a different kind of happiness: hedonia, or the sense of satisfaction that comes from the pursuit of pleasure.
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Like eudaimonia, hedonia delivers a certain type of happiness that can be rewarding. But science suggests that the effects of hedonia on our health and well-being are different than the effects of eudaimonia. More on that in a bit. Although eudaimonia and hedonia are different, they're highly correlated experiences, which often overlap in interesting ways.
On the other hand, eating a piece of cake in celebration of a friend can be a deeply satisfying experience, one that's more meaningful than simply feeling good.
Eudaimonia doesn't always relate to happiness in the moment. Navigating difficulties and challenges in life -- struggling through a job search, nursing a sick relative, studying for a tough exam -- can connect us to a satisfying sense of meaning and purpose during tough times. Intriguingly, there's evidence that eudaimonic experiences, even when they're uncomfortable, can be good for your health. As researchers explore the connection between psychology and biology, scientific evidence increasingly points to the health benefits of eudaimonia.
People with a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life report greater life satisfaction, stronger emotional ties with others, and less stress, anxiety, and depression.
But the benefits of eudaimonia stretch even further, affecting not just your state of mind but even your physical health at the genetic level. Research suggests that eudaimonia, compared to hedonia, is associated with less inflammation in the body, lower levels of stress hormones, better sleep, healthier weight, and lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.
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So if you're going to chase one type of experience -- eudaimonia or hedonia -- choose eudaimonia. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason. Due to the high volume of feedback, we are unable to respond to individual comments. Sorry, but we can't respond to individual comments. Recent searches Clear All.
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