Have you ever thought about the meaning of happiness? Does happiness mean the same right now, as it did when you were a child? Can experience change our concept of happiness?
Some people say that the meaning of happiness is the same for everyone, while others say it’s highly subjective. But what’s the truth?
To find out the answer, some professionals gathered data from blogs, surveys, and experiments.
They examined 12 million personal blogs that contained the phrase “I feel”.
Then, they checked to see what other emotions were used in the same place as feeling “happy”.
Two words were frequently used with the feeling of happiness: excited and peaceful.
They found that the younger the individuals were, the more they expressed happiness with “excitement”. The older they got, though, the more they used the word “peaceful”.
This means that expressions of excited happiness decreased with age, but expressions of peaceful happiness increased.
They surveyed 386 people aged 18 to 78.
For people in their teens and 20s, happiness was related to feeling excited. For people over 40, though, happiness and feeling peaceful were linked.
Participants listened to both an exciting and a peaceful version of a song. Then, they said how happy they felt on a scale of 1 to 5.
Participants listened to a recording that taught them how to feel more in the present, by doing some activities.
They also experimented to see how different spending habits were across different age groups.
Younger people felt happier when they listened to the exciting version of the song, while older people felt happier when they listened to the peaceful version.
If younger people’s attention is drawn to the present moment, they also link happiness to peacefulness.
They also found out that younger people usually spend money on more exciting things, like going to the club. But older people tend to make more peaceful purchases, like going to the spa.
Happiness has a dynamic meaning. However, the difference in the meaning of happiness doesn’t mean its levels change. There isn’t a particular time in life that is happier or unhappier than the others- it’s just the meaning that changes.