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The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia and How They Can Be Pursued in Practice


Much of the current psychology research on well-being similarly addresses hedonia and/or eudaimonia, making the hedonic–eudaimonic distinction a central concept in positive psychology. This chapter first discusses existing definitions and research. It outlines a full range of approaches uses one specific approach to defining hedonia and eudaimonia, assuming that hedonia does include the concept of reduced distress. The study of all four categories of analysis—orientations, behaviors, experiences, and functioning—can give us a well-rounded understanding of the whole process of eudaimonia or hedonia. It concludes that eudaimonia and hedonia are most fundamentally orientations. The chapter also presents a review of research findings and discusses the measures that clearly assess both eudaimonia and hedonia as orientations-the Hedonic and Eudaimonic Motives for Activities (HEMA) scale. Finally, it talks about what eudaimonia and hedonia might look like in practice. When hedonia and eudaimonia are pursued wisely, they can make life full and beautiful.
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The Complementary Roles of
Eudaimonia and Hedonia and How
They Can Be Pursued in Practice
MANYOFUSHAVEasked ourselves: What is a good life? What makes a life
worth living? This is one of the great existential questions. The answers
we develop shape our priorities, choices, and goals, and the very way we
decide what is desirable. In conceptions of a good life, the two perspectives that have
gured most prominently are the hedonic view and the eudaimonic view (Ryan &
Deci, 2001). Briey, a hedonic orientation involves seeking happiness, positive affect,
life satisfaction, and reduced negative affect; a eudaimonic orientation includes seek-
ing authenticity, meaning, excellence, and personal growth (Huta & Waterman, 2013).
These two perspectives have been discussed for over 2,000 years by philosophers,
including Aristotle and Aristippus in ancient Greece, and more recently by early psy-
chologists and psychiatrists, such as Maslow, Jung, and Freud. Much of the current
psychology research on well-being similarly addresses hedonia and/or eudaimonia,
making the hedoniceudaimonic distinction a central concept in positive psychology,
as evidenced by its frequent appearance in the rst edition of this volume. It is time for
us to consider more systematically how these concepts might be applied in practice.
First, I discuss existing denitions and research. I then venture into more uncharted
territory. I pull together a characterization of the complementary natures of hedo-
nia and eudaimonia, to clarify why the two concepts are so central to discussions of
well-being, and then propose specic strategies for pursuing hedonia and eudaimo-
nia in practice.
Following this section, I use one specic approach to dening hedonia and eudaimo-
nia, but before I do, I would like to outline the full range of approaches.
In a systematic review of psychology denitions of eudaimonia and hedonia
(Huta & Waterman, 2013), we found that the denitions fall into four different
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categories of analysis. The categories are orientations, behaviors, experiences, and
functioning, as detailed below.
Denitions of eudaimonia have been as follows:
Orientations: Orientations, values, motives, and goals, that is, the “why”
of behavior—for example, valuing growth; seeking challenge; seeking per-
sonal excellence; wanting to serve a higher and meaningful purpose; having
autonomous motivation and intrinsic goals; having goals that are valuable in
themselves and part of one’s identity (Bauer, McAdams, & Sakaeda, 2005; Delle
Fave, Massimini, & Bassi, 2011; Fowers, Mollica, & Procacci, 2010; Huta & Ryan,
2010; Peterson, Park, & Seligman, 2005; Ryan, Huta, & Deci, 2008; Vittersø,
Oelmann, & Wang, 2009).
Behaviors: Behavioral content and activity characteristics, that is, the “what” of
behavior—for example, volunteering; giving money to those in need; expressing
gratitude; mindfulness; engaging in challenging activities to which one brings
commensurate skill (Delle Fave & Massimini, 1988; Ryan et al., 2008; Steger,
Kashdan, & Oishi, 2007).
Experiences: Subjective experiences, emotions, and cognitive appraisals—for
example, feelings of meaning and value; personal expressiveness; interest and
engagement (Delle Fave, Brdar, Freire, Vella-Brodrick, & Wissing, 2011; Vittersø,
Dyrdal, Røysamb, 2005; Waterman, 1993).
Functioning: Indices of a person’s overall positive psychological function-
ing, mental health, and ourishing, that is, how well a person is doing—for
example, autonomy; competence; relatedness; purpose in life; personal growth;
self-acceptance; social well-being; self-discovery; self-actualization; develop-
ment of one’s best potentials; habitual intense involvement and effort (Keyes,
2002; Ryan et al., 2008; Ryff, 1989; Waterman, 1993).
Denitions of hedonia have fallen into three of the categories of analysis:
1. Orientations: For example, seeking pleasure, enjoyment, comfort, or relaxation,
whether or not these aims are achieved; seeking homeostasis; having a mindset
in which one evaluates things as good and bad (Huta & Ryan, 2010; Peterson
et al., 2005; Vittersø, Søholt, Hetland, Thoresen, & Røysamb, 2010).
2. Behaviors: For example, going to a big party; attending a sporting event or con-
cert; going on a long walk; listening to music (Steger et al., 2007).
3. Experiences: For example, positive affect; life satisfaction; happiness; low nega-
tive affect; low depression (Bauer, McAdams, & Pals, 2008; Delle Fave, Brdar,
et al., 2011; Fowers et al., 2010; Keyes, 2002; Ryan et al., 2008; Ryff, 1989; Vittersø
et al., 2005; Waterman, 1993).
Although there are certainly differences between the denitions that various psy-
chologists have used, I will not dwell on the differences here. Instead, I will distill the
concepts that emerge most consistently across denitions, regardless of the category
of analysis, to anchor the reader’s understanding of hedonia and eudaimonia. (See
also Huta, 2013b, for an earlier summary of common elements across eudaimonia
As shown in Huta and Waterman (2013), there is clear agreement that hedonia
involves pleasure, enjoyment, and satisfaction, whether it is construed as the experi-
ence of these variables or as an orientation or behavior aimed at seeking these expe-
riences. The majority of researchers have also associated hedonia with an absence of
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The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia 161
distress (which can be rephrased as a presence of comfort), or with an affective bal-
ance such that positive experiences outweigh negative experiences. In this chapter,
I will assume that hedonia does include the concept of reduced distress. (See Vittersø,
2013, for an additional discussion of hedonia.)
Conceptions of eudaimonia have varied more widely than those of hedonia.
Nevertheless, Huta and Waterman (2013) found that four core denitional elements
appeared across most or all denitions: (1) authenticity: clarifying one’s true self
and deep values, staying connected with them, and acting in accord with them;
(2) meaning: understanding a bigger picture, relating to it, and contributing to it (the
bigger picture may include broader aspects of your own life or identity, a purpose,
the long term, your community, society, the ecosystem; or even a conception of
how the entire world works or is meant to work); (3) excellence: striving for higher
quality and higher standards in one’s behavior, performance, accomplishments, and
ethics; and (4) growth: actualizing what one feels is right for oneself, fullling one’s
potential, and pursuing personal goals; personal growth, learning, improving, and
seeking challenges; and maturing as a human being.
Although hedonia and eudaimonia are distinct concepts, both theoretically and
empirically (e.g., Huta & Ryan, 2010; Peterson et al., 2005), I should add that they are
by no means mutually exclusive, and that they often co-occur. Indeed, some of the
most fullling pursuits are the ones where eudaimonia and hedonia are so seamlessly
blended that they become one.
The study of all four categories of analysis—orientations, behaviors, experiences,
and functioning—can give us a well-rounded understanding of the whole process of
eudaimonia or hedonia. However, I would argue that one category is most directly
at the heart of what is meant by eudaimonia and hedonia: orientations. I believe
that Aristotle was mainly talking about orientations, and that it is primarily about
orientations—the attitudes, values, motives, and goals a person can choose. All we
have control over in life is our choices and aims—we cannot ensure the success of
our aims (i.e., functioning, experiences), or the feelings of well-being that may result
(i.e., experiences). Thus, choices are more fruitful targets for intervention than are
outcomes. It also seems most fair to describe the nature of a person’s life in terms of
their efforts rather than their successes. And a conceptualization in terms of choices
brings the focus of eudaimonia and hedonia inward rather than outward to external
criteria, and on the process of life rather than the outcomes—a focus that seems more
intrinsic, more engaged, and richer. Even when choosing among orientations and
behaviors, I would treat orientations as more fundamental, since two people can
engage in the same surface behavior for very different reasons (Huta, 2013a; Huta &
Ryan, 2010).
Thus, I would conclude that eudaimonia and hedonia are most fundamentally ori-
entations. For the remainder of this chapter, this is the category of analysis that I will
focus on, and the review of research ndings in the next section will focus on the mea-
sures that clearly assess both eudaimonia and hedonia as orientations—the Hedonic
and Eudaimonic Motives for Activities (HEMA) scale that I developed (Huta & Ryan,
2010), and the Orientations To Happiness Questionnaire (OTHQ) based on Seligman’s
conceptualization (Peterson et al., 2005).
The HEMA scale inquires, “To what degree [do you typically approach your
activities]/[did you approach your activities today/this week/etc.] with each of the
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following intentions, whether or not you actually [achieve]/[achieved] your aim?”
The eudaimonic motives are “Seeking to pursue excellence or a personal ideal,”
“Seeking to use the best in yourself,” “Seeking to develop a skill, learn, or gain insight
into something,” and “Seeking to do what you believe in.” The hedonic motives
are “Seeking enjoyment,” “Seeking pleasure,” “Seeking fun,” “Seeking relaxation,”
and “Seeking to take it easy.” Participants give ratings of 1 (not at all) to 7 (very
much). The OTHQ states, “Please indicate the degree to which each of the following
statements applies to you from 1 (very much unlike me) to 5 (very much like me).”
Sample items assessing eudaimonia (which Seligman, 2002, calls the life of meaning)
are “My life serves a higher purpose,” and “I have a responsibility to make the world
a better place.” Sample hedonic items (the life of pleasure) are “Life is too short
to postpone the pleasures it can provide,” and “In choosing what to do, I always
take into account whether it will be pleasurable.” Overall, the HEMA focuses on
the excellence, authenticity, and growth elements of eudaimonia, and the pleasure
and comfort elements of hedonia; the OTHQ focuses on the meaning element of
eudaimonia, and the pleasure element of hedonia. Nevertheless, I have found (in
unpublished data) that the subscales of the HEMA and OTHQ show convergent and
discriminant validity. Furthermore, the research reviewed in the next section has
often produced similar patterns of results for the two scales.
Below, I summarize research on hedonic and eudaimonic orientations, to give the
reader a sense of how hedonia and eudaimonia differ, and how they behave in combi-
nation. Where I say “hedonia relates more,” I imply a comparison with eudaimonia,
and vice versa. Results refer to the trait level unless otherwise specied—the trait
level focuses on a person’s life as a whole, linking their typical or average degree of
eudaimonia or hedonia with their typical or average score on another variable; the
state level, by contrast, focuses on a given moment or time period, linking a person’s
hedonia or eudaimonia at that time with another variable at that time.
Hedonia and eudaimonia relate to somewhat different experiences, so that peo-
ple who pursue both hedonia and eudaimonia have a more well-rounded picture of
well-being than people who pursue only one or the other: hedonia relates more to
carefreeness (at trait and state levels), positive affect (only at the state level), and low
negative affect (only at the state level); eudaimonia relates more to meaning (at trait
and state levels), elevation (at the trait level), self-connectedness (at trait and state lev-
els), work satisfaction, and low depression (Huta, 2013a; Huta & Ryan, 2010; Proyer,
Annen, Eggimann, Schneider, & Ruch, 2012; Schueller & Seligman, 2010).
Hedonia and eudaimonia relate equally to vitality (at both trait and state levels)
(Huta, 2013a; Huta & Ryan, 2010).
Hedonia and eudaimonia relate equally to life satisfaction in studies with
the HEMA scale (Huta, 2013a; Huta & Ryan, 2010) and some studies with the
OTHQ (Chan, 2009; Chen, 2010; Proyer et al., 2012; Peterson, Ruch, Beerman, Park, &
Seligman, 2007; Ruch, Harzer, Proyer, Park, & Peterson, 2010), but eudaimonia relates
more to life satisfaction (and to happiness) in other studies with the OTHQ (Ani´
To n ˇ
c, 2013; Kumano, 2011; Park, Peterson, & Ruch, 2009; Peterson et al., 2005; Peter-
son et al., 2007; Schueller & Seligman, 2010; Vella-Brodrick, Park, & Peterson, 2009).
With the HEMA scale, hedonia and eudaimonia relate equally to positive affect
(Huta, 2013a; Huta & Ryan, 2010), but with the OTHQ, eudaimonia relates more to
positive affect (Ani´
c, 2013; Chan, 2009; Park et al., 2009; Peterson et al., 2005;
Schueller & Seligman, 2010; Vella-Brodrick et al., 2009).
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The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia 163
People who pursue both hedonia and eudaimonia have higher degrees of various
well-being outcomes than people who pursue only one or the other (Ani´
2013; Huta & Ryan, 2010; Peterson et al., 2005).
Hedonic activity may be associated with greater immediate well-being, whereas
eudaimonic activity may be associated with greater long-term well-being (Huta, 2013a;
Huta & Ryan, 2010).
Eudaimonic pursuits are associated with a more positive impact on the surround-
ing world, including close friends and relatives (Huta, 2012; Huta, Pelletier, Baxter,
& Thompson, 2012), the broader community (Huta, 2013a; Huta, Pearce, & Voloaca,
2013), and the environment (Huta et al., 2013); generally, eudaimonia is more related
to indices of long-term perspective, caring about the bigger picture, and abstract
rather than concrete thinking (Huta et al., 2013).
Hedonically oriented and eudaimonically oriented individuals have somewhat
different proles on other individual differences, giving us a sense of how their
natures differ: Of the Values in Action character strengths and virtues (Peterson &
Seligman, 2004), hedonia relates more to playfulness, whereas eudaimonia relates
more to judgment, wisdom, and religiousness; hedonia relates negatively to humility
(Buschor, Proyer, & Ruch, 2013; Huta, 2013a; Peterson et al., 2007; Ruch, Proyer, &
Weber, 2010a). Hedonia relates more to the excitement-seeking and gregariousness
components of extraversion, whereas eudaimonia relates more to characteristics
reecting introversion, including introspectiveness, subjectivity/nonconformism,
enjoyment of solitude, enjoyment of peace and quiet, and a focus on thoughts
and ideas (Huta, 2013a). Eudaimonia relates more to integrated motivation and
to a composite of intrinsic goals, whereas hedonia relates more to a composite of
extrinsic goals (Ani´
c, 2013; Huta, 2013a). In terms of demographics, hedonia
decreases with age, education, skill required in one’s profession, religiousness, and
being married, and eudaimonia increases with skill required in one’s profession
and religiousness (Peterson et al., 2005; Ruch et al., 2010; Schueller & Seligman,
2010). Additional ndings show that eudaimonia relates more to self-control (Ani´
To n ˇ
c, 2013), vocational identity achievement (Hirschi, 2011), and career success
(Proyer et al., 2012), whereas hedonia relates more to materialism (Huta, 2013a).
Research on predictors of eudaimonia and hedonia shows the role of several
parenting variables: Parental demandingness (expecting maturity, setting limits,
providing challenges and enrichment) and parental responsiveness (being nurturing,
taking the time to explain, listening, encouraging self-expression) both relate to
the adult child’s eudaimonia but not his or her hedonia, suggesting that rearing
a child to be eudaimonic requires greater investment (Huta, 2012). Adult children
pursue eudaimonia (or hedonia) whether their parents merely verbally endorsed
eudaimonia (or hedonia) or actually role-modeled it; adult children also derive
increased well-being from eudaimonia (or hedonia) if their parents role-modeled it,
but derive little or no well-being if their parents only verbally endorsed eudaimonia
(or hedonia) (Huta, 2012).
The above review of denitions and ndings gives us an outline of what is meant
by hedonia and eudaimonia. I would like, now, to go even deeper, toward the very
heart of the hedoniceudaimonic distinction. I do not think the distinction is some
artefact of a tradition hailing from ancient Greece. I think it speaks to two very real
psychological functions.
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There are certainly concepts other than hedonia and eudaimonia (as I dene them)
that have been associated with a good life, including relationships, engagement,
accomplishment, harmony, physical health, and attitudes like optimism; extrinsic
values such as material wealth, image, status, power, and popularity; and basic
circumstances such as safety, health, freedom, and essential material resources
(Delle Fave, Brdar, et al., 2011; Grouzet et al., 2005; Kasser & Ryan, 1993; Schwartz
& Bilsky, 1987; Seligman, 2011; Tafarodi et al., 2012). Eudaimonia and hedonia are
not sufcient for an optimal existence, and some of the above variables are needed
as well (including relationships, which play a major role in well-being; Diener &
Seligman, 2002).
Yet there is something fundamental about the distinction between eudaimonia and
hedonia, they play major complementary roles in life. Clarifying these roles can help us
to explain why the hedoniceudaimonic distinction so often appears center stage,
and to appreciate the importance of having a balance of both pursuits.
Below, I outline several complementary functions. They are not clear-cut, because
hedonia includes eudaimonic functions to some degree, and vice versa. And they are
rough generalizations that sometimes oversimplify the picture. Nevertheless, they
are useful for developing a deeper feel for hedonia and eudaimonia, especially when
pursuing them in practice.
Hedonia is about taking, for me, now; eudaimonia is about building, something broader,
for the long-term. This is perhaps the most fundamental distinction. Hedonia is a self-
nourishing and self-care function—taking care of one’s own needs and desires,
typically in the present or near future; reaching personal release and peace, to
replenish, heal, and nd a fresh perspective; and “drinking in” nutriments of energy
and joy. Eudaimonia is a cultivating function—giving of oneself, and investing in
a larger aspect of the self, a long-term project, or the surrounding world. Thus, it
is roughly about taking versus giving,narrow versus broad perspective,andshort-term
versus long-term perspective. The mindsets associated with these orientations might
be summarized as desire versus care. Hedonic desire need not be seen as vulgar—I
am referring to that healthy ability to feel and ow with what one needs and wants
and relishes. The prerequisite for eudaimonia is caring in a very general sense, such
as thoughtfulness, and caring about quality, rightness, context, or the welfare of
others. Deeper still, hedonia and eudaimonia are based on distinct assumptions
about oneself: that one has rights versus responsibilities. If one does not feel entitled
to happiness, self-nourishment, and taking up space, it is difcult to pursue hedonia
in the rst place. Eudaimonia, on the other hand, begins when a person takes
some responsibility for his or her life and for the implications of his or her actions
(Frankl, 1946/1997).
Hedonia is the pursuit of what feels good; eudaimonia is the pursuit of what one believes
to be right. Implied in the previous sentence are several distinctions (see also Steger &
Shin, 2012, for similar distinctions). First, there is the affective and biological versus cog-
nitive distinction—the desirability of pursuits is gauged in terms of more emotional
and physical experiences in hedonia, but in terms of more abstract values and ideals
in eudaimonia. We might approximate this by speaking of pleasure versus value. There
is an automatic versus effortful distinction. Hedonia proceeds more directly and auto-
matically from our hard wiring. Eudaimonia is a natural inclination as well (Maslow,
1968)—it is fullling to use what we have and become all that we can be. However,
eudaimonic ideals must rst be developed, and then actively kept in mind to some
degree, if they are to be pursued; as such, eudaimonia is more effortful and more eas-
ily disrupted (Huta, 2013b). To some degree, there is also a subjective versus objective
distinction (Diener, Sapyta, & Suh, 1998). Hedonia aims at activities that are pleasant
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The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia 165
for the individual in question. Eudaimonia is also largely guided by subjective inner
processes and gut feelings, but some eudaimonic aims, such as ethical behavior and
maturity, are informed by conceptions of what is universally of high quality in all
human beings.
Overall, hedonia is more fundamental, whereas eudaimonia is more elevated. We cannot
consider one pursuit “better” than the other, each is important in its own way. Hedo-
nia is more fundamental in the sense that it often takes care of immediate needs and
desires, and is based on older brain systems that we share with other species. Eudai-
monia is a “higher pleasure” (Seligman, 2002) in the sense that it allows people to
develop their potential, and it exercises the higher cognitive capacities which are par-
ticularly well-developed in humans, such as values, morality, and vision (Huta 2013b;
Steger & Shin, 2012). The actual proportions of hedonia and eudaimonia that best suit
a person probably vary widely from individual to individual. But if a person does not
have at least some hedonia and some eudaimonia, they may feel at and unfullled,
be more vulnerable to unhappiness, or develop psychopathology. To achieve optimal
well-being, we need to have some degree of both complementary functions, and they
probably keep each other in check.
The denitions, ndings, and complementary functions discussed above clearly indi-
cate the importance of pursuing both hedonia and eudaimonia. This, of course, raises
the question of how exactly a person goes about pursuing these. I dedicate the remain-
der of this chapter to a description of what eudaimonia and hedonia might look like
in practice.
I rst note, however, that hedonia and eudaimonia are present in various inter-
ventions already. For example, prescribing psychotropic medication is a hedonic
intervention to the degree that it is treated as a means to alleviate suffering.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (Beck, 2011) includes the hedonic aim of relieving
distress and the eudaimonic aim of reducing dysfunction. More strongly in the
eudaimonic direction, we nd therapies which also aim to reduce distress, but which
place more emphasis on taking suffering as a ag, even an opportunity, indicating the
need to move toward greater authenticity, meaning, excellence, or growth. Examples
of such interventions are humanistic therapies (e.g., Frankl, 1946/1997; Maslow, 1968;
Rogers, 1961), acceptance commitment therapy (Hayes, Luoma, Bond, Masuda, &
Lillis, 2006), and well-being therapy (Fava & Tomba, 2009). Some interventions
explicitly target the enhancement of both hedonia and eudaimonia, such as quality
of life therapy and coaching (Frisch, in press). And a variety of positive psychology
interventions are aimed less at alleviating suffering and more at enhancing hedonic
and/or eudaimonic aspects of life (Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009).
My aim here is to bring together some key concepts in the pursuit of hedonia and
eudaimonia (which will be italicized) that could form the basis of interventions, and
of research on those interventions. (The Appendix also lists some measures that could
be used by researchers and practitioners.) Applied settings might include coaching,
education, organizations, clinical practice, and self-help. In writing this chapter, I sac-
riced much depth, illustration, and nuance for the sake of at least touching on many
concepts and authors that are relevant—the topic could easily ll a book of its own. I
will also say that I consider the proposal below to be a draft, which will undoubtedly
be revised and expanded as our eld gains insight into well-being.
From here on in, I use more colloquial language, and speaking to the reader as
“you.” This is in the spirit of more direct and intimate communication, as I will be
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addressing the reader as someone who may be personally interested in the pursuit of
hedonia or eudaimonia.
The four common elements across most denitions of eudaimonia—authenticity,
meaning, excellence, and growth (Huta & Waterman, 2013)—form an excellent
framework for the pursuit of eudaimonia. These terms therefore make up the
headings of the outline below. The elements are intertwined to some degree, and
what I say about one may also apply to others.
Do you have to do all of the things below? Certainly not. Only one or two ideas
may connect with a need or interest that you currently have.
As noted earlier, authenticity involves clarifying your true self and deep values,
staying connected with them, and acting in accord with them. Authenticity can be
very personally fullling and is experienced as meaningful (Schlegel, Hicks, King, &
Ardnt, 2011). At the same time, like the other elements of eudaimonia, it is largely
pursued for a subtler reason—as an end in itself, something that simply feels right.
The concept of authenticity is directly embedded in the term “eudaimonia” from
ancient Greece—the term is made up of two words, “eu,” meaning good or healthy,
and “daimon,” meaning the spirit or true self (Norton, 1976).
Facing yourself, warts and all, takes a good dose of humility. Soul-searching to
establish, reevaluate, and evolve your identity brings uncertainty, and may be a time
of crisis (Marcia, 1967). And it is not always easy to make your persona, profession,
and relationships congruent with your true self—it may take courage, there may be
limitations, and you may have to compromise. Yet nding paths toward authenticity
is liberating, brings clarity, makes life feel more real, and sets a rmer foundation to
build upon.
Moving toward a clearer identity involves a dialogue between life experiences and
the inner self (Waterman & Schwartz, 2013). You can cultivate a habit of noticing
moments when something captures your interest, imagination, or curiosity (Kashdan
& Silvia, 2009). Trust that there is a voice inside you, however vague at rst, that can
sort out what is “you.” Humanistic psychologists called this voice the organismic valu-
ing process (Rogers, 1964), and much of positive psychology implicitly assumes that
we all have this ability (Joseph & Linley, 2004). You can learn to hear this inner voice,
and to gauge when your mind is speaking authentically and when it is biased. One
trick to bypass your biases is to ask yourself, “What would someone who knows me
well have to say?”
An important part of who you are is your character strengths. To identify these,
you can take the Values in Action (VIA) Inventory of Strengths (Peterson & Selig-
man, 2004). The VIA includes strengths of the head (love of learning, curiosity, good
judgment, creativity, appreciation of beauty) and strengths of the heart (fairness, for-
giveness, gratitude, honesty, hope, humor, kindness, leadership, love, modesty, per-
sistence, prudence, spirituality, teamwork, zest, bravery, perspective, self-regulation,
social intelligence) (Park & Peterson, 2010).
More generally, you might write an essay or have a discussion (Staudinger, 2001) on
questions such as: How do I act when I’m allowed to be vulnerable? Who inspires
me? What did I love as a child? If money or time were not an issue, what would I do?
What do I believe in? To move toward generalizations, you can start with something
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The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia 167
specic (e.g., I love cooking, I love sitting by rivers), and apply a downward arrow
technique (Szymanska, 2008), which is a chain of “why” questions for reaching deeper
into yourself, for example, “What is my reason for liking it? Why does that reason t
with me? What does my last answer say about me in general?”
Perhaps most importantly, take the time to mull things over. Instead of escaping
into a TV show or videogame or Facebook, try shifting some time toward being with
yourself or having a meaningful conversation. The human mind naturally reviews the
past, highlights what was meaningful, brings up what was discrepant, and connects
the dots, if we just give it the time.
To stay connected with that inner “pilot light” at any given time, it helps to practice
mindfulness—focusing on your experiences in the present, and clearing away judg-
ments and reactions in an effort to see the experiences for what they are (Baer, Smith,
Hopkins, Krietemeyer, & Tonry, 2006).
Regular meditation is also very helpful. It need not take long, follow someone else’s
prescribed technique, or be in a physically uncomfortable position. It is a regular time
for encountering yourself, possibly celebrating what you are grateful for, reciting a
self-made summary of what you stand for, setting the tone for the upcoming day, or
anything else that helps keep you grounded.
And when you surround yourself with things that resonate with you—such as pic-
tures, plants, music, or memorabilia—they provide daily reminders of your spirit. You
could make some of them yourself, or personalize them by building stories around
them. It’s about breathing your own spirit into your world.
Finally, aligning your lived life with your true self partly involves shaping your
activities, and partly involves shaping your psychological approach. Despite the con-
straints of life, there is usually something you can do to feel that life is more on your
terms. You might live your passion through a hobby, show more of your character
in your persona, steer conversations to meaningful topics, or incorporate signature
strengths into your work (Seligman, 2002). Sometimes, you may do major houseclean-
ing, such as ending a meaningless relationship or switching your work toward more
of a calling (Wrzesniewski, McCaulay, Rozin, & Schwartz, 1997). It isn’t easy, but it
helps to think of how much the change will energize you, and how much less energy
will be leeched out of you in the form of frustration.
To shift psychologically toward taking the helm, much can be learned from
research on self-determination theory, which points to the following autonomy-
supportive principles (Deci & Ryan, 1987). Listen to your own perspective, and seek
out others who respect your perspective. Use noncoercive language with yourself—
consider replacing “should,” “ought to,” and “have to,” with phrases like “it makes
sense to,” “now is a good time to,” or “let’s go for it.” It is liberating to give yourself
the freedom to choose how you will act (the core aim of existential interventions;
Warnock, 1970). And think through the rationale for an activity, to see whether and
how it aligns with your interests, values, and meaning framework, even if it means
lumping it in with “daily unexciting chores I graciously accept as a normal part of
life.” Perhaps nd someone who embraces the activity and ask them how they see
it—their perspective can often be boiled down to a single effective phrase (consider
Nike’s brilliant “Just do it!”).
Meaning involves understanding a bigger picture, relating to it, and contributing to
it—the bigger picture may include broader aspects of your life or identity, a pur-
pose, the long term, your community, society, the ecosystem, or even a conception
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of how the entire world works or is meant to work. There is more to the concept of
meaning (Wong & Fry, 2012), but the self-transcendent aspect is especially relevant to
Developing an understanding of the bigger picture may involve perplexing exis-
tential questions, and contributing to the surrounding world may involve personal
sacrice. Yet relating to a broader context gives a role to your actions, and an oppor-
tunity to make a difference (Huta & Zuroff, 2007).
Seeking to understand a bigger framework means being guided by big questions:
How does this bigger picture operate? What is its purpose? What matters in this
bigger context? Such questions raise the likelihood of doubting our existing world-
view, sometimes threatening our sense of stability. I therefore believe in “nibbling”at
them, tackling only as much as we are ready for. I also believe in being comfortable
with half-baked hypotheses—it’s a life-long process and nobody has the nal answers.
You can be somewhat systematic in building your understanding by labeling your
hypotheses; for example, “half-baked hypothesis,” “quarter-baked hypothesis,” or
“no hypothesis but interesting question!” And just assigning such labels directs your
unconscious toward seeking answers.
We often develop our life philosophies through exposure to others’ theories—
through our parents and local culture, religion, travel, philosophical texts, discus-
sions with friends, immersion in biography or ction. But it is not enough to gather
material from others. You need to attend to your own experiences, and then process
it all—through partly unconscious mulling, or through intentional use of metaphor
or narrative (McAdams, 1993), or through an intuitive process in which you align
yourself with a bigger picture “simply by doing.” Meaning is based on connections,
contrasts, and hierarchies—you need to connect the dots somehow, otherwise you
simply have a pile of ideas. Perhaps that is why Aristotle placed contemplation as the
highest of the virtues (Aristotle, 2001).
Contributions to a bigger picture have value in some broader, deeper, or
longer-term sense. People can contribute in many different ways, such as random acts
of kindness (Otake, Shimai, Tanaka-Matsumi, Otsui, & Fredrickson, 2006), service,
building, creating, activism, teaching, childrearing, guiding the next generation,
or investing in a worthwhile personal goal. Much of what is meant by a broader
contribution is captured by the concept of generativity, identied by Erikson (1950)
as the central task of adulthood (McAdams & de St. Aubin, 1998). Contributing also
includes refraining from harm, which is a large part of activities like proenvironmental
behavior (Kasser, 2011; Pelletier, Baxter, & Huta, 2011).
Excellence involves striving for higher quality and higher standards in your behavior,
performance, accomplishments, and ethics. I would add that the standards need to t
with your true self, your means, and your stage in life. And it’s about the effort and
process, whether or not the goal is achieved.
Excellence takes work, long-term commitment, and sometimes risk. Yet it can be
deeply gratifying to know that you have done your best, done the right thing, or
done a good job. It lls you and simultaneously brings a feeling of release, like some-
thing has culminated because you’ve given it your all. It builds feelings of quality and
healthy pride. You appreciate things more profoundly, knowing how much work it
takes to earn them. And it elevates you, inspires you, and brings you to a higher level
of functioning.
To differentiate up from down in the pursuit of excellence, you need some concep-
tion of when a choice is good, right, of higher quality, true, noble, sacred, or beautiful.
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The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia 169
We absorb such conceptions from our parents and culture, and sometimes from char-
acter education in school (Berkowitz & Bier, 2004). You can build a vision of your stan-
dard or ideal by imagining how you would behave and feel, and what you would
be capable of, perhaps by writing an essay on your “best possible self” (King, 2001).
You can look to role models, people who inspire you. It’s worth learning about them in
detail, to immerse yourself in their way of thinking and behaving, and get a realistic
sense of the time invested in their excellence, the costs, and how much of their life is
quite ordinary. All that being said, the development of judgment and ideals needs to
be balanced by tolerance, lest it turn into being judgmental toward others or yourself.
Various concepts in psychology fall under the umbrella of excellence. For example,
Seligman (2002) speaks of regularly exercising your ve greatest signature strengths,
and serving a higher purpose. He also describes how you can turn many jobs into
callings, going beyond what is asked of you to create something special (see also
Duffy & Sedlacek, 2007; Wrzesniewski et al., 1997). Wong (2010) speaks of respon-
sible action—nding the right solution and doing what is morally right. Kohlberg
(1984) developed a theory of moral development, identifying reasoning that ranged
from entirely selsh and short-sighted to prosocial, universally valid, and based on a
personal ability to judge what is appropriate. Orlick (1990) speaks of achieving a high
level of excellence in the performance of your specic profession or sport. In pursuing
excellence, try not to compare yourself with others unless it inspires you or teaches
you something you need. That is, adopt a mastery orientation (focusing on the learning
and improvement itself, and using your past self as a reference point) rather than a
performance orientation (wanting to appear competent compared to others) (Dweck &
Leggett, 1988). Eudaimonia is rst and foremost a private dialogue—it’s about your
relationship with yourself.
Growth involves actualizing what you feel is right for you, fullling your potential,
and pursuing personal goals; personal growth, learning, improving, and seeking chal-
lenges; and maturing as a human being.
Like excellence, growth requires commitment and effort, and brings the uncer-
tainty and instability of change. Yet people naturally seek out activities slightly
beyond their current ability (e.g., Abuhamdeh & Csikszentmihalyi, 2012; Deci,
1971). Advertisers do us a disservice by implying that we want everything to be
easy. Growth builds feelings of progress, accomplishment, and competence, and the
fulllment of bringing a personal project to fruition.
Some theories of growth have proposed universal milestones, whereas others
have focused on person-specic aims (Waterman & Schwartz, 2013). Maturity is
more aimed at universal goals, actualization is more person-specic, and personal
growth is somewhere in between.
Several theories as relevant to the concept of maturity. Erikson (1950) stated that
we pass through stages of psychosocial development, the sequence in adulthood being:
identity—determining your true character; intimacy—connecting deeply with oth-
ers; generativity—making a difference; and ego integrity—coming to terms with life.
Loevinger (1966) proposed stages of ego development, such that people are initially con-
formist, then a blend of conscientious and conformist, then conscientious (rules are
internalized), individualistic (autonomy of self and others is respected), autonomous
(multiple facets are integrated and limitations are tolerated), and, nally, integrated
(inner conicts are reconciled). Maslow (1964) described highly self-actualized people
as having realism, tolerance, a nonhostile sense of humor, autonomy, spontaneity,
comfort with solitude, strong ethics and responsibility, a sense of fellowship with the
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human condition, purpose, profound relationships, continual fresh appreciation, and
peak experiences.
Personal growth includes processes such as learning information and skills, gain-
ing experience, improving, deepening insight, overcoming obstacles, transcending
suffering, and setting challenges for yourself. The mind, like any muscle, wants to be
used and developed.
To be open to growth, it is important to believe that it is possible and that suc-
cess is based on learning and hard work (a growth mindset), rather than believing
that people cannot change and that success depends on innate ability (a xed mindset)
(Dweck, 2006).
The somewhat mysterious process of inner transformation will not take place if
you are not engaged, truly interacting with life, as ow theory shows. Flow is that
state of immersion during an activity that you can’t yet do automatically, but that you
nd challenging and are able to face with just enough skill to meet the challenge (too
little skill leads to anxiety, too much skill leads to boredom) (Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).
People seem wired to seek ow (Csikszentimihalyi & Nakamura, 2010), and since
ow activities extend our abilities, they lead to personal growth (Csikszentmihalyi &
Massimini, 1985). Personal growth is further facilitated by openness to experience and
by curiosity (Vittersø, 2004; Vittersø, Overwien, & Martinsen, 2009).
Actualization involves developing what you feel you are meant to do, what ts
with you, perhaps even what feels like a personal destiny (Norton, 1976). It need not
look prestigious, it need not be understood by others. It’s about coming into your
own. People I have met who lived their passion range from a visionary department
head, to a memorable grocery store employee who just shone with a zest for helping
people, to a retiree who created a giant spreadsheet of historical milestones simply
for personal interest.
Follow your passion rst, without worrying about where it will take you, whether it
will succeed, whether it will make money. The logistics come later. Yes, you may need
to adjust your vision in the face of limiting circumstances, but you’ll be further along
than if you never started, and you will keep the ame alive. It’s like art—the primary
mindset needs to be experiential, to feel your way through an idea, while practical and
analytical considerations play an essential but supporting role. Interestingly, things
then start to fall into place, as Joseph Campbell describes:
Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be
living is the one you are living. .... If you follow your bliss, doors will open
for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else. (Campbell & Moyers, 1988,
p. 120)
Finally, growth requires some self-management. It helps to be aware of your stage
of change with respect to a project, and to only move forward when you are ready.
When you rush into a project and have to back out later, it’s discouraging and makes
it harder to try again. Prochaska and Velicer (1997) identied the following stages
of change:
Precontemplation: You are not ready and may not be aware of the importance of
the goal.
Contemplation: You are considering the advantages and disadvantages.
Preparation: You are ready and planning your goals.
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The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia 171
Action: You begin.
Maintenance: You continue.
Termination: The pursuit has become a part of you and there is little temptation
to drop it.
The preparation stage is aided by implementation intentions, very specic plans for
intermediate steps (Gollwitzer, 1999). Maintenance is aided by grit, including sus-
tained interest, resistance to distraction, perseverance through setbacks, and simply
sticking with it. Grit is partly based on the understanding that frustration, confu-
sion, and some failure are normal parts of learning, and do not mean that you should
quit (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007). Maintenance is also based on
self-regulation—controlling your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, through clear stan-
dards, self-monitoring, and willpower. Self-regulation is a better predictor of reaching
your potential than is your intelligence (Duckworth & Seligman, 2005; Maddux, 2009).
When you encounter fatigue or amotivation, it helps to remind yourself of the value
of your goal—thinking of values is a more cognitive process and achievable even
when your feelings are down. And I have observed that accomplished individuals
often have a means of periodically organizing their thoughts and gaining perspective
on their goals, be it a diary, pensive walks, or discussions with a condant. Over-
all, the stages from contemplation and onward are fueled by that remarkable class of
human abilities that might be called faith—believing in something even before it has
happened!—such as self-efcacy or believing you can do it, hope,optimism,trustinthe
process, and positive vision (Carver & Scheier, 2002; Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984;
Snyder, 1995). With such tools in hand, you can see the possibilities, run with the gifts.
Through hedonic pursuits, we seek to experience pleasure and enjoyment, relieve
distress and strain, and reach satisfaction. Hedonic pursuits cover the full range from
physical to emotional, from crude to sublime, from transient to profound. Each part
of these ranges can be benecial, if done in the right context and in the right way.
Hedonia can have undesirable consequences when taken to excess or when not bal-
anced by eudaimonia—for example, destructive impulsivity, chronic escapism, addic-
tion, selshness, antisocial behavior, greed, and unbridled consumerism. (Eudaimo-
nia can certainly be excessive as well.) But when pursued in a healthy way, hedonia
not only leads to joy and comfort, but also “lls your tanks” and fuels motivation,
inspiration, broadened attention, and a desire to build (Fredrickson, 2004). It also
gives you a break so you can nd a fresh perspective.
Below, I focus only on healthful approaches to hedonia. In its optimal form, hedo-
nia brings out those beautiful primal, sensual, and creature-comfort parts of ourselves
that emerge spontaneously when we are fullled to our heart’s content, well-rested,
and free of preoccupations.
It is worth looking at Fordyce’s (1983) 14 fundamentals of happiness, which he
tested in several interventions. They provide some good advice for pursuing hedo-
nia (focusing on the present,not expecting too much,making happiness a high priority,not
worrying needlessly,taking care of yourself), as well as more eudaimonic recommenda-
tions (meaningful work,authenticity,planning and organizing,solving rather than ignoring
problems), and principles relevant to both eudaimonia and hedonia (engagement,relat-
edness,positive and optimistic thinking). More recently, Lyubomirsky (2008) identied a
partly overlapping list of validated positive psychology interventions: savouring,car-
ing for your body, gratitude,optimism,engagement,avoiding overthinking and comparing
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yourself with others,relationships,kindness,forgiveness,good coping strategies,goal com-
mitment,andreligion and spirituality.
Let me add some comments to these recommendations. So much of well-being
is in your perspective, and adopting a positive perspective is something you can
learn (Seligman, 1998). It truly is about seeing the cup as half full rather than half
empty. You can practice selective attention, focusing on what you have rather than
what you don’t—there is usually enough bad material in life to justify misery, and
enough good material to justify happiness, so you can make choices about your
focus (Mather & Carstensen, 2003). Be wary of setting expectations too high (or having
expectations at all), as it undermines enjoyment (Mauss, Tamir, Anderson, & Savino,
2011; Schooler, Ariely, & Loewenstein, 2003). If you have the attitude that nothing
is ever good enough, nothing ever will be. Appreciate how much luckier you are
than some people, an attitude called downward social comparison (Wills, 1981). And
when things are difcult, balance entitlement with grace, acceptance, and equanimity
(processes aided by eudaimonia, to be sure).
Engagement is critical (Seligman, 2011). Get immersed in what you do, rather
than having an evaluative mindset. Evaluation is useful when change is desired,
but otherwise, when you’re judging from “outside” yourself, it blocks personal
enjoyment (Vittersø et al., 2009)—imagine someone constantly asking “Am I happy
yet?” Also, intentional activities (e.g., exercise, hobbies, quality time with family
and friends) account for much more of happiness than circumstances (e.g., getting a
raise, getting married, moving to California); intentional activities are sustained and
provide variety, and thus counteract hedonic adaptation, the process of getting used to
your situation and reverting to previous levels of happiness (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon,
& Schkade, 2005). Easiness is not always a gauge of whether a hedonic activity is
worthwhile—sometimes activities are more hedonically satisfying when they require
effort, be it physical activity or emotional or cognitive investment ( sometimes).
Furthermore, seeing an activity as just a vehicle to happiness, rather than truly engag-
ing in the activity itself, is an extrinsic mindset (Schooler et al., 2003). Extrinsic motives
reduce the genuine connection with an activity that is needed for enjoyment (Deci &
Ryan, 2000). Though I’ve been speaking of hedonia as the “pursuit” of happiness, it’s
important to interpret this phrase correctly. Happiness cannot be directly commanded
or bought. Hedonia is about engaging in joyful and relaxing activities and attitudes,
and then somehow happiness comes in its own due time (Martin, 2008). To quote Eleanor
Roosevelt, “Happiness is not a goal it’s a by-product of a life well-lived.”
Although happiness cannot be guaranteed, there is nevertheless a way to very
much enhance the likelihood of hedonic experience: savoring. It’s the process of
actively opening your senses, emotions, and cognitive appreciation to indulge in
something longer and more fully. Even the little things, especially the little things,
can be relished—a great tune, a friend’s laughter, or the smell of the owers. People
can savor the present moment, or the past, by reminiscing and reliving, or the future,
by anticipating and imagining (Bryant & Veroff, 2007). Savoring processes include
physically luxuriating, marveling, basking and self-congratulation, and gratitude
(Bryant & Veroff, 2007). Gratitude is a particularly powerful predictor of well-being
(Emmons & McCullough, 2003), and it is worth making a habit of celebrating your
blessings, perhaps as part of a daily meditation (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson,
2005; Seligman, Rashid, & Parks, 2006). There is also an interpersonal form of
savoring—sharing a positive event with others who thenengage in active-constructive
responding, that is, showing genuine excitement, and capitalizing on the event by
discussing it further, celebrating, telling others, and so on (Gable, Reis, Impett, &
Asher, 2004).
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The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia 173
In order to take care of yourself, you need to take the time. Don’t hold back on vacations
(they are crucial for eudaimonic development, too), and take breaks the rest of the year
as well. Wells (2012) proposes a 1-3-2 principle, arguing that people need to rest, take
personal time, and completely unplug from work at least 1 hour a day, 3 days a month,
and 2 weeks a year. That’s probably a bare minimum. Furthermore, different people
nd different activities fullling (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005), and thus it’s important to
listen to yourself. Pay attention to your (positive) fantasies, wishes, and impulses, and
follow through when you can, at least in some small way. You may have gotten into
the habit of ignoring these, but they do resurface here and there, and you can build
on them. Also, take note of how different activities actually make you feel—we are
not always good at predicting what will make us happy (Gilbert & Wilson, 2007).
Finally, I will say that hedonia need not always be a “pursuit.” Sometimes it’s good
to just be. On a cool day in the height of summer, with the cicadas going and the sound
of wind in the trees, who needs anything more than to simply sit? I truly believe, on
an existential level, that we are “meant to” enjoy and just be as much as we are “meant
to” pursue eudaimonia.
The long-standing theoretical literature on eudaimonia and hedonia, the empirical
ndings, and the clarication of complementarities all point to the importance of
having both pursuits in life. Much research is still needed regarding the outcomes,
correlates, and predictors of these pursuits. Nevertheless, we do have enough of a
grounding to think about applications. For one thing, discussions of how a person
goes about pursuing hedonia and eudaimonia will deepen our understanding of these
concepts, and help with theoretical integration in more basic research. It will gener-
ate hypotheses for research on interventions—there is adequate empirical support
for some of the individual elements in my proposal, but research has yet to be con-
ducted on other elements or on combinations of elements. Most importantly, I hope
that this chapter will serve as a springboard for discussions of how the vital concepts
of eudaimonia and hedonia can concretely be applied to improve peoples’ lives. When
hedonia and eudaimonia are pursued wisely, with a feel for their deeper natures and
intricacies, they can make life full and beautiful.
Psychology denitions of eudaimonia and/or hedonia fall into different cate-
gories of analysis: orientations, behaviors, experiences, or functioning.
There is good reason to consider the orientations category—the “why” of
behavior—to be the most fundamental (though the other categories provide
valuable information as well).
The concepts appearing in most denitions of hedonia are pleasure/enjoyment
and low distress; the concepts in most denitions of eudaimonia are authenticity,
meaning, excellence, and growth. These sets of concepts can be operationalized
as orientations, and can be used to anchor and organize well-being interventions.
Underlying the difference between the two sets of concepts is a distinc-
tion between major complementary functions in life, roughly summarized
as “taking, for me, now” versus “investing in something broader for the
Research on hedonic and eudaimonic orientations shows, among other
things, that they relate to somewhat different aspects of personal well-being
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(e.g., carefreeness versus meaning), and that they together relate to greater
well-being than either pursuit alone.
Finally, the second half of the chapter identies specic activities and practices
that a person can adopt to bring more hedonia and eudaimonia into their life. I
have tried to provide enough examples, caveats, and principles to give the reader
a feel for what these pursuits entail and when they are truly fullling, so that he
or she can craft their own path to fulllment.
Below, I suggest some measures that might be used by researchers or practitioners
when they need to assess the outcomes of practicing eudaimonia or hedonia. The
measures can also sometimes be useful self-assessments in our private lives. We may
choose to evaluate ourselves when we experience a lack of well-being, or feel that a
question needs to be answered. But, as discussed earlier, excessive self-assessment can
unnecessarily detract attention from engaging with life, make us feel that the glass is
half empty rather than half full, and create an evaluative mindset that interferes with
the experience of well-being. It’s a balance.
Scale Author(s) Sample items
Authenticity, Identity, Reflections of Fit Between True Self and Activity
Wood, Linley,
Maltby, Baliousis,
and Joseph, 2008
“I am in touch with ‘the real me,’” “I am
true to myself in most situations,” “I
always feel I need to do what others
Huta, 2012 “Connected with myself,” “Aware of what
matters to me,” “Aware of how I feel”
Questionnaire for
Waterman et al.,
“I believe I know what I was meant to do
in life,” “I believe I know what my best
potentials are and I try to develop them
whenever possible,” “It is more important
that I really enjoy what I do than that other
people are impressed by it”
Waterman, 1993 “This activity gives me my strongest
feelings that this is who I really am,”
“When I engage in this activity I feel that
this is what I was meant to do,” “I feel a
special fit or meshing when engaging in
this activity”
Interest Vittersø, Overwien,
and Martinsen, 2009
“Interested,” “Engaged,” “Immersed”
Sheldon and Elliot,
“I pursue this activity because of the fun
and enjoyment it provides me,” “I pursue
this activity because I really believe it’s an
important goal to have,” “I pursue this
activity because I would feel ashamed,
guilty, or anxious if I did not,” “I pursue this
activity because somebody else wants
me to”
Subjective Vitality Ryan and Frederick,
“I feel energized,” “I feel alive and vital,” “I
have energy and spirit”
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The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia 175
Scale Author(s) Sample items
Authenticity, Identity, Reflections of Fit Between True Self and Activity
Framework Battista and Almond,
“I have really come to terms with what’s
important for me in my life,” “I have a
system or framework that allows me to
truly understand my being alive,” “I have a
clear idea of what I’d like to do with my
Presence of
Steger, Frazier,
Oishi, and Kaler,
“I understand my life’s meaning,” “I have a
good sense of what makes my life
meaningful,” “I have discovered a
satisfying life purpose”
Huta and Ryan,
“My activities and experiences are
meaningful,” “My activities and
experiences are valuable,” “My activities
and experiences play an important role in
some broader picture”
Purpose in Life Ryff, 1989 “I sometimes feel as if I’ve done all there
is to do in life (R),” “Some people wander
aimlessly through life, but I am not one of
them,” “I live life one day at a time and
don’t really think about the future (R)”
Authentic Pride Tracy and Robins,
“Honor,” “Confidence,” “Achieving”
Elevation Huta and Ryan,
“Enriched,” “Morally elevated,” “Part of
something greater than myself”
Growth, Actualization, Maturity
Personal Growth Ryff, 1989 “For me, life has been a continuous
process of learning, changing, and
growth,” “I think it is important to have new
experiences that challenge how you think
about yourself and the world,” “I gave up
trying to make big improvements or
changes in my life a long time ago (R)”
Self-Actualization Jones and Crandall,
“I don’t accept my own weaknesses (R),”
“I have no mission in life to which I feel
especially dedicated (R),” “I can express
my feelings even when they may result in
undesirable consequences”
Completion Test
of Ego
Loevinger, 1979 “The thing I like about myself is ______,”
“My main problem is ______,” “If I can’t
get what I want ______” (RESPONSES
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Scale Author(s) Sample items
Authenticity, Identity, Reflections of Fit Between True Self and Activity
Positive Affect Emmons and
Diener, 1985
“Happy,” “Pleased,” “Enjoyment/fun”
Negative Affect Emmons and
Diener, 1985
“Unhappy,” “Frustrated,”
Life Satisfaction Diener, Emmons,
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... In particular, hedonia may be associated with decreased individual well-being (Yang et al., 2017a;Sheldon et al., 2019;Lin and Chan, 2020;Zeng and Chen, 2020). The distinct associations of hedonic and eudaimonic orientations with wellbeing outcomes may be accounted for by two significant differences between them (Huta, 2015). First, hedonia is related to people's short-term needs, whereas eudaimonia is associated with long-term objectives. ...
... This study provides a deeper understanding of how hedonic and eudaimonic orientations exert different effects on individual well-being. According to the motive-behavior-experience model (Huta, 2015), hedonic and eudaimonic orientations motivate people to engage in more hedonic and eudaimonic behaviors respectively, and this affects an individual's well-being. While theoretically researchers have suggested that excessive hedonic orientation may also lead to maladaptive hedonic behaviors, empirically only a few studies have investigated these potential links (Yang et al., 2017a;Giuntoli et al., 2021). ...
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The question of how the pursuit of happiness affects an individual’s actual well-being has received much scholarly attention in recent years. However, few studies have investigated the associations of happiness orientation with people’s subjective experience and objective functioning simultaneously. The current research examines the possibility that hedonic and eudaimonic orientations have different relationships with college students’ affective well-being and academic achievement, while taking into consideration the behavioral mechanism that underlies the process. We conducted online surveys to collect data including hedonic and eudaimonic orientations at the beginning of the semester and academic behavioral engagement, procrastination, and affective well-being at the end of the semester with a final sample of 566 Chinese undergraduate students. Their official grade point average for the semester was extracted from the university records system. The results confirmed that overall hedonic orientation was negatively associated with affective well-being and academic achievement, whereas eudaimonic orientation was positively associated with these outcomes. The study further found that both academic behavioral engagement and procrastination played mediating roles in the associations of happiness orientation with positive affect and academic achievement. However, only procrastination mediated the relationship between happiness orientation and negative affect. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.
... Keywords: eudaimonia, hedonia, latent profile analysis, mental health The prevalence of mental health issues (e.g., depressive disorders, anxiety disorders) among veterans has been significantly increasing because of the devastatingly stressful experiences in the war (Tanielian & Jaycox, 2008). In Canada, suicide prevention is a top priority for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) since the suicide mortality in CAF was 23.8 per 100,000 in 2015-2018(Rolland-Harris, 2019. According to the government report (cf. ...
... More specifically, eudaimonic motives for sport participation are more likely to affect their SWB and PWB. Huta (2015) defined eudaimonia as consisting of four elements: (a) authenticity, (b) meaning, (c) excellence, and (d) growth. Therefore, based on the present findings, pursuing the eudaimonic elements in sport participation (i.e., eudaimonic motives for sport participation) may lead the sport participants to attain greater psychological benefits than the sport participants with hedonic motives and/or low eudaimonic motives. ...
... Researchers have identifiedamong other exterior motivesspecific extrinsic values (e.g. material wealth, power over other people, social image, social status, popularity), which have been associated with the "good life" [18,19]. However, people with high extrinsic motives, such as these, may be less authentic and might pursue this third "good life" set of goals, even if this process correlates negatively with well-being. ...
... Regarding extrinsic orientation, no specific hypothesis was made, in view of the fact that literature on this domain and its association with the aforementioned concepts is limited. Researchers have come to the conclusion that extrinsic considerations blunt hedonic pleasure and impair genuine connection to an activity [18,38]. However, contrary to expectations, extrinsic motives correlated positively to hedonic and eudaimonic motives. ...
Hedonia and eudaimonia are motivating forces through which individuals pursue well-being. The latter is a multidimensional concept, while hedonia and eudaimonia, both of which are realized through the reward system of the brain, are known to influence each other. Researchers have shown that specific extrinsic values (e.g., material wealth, power over other people, etc.) are associated with a sense of "good life" and may influence both hedonia and eudaimonia. The HEEMA (Hedonic, Eudaimonic, and Extrinsic Motives for Activities) scale was developed to evaluate all three ways of seeking well-being, hedonia, eudaimonia, and extrinsic values, in both a healthy and unhealthy fashion. The purpose of this study was to assess the psychometric properties of the HEEMA scale in a sample of 225 Greek individuals. Participants filled the HEEMA, SWLS, MLQ, Self-Esteem questionnaire, DASS-21, MHC-SF, and Big Five Inventory, anonymously. Reliability and validity indices of the scales were satisfactory (Cronbach's α were 0.734, 0.811, and 0.843 for the hedonic, eudaimonic, and extrinsic motives subscales, respectively). Indicatively, the study showed a positive correlation between aspects of well-being and positive emotions, satisfaction with life, sense of meaning and purpose, as well as with specific personality traits, while negative correlations were found between eudaimonic orientation and depression.
... Oba są związane zarówno z orientacją hedonistyczną, jak i eudajmonistyczną, jednak w różnym stopniu. Huta (2015) wykazała ponadto, że w porównaniu z afektem pozytywnym, zarówno na poziomie stanu, jak i cechy, witalność była silniej związana z orientacją eudajmonistyczną oraz słabiej z orientacją hedonistyczną. Podkreślono różnicę na poziomie aktywacji między witalnością a afektem pozytywnym. ...
... Podkreślono różnicę na poziomie aktywacji między witalnością a afektem pozytywnym. Kolejna różnica dotyczy stopnia centralności danego pojęcia (Huta, 2015). Ryan i Deci (2006) rozpatrywali subiektywną witalność w ujęciu dobrostanu eudajmonistycznego, jako korelat dobrostanu psychicznego. ...
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Uważność może być rozumiana jako stan lub cecha. Z tego powodu istnieje wiele niejasności, które wynikają głównie z braku precyzji dotyczącej zakładanego modelu uważności. Podobne rozbieżności dotyczą stosowanych narzędzi badawczych służących do pomiaru nasilenia uważności. Jak dowodzą liczne badania, narzędzia te mierzą nieco odmienne konstrukty psychologiczne. Dlatego badacze coraz częściej podejmują próby wyróżnienia oraz bardziej precyzyjnego rozdzielenia dwóch odmiennych aspektów uważności, tj. cechy i stanu, oraz opracowania na tej podstawie bardziej trafnych narzędzi badawczych. Niniejszy artykuł to przegląd istniejących miar uważności, z uwzględnieniem polskich adaptacji i ukazaniem ich specyfiki.
... Oba są związane zarówno z orientacją hedonistyczną, jak i eudajmonistyczną, jednak w różnym stopniu. Huta (2015) wykazała ponadto, że w porównaniu z afektem pozytywnym, zarówno na poziomie stanu, jak i cechy, witalność była silniej związana z orientacją eudajmonistyczną oraz słabiej z orientacją hedonistyczną. Podkreślono różnicę na poziomie aktywacji między witalnością a afektem pozytywnym. ...
... Podkreślono różnicę na poziomie aktywacji między witalnością a afektem pozytywnym. Kolejna różnica dotyczy stopnia centralności danego pojęcia (Huta, 2015). Ryan i Deci (2006) rozpatrywali subiektywną witalność w ujęciu dobrostanu eudajmonistycznego, jako korelat dobrostanu psychicznego. ...
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Celem artykułu była polska adaptacja kwestionariusza MINDSENS, służącego do pomiaru zaawansowania w uważności oraz innych technik opartych na medytacji. Próbę badawczą stanowiły dwie grupy osób: 1) z doświadczeniem w medytacji (N = 656, tj. 74,6%, w tym medytacja chrześcijańska – 33,5%; uważność – 24,4%; techniki koncentracyjne, joga i medytacja transcendentalna – 16,2%) oraz 2) bez doświadczenia medytacyjnego (N = 226, tj. 25,4%), kontrolowane pod względem długości i częstotliwości praktykowania oraz zaburzeń. Przeprowadzona procedura walidacyjna wykazała, że polska adaptacja MINDSENS, tj. Kwestionariusz zaawansowania w uważności (Obserwowanie, Niereaktywność i Decentracja) charakteryzuje się dobrymi właściwościami psychometrycznymi pod względem rzetelności łącznej (0,74 ≤ CR ≤ 0,93) i zbieżnej (0,82 ≤ H ≤ 0,93), stabilności bezwzględnej (0,76 ≤ rtt ≤ 0,82), trafności wewnętrznej (model 3-czynnikowy z bifaktorem) oraz zewnętrznej. Kwestionariusz ten może więc być użytecznym narzędziem służącym do pomiaru zaawansowania w uważności w stosunku do osób z doświadczeniem medytacyjnym, a pochodzących zarówno z populacji klinicznych, jak i pozaklinicznych, w wieku od 15 do 72 lat.
... It is not possible to accept universities as institutions where students can see the effects of their personality traits more clearly, as places where they will learn their academic skills or use them as a stepping stone for their career. This is because universities are also institutions that teach people how to live a life characterised by good character and values (Yeo, 2011).Flourishing increases life satisfaction in the long run (Huta, 2015) and is positively associated with the upbringing of productive individuals (Hone et al., 2015;Keyes, 2003). Based on this information, we can say that examining the role of university students' personality and character strengths on flourishing will expand our knowledge in understanding their well-being. ...
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This research aims to explore the association between personality traits, character strength, and flourishing in university students (N=384). In the study, Three-dimensional Character Strengths Scale was adapted to Turkish. As a result of confirmatory factor analysis, the Three-dimensional Character Strengths Scale was acceptable for the goodness of fit indexes. The results of the study showed that personality traits and character strength were positively related to flourishing. Multiple regression analysis revealed that personality traits, with the exception of the openness, significantly predicted flourishing. According to the standardized beta coefficients, extraversion was found to be the strongest predictor of flourishing. According to the results of multi-regression analysis, it was found that the caring, inquisitiveness and self-control sub-dimensions of the character strengths positively predicted the flourishing. According to the standardized beta coefficients, inquisitiveness was found to be the strongest predictor of flourishing. According to the t test results, it was found that the variables included in the study differed significantly according to gender. The findings were discussed with the literature.
... In contrast, the eudaimonic perspective supporters stressed 'developing inner strengths, virtues' to achieve happiness (Vella-Brodrick et al., 2009). The third school of thought believes that hedonia and eudaimonia are complementary rather than opposite or disjunctive (Huta, 2015). ...
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The aim of this study is to identify the difficulties of understanding and writing the graphical representation among rural undergraduate students at Bharathidasan university affiliated colleges in Tiruchirappalli region. It has adopted descriptive qualitative and quantitative research method. The subjects were 109 rural undergraduate students of English department at final year. They were instructed to understand the graphical representation and answer the following questions in one or two sentences. After investigating students’ writing product, the result of the research revealed that the rural students faced some difficulties in both understanding and writing the graphical representation. It was suggested that provide specific descriptions for understand the graphical representation and writing to improve students’ writing.
... This suggests that eudaimonic and hedonic conceptualizations of a 'good life' provide an important lens through which people evaluate their experiences and, in turn, the well-being they derive from their activities. Importantly, our results corroborate evidence that the well-being associated with eudaimonic orientation has less to do with pleasant emotions and a sense of carefreeness (i.e., hedonic happiness) and more to do with integrated cognitive-affective experiences that have been considered eudaimonic (e.g., meaning, elevation, self-connectedness; Delle Fave et al., 2011;Huta, 2015;Vittersø, 2013) and reflective of healthy psychological functioning (e.g., vitality, relatedness, life satisfaction) (Guintoli et al., 2021;Ryan et al., 2008). These findings further accentuate the need for researchers to include a balanced and differentiated range of subjective experiences and cognitive appraisals when measuring well-being (Braaten et al., 2019;Huta, 2012). ...
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The aim of this study was to investigate the potential moderating roles of eudaimonic orientation (prioritizing authenticity, meaning, excellence, growth) and hedonic orientation (prioritizing pleasure, comfort) on the link between parental status and well-being. A sample of 473 parents and 138 nonparents from Canada and the United States completed a questionnaire assessing eudaimonic and hedonic motives for activities and well-being experiences in their private life. The sample was balanced by gender, country, and age group (ages ranged from 18 to 93). Multivariate regression analyses revealed a significant positive interaction between being a parent and eudaimonic orientation in predicting positive well-being experiences as a set. Follow-up analyses comparing results by gender revealed that eudaimonic orientation had an enhancing moderating effect on fathers’, but not mothers’, well-being. Univariate regression analyses showed that, for males, the interaction between eudaimonic orientation and parental status related specifically to life satisfaction, and experiences of meaning, elevation, self-connectedness, vitality, and relatedness. No significant interaction effect was found between parental status and hedonic orientation in predicting overall well-being. The results of our study suggest that the ways people construe and pursue the ‘good life’ have important implications for the well-being derived from parenthood—at least for fathers. Our findings also support evidence suggesting that eudaimonic and hedonic orientations constitute an important lens through which individuals interpret the well-being experienced in relation to different life contexts.
... In contrast, the eudaimonic perspective supporters stressed 'developing inner strengths, virtues' to achieve happiness (Vella-Brodrick et al., 2009). The third school of thought believes that hedonia and eudaimonia are complementary rather than opposite or disjunctive (Huta, 2015). It is the concept and the terminology of happiness, which is beset by the problem of attaining its true identity. ...
Storytelling is a unique human experience that enables us to convey through words and gestures,real and imagined world and our place in it.“Stories” provide a wide range of engaging, exciting, and emotional experiences.It opens unlimited possibilities of exploration and learning for children. Stories help to develop listening, speaking, and problem-solving skills.Current article illustrates use of storytelling as a pedagogy in two classrooms of an early childhood education centre, which have been selected using purposive sampling technique. The article aims to explore concepts delivered; methods used to narrate stories and techniques used to maintain the interest of children. The Paper also examines age-graded differences within two classrooms while using storytelling pedagogy.Using a qualitative design, two weeks of observations were conducted in two age-graded classrooms. Results showed that the concepts of stories centred on science concepts, self-awareness, and individual differences amongst humans. Various methods were used for story narration ranging from freestyle; to using puppets and books. Diverse ways were adopted to sustain children’s interest in form of voice modulation, eye contact, frequent questioning, or seating arrangement. Each storytelling session was accompanied by post activities for further expansion of concepts learned in stories.
In response to high‐profile calls, and the apparent demand from consumers, brands in a wide variety of categories have sought to define, articulate, communicate, and act according to their “brand purpose.” But what is brand purpose? Human purpose is seen as a long‐term commitment to act consistently with one’s values, leading to productive engagement with the world that transcends the self. However, the use of the term purpose as applied to brands raises a number of questions. In what ways is brand purpose similar to, and different from, human purpose? How do consumers react to brand purpose? How might a brand’s purpose impact consumers? In this review, we explore the concept of brand purpose and its potential impact on consumer behavior, drawing upon the literature on human purpose. Additionally, we propose that engagement with, and connections with, authentically purposeful brands may contribute to consumers’ own purposeful lives, ultimately helping consumers achieve their own eudaimonic well‐being. We develop a framework highlighting the relationship between brand purpose and consumer eudaimonic well‐being to guide future research in this domain.
The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing, and either neutral life events or social comparison); they then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.