SILENCE YOUR MIND BLOG
Happiness and meaning
New research from Stanford and Florida State universities, led by Baumeister, has attempted to differentiate between happiness and meaning. “Although happiness and meaning are important features of a desirable life and indeed are interrelated, they have different roots and implications,” the researchers said.
They define happiness as a sense of subjective wellbeing, while meaning is a cognitive and emotional sense of purpose and value. Happiness, they say, is rooted in our animal nature.
“Among creatures with brains and central nervous systems … basic motivations [to survive and reproduce] impel them to pursue and enjoy those needed things, and the satisfaction of those needs generally produces positive-feeling states. Conversely, negative feelings arise when those needs are thwarted.”
Meaningfulness, on the other hand, is related to more sophisticated human attributes.