Happiness comes in many shapes and sizes.

Happiness is different for everyone. For some, happiness comes in the shape of laughter and time with friends. For some others, happiness comes in the shape of sweets and other food. Josh Humi, author of  “Life Guide”, wrote an article about happiness. In his “A Living Humanist Document”, he claims that there are two types of happiness: experiential and reflective.

Josh explains that experiential happiness is “the enjoyment of a present-moment experience”. This is the kind of happiness that doesn’t last. It’s the happiness that’s felt when you’re eating or laughing with somebody. Reflective happiness is “one’s belief that he or she has lived a valuable life, to the extent that one reasonably believes he or she could have lived a valuable life (for example, via personally meaningful accomplishments),”. This is the happiness that lasts forever and greatly affects a person. Which kind of happiness are you experiencing?

If you struggle with your eating choices and aren’t happy with your diet, chances are you experience experiential happiness. Overeating, food addiction, and binge eating are all results of experiential happiness. Food addiction comes from the short burst of happiness you feel when you eat. How is this happiness actually affecting your values? Short answer: it’s not. You can’t look back on food you ate two weeks ago and feel genuinely happy. Experiential happiness doesn’t do anything that affects your life as a whole.

Reflective happiness is the solution. Real happiness comes from the things that give you full satisfaction. Actions such as helping your child make the right decisions, volunteering, and smiling at everyone you see are what reflective happiness is all about. Find activities like these that you can look back on and be grateful. Don’t let food be the only thing that can make you happy. Don’t let experiential happiness trick you into thinking food is the only thing that can make you happy. Be a reflectively happy person and see what good it can do.

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash