There was a great post over on the Project Happiness blog the other day that I found very interesting. It was essentially about categorizing the moments of happiness that we experience into three groups. When you are able to understand these categories and how they relate to your own personal experiences and activities that bring you happiness, you can find more balance. The important of balance here is that if all of your experiences and enjoyments in your daily life all fit into one category this might not be sustainable.

Here are the categories they discuss:

Short Term

This is very straightforward and probably one of the most common forms of happiness that people feel. This can come from things like food, money, drugs, or prestige. The issue with this is that they are commonly used as temporary fixes for people who are actually unhappy. As I mentioned before, this simply isn’t sustainable as the only way to maintain happiness because there is an underlying problem. Like most people who fall back on these, they eventually get tired of them and need something new. They have a place and it’s great to enjoy these when they come as long as you have the deeper stuff taken care of.

Flow

This was a very interesting category to learn about because it’s something that most of us have felt at one point or another but many people give it different names. One of the most common phrases I’ve heard to describe this is “in the zone” when it applies to accomplishment and growth. An example of this could be if you are trying to fix something that’s challenging to you. You really get into it and stick with it until it’s finally fixed. Most likely when you are done with this you will feel a deep sense of accomplishment. This is flow. The great thing about this category of happiness is that it’s often tied together with personal development and skill or knowledge growth. Everyone likes to figure things out and get better at old or new activities. Engaging deeply with something that challenges you will lead to the feeling of flow quite often.

Meaning

The beginning of this is the ability to find the happiness in your daily life and actively put yourself into these positions often. No matter how much you want to be happy, if you surround yourself with negativity it will inevitably find it’s way to you. Focus on being around people and doing things that are conducive to a happy mindset. Once you have this down it’s your job to pass it on to others. Finding this meaning and purpose will not only continue to make you happy, but will have an impact on someone else’s life. Seeking out ways that you can bring joy to others is one of the best and most repeatable ways to find meaning in your own life and fill yourself with a sense of purpose.

I thought that this blog post was great and Project Happiness has a ton of other great stuff that they are putting up on their site often. I’ll share more here soon!