Happiness can have many different meanings, depending on who you talk to. Each person has their own vision of happiness and what it means to be happy. Psychologists, for example, understand happiness as an emotion that is produced when someone believes to have reached a goal. We tend to define happiness as subjective well-being (self-perceived) that someone feels, divided into two basic aspects: how satisfied we are with our own lives and the amount of positive or negative emotions that we feel.
So, what are the actual parts that make up happiness, according to neuroscience? We’ll talk you through it step-by-step.
1. Having a positive attitude
This is understood as looking on the bright side, or seeing the good in others. In studies with depressed and healthy patients, we have seen that the activation pattern before positive stimuli is the same in both groups at first, but the depressed group lose this activation and lose enjoyment. From this and other studies, we can conclude that psychological well-being doesn’t depend solely on external circumstances. The good news is that having a positive attitude is something that we can develop by reinforcing the neural circuits that are implied in happiness.