- DeAngelis, T. (2004). Consumerism–Consumerism and its discontents. https://www.apa.org. https://www.apa.org/monitor/jun04/discontents
Background: In today’s world we own so many materialistic items and endless other commodities that weren’t around in the past 50 years, but we are not any happier. Consumer culture has reached a high and there has been a decrease in life satisfaction. People who organize their lives around extrinsic goals such as acquiring materialistic items, report greater unhappiness in relationships, poorer moods and more psychological problems. Extrinsic goals focus on possessions, image, and status, and intrinsic goals aim at outcomes like personal growth and community connection. Material things are neither bad nor good, but it is the role and status they play in one’s life that can be problematic. It is important to find a balance where you can appreciate what you have, but not at the expense of the things that really matter, such as your family, community and spirituality.
How I Used It: This source served as direct evidence to support part of my thesis, that eliminating the single-minded search for happiness in life would increase the well-being of people. It provides evidence and examples of negative effects caused by the search and the abundance of happiness through the examination of materialism. It helped support my claim that people have a tendency to chase or long for a false sense of happiness, that is influenced by what others deem as proper success.
2. Dfarhud, D., Malmir, M., & Khanahmadi, M. (2014). Happiness & Health: The Biological Factors- Systematic Review Article. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 43(11), 1468–1477. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449495/
Background: Happiness consists of two underlying factors: endogenic factors (biological, cognitive, personality, and ethical sub-factors) and exogenic factors (behavioral, social cultural, economic, geographical, life events, and aesthetics sub-factors). From all endogenic factors, biological sub-factors are the most significant predictors of happiness. The existence of major differences in the happiness of infants is an indicator of biological influences. Neuroscience studies showed that some parts of the brain (e.g., amygdala, hippocampus, and limbic system) and neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphin) play a large role in the control of happiness. A few studies pointed to the role of cortisol and adrenaline (adrenal gland) and oxytocin (pituitary gland) in controlling happiness.
How I Used It: This source served as a scientific definition and explanation for short-term happiness. I used it to explain how our body releases chemicals into our bloodstream to help regulate our emotions. Brain chemicals that induce happiness include dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins. Parts of the brain and neurotransmitters play a large role in the control of happiness and pleasure. Our actions, surroundings, and emotions in turn influence our body chemistry.
3. Gruber, J. J. (n.d.). Four ways happiness can hurt you. Greater Good. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/four_ways_happiness_can_hurt_you.
Background: By recognizing the potential pitfalls of happiness, we enable ourselves to understand it more deeply and we learn to better promote healthier and more balanced lives. Happiness has a cost when experienced too intensely. When people experience intense and perhaps overwhelming amounts of happiness, they no longer experience the same creativity boost. When we experience happiness, our attention turns toward exciting and positive things in our lives to help sustain the good feeling. When feeling happy, we also tend to feel less inhibited and more likely to explore new possibilities and take risks. As we would not want to feel angry or sad in every context, we should not want to experience happiness in every context. Also, certain kinds of happiness may at times hinder our ability to connect with those around us.
How I Used It: This source served as direct evidence to support part of my thesis, that eliminating the single-minded search for happiness in life would increase the well-being of people. It provides evidence and examples of negative effects caused by the search and the abundance of happiness. It explains that too much happiness can result in taking more risks and engaging in risky behavior. This causes negative effects on a person’s physical and mental health.
4. Gruber, J., Mauss, I. B., & Tamir, M. (2011). A Dark Side of Happiness? How, When, and Why Happiness Is Not Always Good. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(3), 222–233. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691611406927
Background: There is a strong popular and scientific emphasis on happiness in today’s society as a beneficial outcome, which is evident by the increasing demand for guidance through motivational speakers, life coaches, and self-help books all with the primary focus of increasing happiness. One question that is being asked is “Might happiness be dysfunctional at times?” Most people’s immediate response is in opposition to that question; however, people have not considered if happiness may, under certain circumstances, be maladaptive. If there is a high intensity of happiness, people experience no psychological or health gains and sometimes they may experience costs. For example, when experiencing high degrees of positive emotions, some individuals are more inclined to engage in riskier behaviors, such as alcohol consumption, binge eating, and drug use.
How I Used It: This source served as direct evidence to support part of my thesis, that eliminating the single-minded search for happiness in life would increase the well-being of people. It provides evidence and examples of negative effects caused by happiness, and how people experience no psychological or health gains. It also explains that too much happiness can result in taking more risks and engaging in risky behavior such as alcohol consumption, binge eating, and drug use.
5. Hall, A. (2014). Life Satisfaction, Concept of. Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research, 3599–3601. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_1649
Background: The concept of life satisfaction is used in philosophical and psychological accounts of happiness and well-being. “Life satisfaction” is regularly used as a synonym for “happiness” and is often either identified with or seen alongside well-being. However, there are two distinct senses of “satisfaction” at use in these various accounts. In some cases, “satisfaction” refers to the perceived fulfillment of expectations or standards and in other cases, “satisfaction” refers to a feeling of being pleased with something. Because of these different senses of the term “satisfaction,” there are broadly two different conceptions of life satisfaction at use in life satisfaction accounts.
How I Used It: This source served as direct evidence to support part of my thesis, that identifying the fulfilling purpose of life would increase the well-being of people. This was used to help define the terms “life satisfaction” and “satisfaction” and the concept of life satisfaction. “Happiness” and is often associated with well-being and there are two individual implications of the word “satisfaction”.
6. Kashdan, T.B. & McKnight, P.E. (2009). Origins of Purpose in Life: Refining our Understanding of a Life Well Lived. Psihologijske teme, 18 (2), 303-313. Retrieved from https://hrcak.srce.hr/48215
Background: Purpose can be characterized as a central, self-organizing life aim. As a life aim, a purpose generates continual goals for efforts to be devoted. A purpose provides a foundation that allows a person to be more resilient to obstacles, stress, and strain. There are three pathways. The first process is involving effort over time and resulting in a purpose after clarification. The second process is involving a transformative life event where a purpose arises and adds clarity to the person’s life. The third process is social learning – involving the formation of purpose through observation, imitation, and modeling.
How I Used It: This source served as direct evidence to support part of my thesis, that identifying the fulfilling purpose of life would increase the well-being of people. This was used to define the term “purpose” and how it relates to the meaning of life and life satisfaction. Following the path and direction of a purpose can also lead to other elements of well-being such as life satisfaction, serenity, and mindfulness.
7. Mauss, I. B., Savino, N. S., Anderson, C. L., Weisbuch, M., Tamir, M., & Laudenslager, M. L. (2011, September 12). The Pursuit of Happiness Can Be Lonely. Emotion. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025299
Background: Even though it is natural to want and search for happiness, valuing happiness may have negative consequences. According to most North Americans, they value wanting to be happy above many other goals with the expectation that happiness not only feels good but is beneficial for you. Happiness is usually defined in terms of personal positive feelings or a personal gain and striving for personal gains can damage connections with others. For example, people who have high self-esteem often fail to attend to others’ needs and a narrow determination of achieving goals can cause people to disregard others’ feelings. This causes the pursuit of happiness to damage people’s connections with others and results in loneliness. Studies were conducted and examined correlations between valuing happiness and reports of loneliness in a large community sample. Another study was conducted as well to test the effects of experimental manipulation of valuing happiness on loneliness, through self-reports and a hormonal indicator, progesterone, of social connection. These results suggest that valuing happiness is linked to greater loneliness on a suggestive basis.
How I Used It: This source served as direct evidence to support part of my thesis, that eliminating the single-minded search for happiness in life would increase the well-being of people. It provides evidence and examples of negative effects caused by happiness, and how people experience no psychological or health gains. It has a negative impact on your mental health as, searching for happiness leaves you with no one you can emotionally or physically connect to. This is a higher risk for more depressive symptoms.
8. Zerwas FK, Ford BQ. The paradox of pursuing happiness. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. 2021;39:106-112. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352154621000541. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2021.03.006.
Background: Despite a common misconception that happiness is beneficial for you, a considerable amount of evidence suggests that valuing happiness to an extreme degree can backfire. The more value that people invest in happiness, the less happy they are in actuality. People approach the process of pursuing happiness similar to how they would approach any other goal. Typically, the more someone strives towards a goal the more likely they are to reach that goal. However, this logic doesn’t apply to happiness. Studies have shown that people who extremely value happiness are also less likely to attain long-term happiness, which is explained by lower levels of psychological well-being and life satisfaction. These patterns were strongly emphasized for individuals experiencing low life stress. It was also shown that those who pursue happiness, seem to be at risk for poor mental health and are associated with more depressive symptoms. Furthermore, it is found that having high expectations for the intensity of one’s happiness can be damaging by making the goal highly unreachable. Monitoring one’s progress towards happiness also creates room for negative meta-emotions, which are a negative emotional response to an original emotion.
How I Used It: This source served as direct evidence to support part of my thesis, that eliminating the single-minded search for happiness in life would increase the well-being of people. It explained how a considerable amount of evidence suggests that valuing happiness to an extreme degree can backfire, such as poor mental health, depressive symptoms, and lower levels of psychological well-being.
9. Siegel, R. (2015, May 16). Why you need to pursue happiness. Next Avenue. Retrieved December 11, 2021, from https://www.nextavenue.org/why-you-need-pursue-happiness/.
Background: There are large amounts of scientific evidence that we should take active steps to increase our happiness as well, as it may be nearly as important in helping us achieve longer, healthier lives. Those who reported the highest level of satisfaction appeared to gain as much as 7.5 to 10 years of life. Beyond the impact on longevity, there is evidence linking positive emotions to a lower risk of certain diseases. Psychologists have noted the human tendency to adapt to new circumstances, whether positive or negative. Something that initially delights you eventually feels like the norm. The initial sense of happiness fades and an urge to acquire the next bigger or better thing once again takes hold. The pursuit of happiness has been called the “hedonic treadmill,” because you may feel that you have to keep exerting yourself to stay in the same place.
How I Used It: This source served as the opposition to my claim and my thesis. I used it in my rebuttal to take down the opponent so that it can further my claim. This source explains the importance for pursuing and searching for happiness. I used the claims made by the author to point out the undermining phrasing and irrelevant evidence in his article.
10. Cui, P., Shen, Y., Hommey, C. et al. The dark side of the pursuit of happiness comes from the pursuit of hedonia: The mediation of materialism and the moderation of self-control. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-02104-9
Background: The dark sides of the pursuit of happiness have been emphasized before, but it does not deter people from pursuing happiness. There are few studies that explore the unethical behaviors of the dark side of the pursuit of happiness, but they do not distinguish the roles of different types of happiness. Based on hedonic and eudaimonic happiness orientations, the current research proposes that hedonic motives facilitated by materialism are more likely to lead to unethical behavior than eudaimonic motives. Hedomic motives focus on pleasure and happiness, while eudaimonic motives focus on meaning and personal expressiveness. A study was conducted in which 331 participants were sampled in an attempt to test these hypotheses and the results confirmed that hedonic motives promote unethical behavior through the facilitation of materialism. The study further found that self-control also plays a role in the relationship between materialism and unethical behavior. Overall, the study suggests that the dark side of the pursuit of happiness may arise from the pursuit of hedonia. As hedonic motives influence people toward the pursuit of extrinsic material goals, under low self-control levels, people are more likely to choose active means to achieve extrinsic goals, which leads to a higher tendency to engage in unethical behaviors.
How I Used It: This source served as direct evidence to support part of my thesis, that eliminating the single-minded search for happiness in life would increase the well-being of people. It explains how there is a dark side to happiness and that there is a relationship between materialism and a false sense of happiness. It causes people to have low self-control and have a higher tendency to participate in risky behaviors.