One morning I just woke up and realized I've been writing about happiness for many a year now, yet what really is happiness? I have not defined it yet. Thesaurus dictionary says it is an adjective which means being delighted; satisfied. Dictionary.com says it is delighted, pleased, glad, over a particular thing.
There is this post in howstuffworks.com describing 'what is happiness.' It says happiness is subjective, meaning it means different things to different people. To behaviorists, happiness is a cocktail of emotions we experience when we do something good or positive. To neurologists, happiness is a myriad of hormones released to the brain as a reward that prolongs survival. To religious orders, happiness is the presence of God.
Philosophers debated that happiness is a battle between two views: hedonia and eudaimonia. Hedonists believed that happiness is the polar opposite of suffering; the presence of happiness indicates the absence of pain. As a result they believed that the purpose of happiness is to maximize pleasure, minimize misery. However, this view lead on to the wrong notion of going after pleasure to its excessiveness, as in indulging too much alcohol or accumulating too much wealth.
On the other side of the debate, eudaimonia is a combination of two Greek words "good" and "spirit" to describe the ideology. It views happiness as a pursuit to become a better person.
Eudaimonists challenged themselves intellectually, or engaged in activities that make them spiritually richer people.
The distinction between the two comes down whether happiness is a destination (the hedonic view) or a journey (the eudaimonic view). Put another way, hedonism derives that happiness is expressed externally, while eudaimonism expresses happiness internally.
At a glance, the nobler form of happiness is expressed in the eudaimonic philosophy: which includes kindness and generosity towards others. However, it's in the hedonistic philosophy that one aspires for wealth wherein when one has it, it is much easier to be generous to others.
Whatever ones preference is, happiness depends upon the values one person has and in the ability he put into action those values. Albert Camus says, "But what is happiness except the harmony between a man and the life he leads?"
This all explains why sometimes I view happiness as a journey, and at times I view it as a destination. Whichever which I'll always aspire to be happy one day at a time.