Pleasure or Purpose and Happiness

Now, don’t get me wrong. There is much to be said for the happiness that comes from doing something or experiencing something that brings you pleasure. Your favorite football team winning big over their long-time rivals may well bring you pleasure and that can be a real boost to your exterior happiness.

According to studies, however, this type of pleasure, while good, does not do as much for you as does what I call purposeful happiness. It has been accepted that happiness and good health are a combo. Happy people have lower depression rates and feel less stress, acquire more vital immune systems, fewer heartbeats per minute, and they generally live longer.

It turns out that happiness derived from pleasure, as opposed to purpose, has little or no effect on such things as depression, stress, immunity, heart health and longevity.

So what is purposeful happiness? Broadly speaking it is doing for others and carrying out your life purpose. Greater health benefits accrue from purposeful living and obtain exterior happiness from doing good for others.

Again, I am not discounting the joy you may feel when you are celebrating your team’s win. Harmonizing with the studies in this area, however, shows that doing for others and promoting your life purpose gives you greater health and well-being benefits.

Give your life a sense of purpose. What are you about? What are you doing here? Doing what gives you a genuine sense of well-being? Answer these questions, and any others you may think of along these lines, and then put the answers into practice in your life.

They can be anything purposeful like raising and encouraging a family to be the best people they can be. Helping out at the local food co-op. Tutoring not-so-advanced students in your specialty field. What else can you think of? It is from this kind of purposeful living, wherein you feel happy, that you derive the most health benefits.

It seems, again from studies, that we are genetically predisposed to live healthier lives when we engender this purposeful happiness within ourselves. A built-in reward system exists within you when you do purposeful things that help you feel good. We are selected to better survive as our immune systems respond positively to compassionate acts and selfless goals. A self-reward system exists within each of us.

This is not hard work, however. It is simply a matter of trying to connect positively to other people and their needs as well as your own needs. You can do that, can’t you? Of course. Then get to it. Be happier and healthier by living purposeful happiness.

Questions and comments are welcome. Please use the “Reply” section below or email me at:

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