Can sustainable habits and a change in lifestyle provide a way to have long term happiness?

Brice Preston Brown
11 min readJan 20, 2021
A community of people socializing. Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

One of the most fundamental aspects of humans is the concept of happiness. There are various thoughts behind how to be happy, some choose a shorter painless route that is hedonistic in nature while others look at a broader aspect towards a group’s happiness such as utilitarianism. Buddhism resembles more utilitarianism out of the two but still has distinct differences. However, before discussing a solution, a baseline definition is required to have a common understanding. In the Book of Joy the Dalai Lama claims that there are two types of happiness. The first can be synonymous with pleasure, furthermore, “pleasure through our senses.” The Dalai Lama contrasts pleasure with happiness from a deeper, more gratifying feeling which he calls “joy” (Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtsho, et al. 2016). The feeling of joy stems from various sources such as “love, compassion, and generosity.” As a result, those who fill their life with joy rather than pleasure may have a longer and more sustained feeling of happiness. A similar discernment of happiness is discussed in Lost Connections by Johann Hari, an author of two New York Times best-selling books on psychology. Instead of pleasure, he uses the term “extrinsic values”. Extrinsic values such as sex, money, and status mimic the pleasures mentioned by the Dalai Lama. Hari then brings up the “rival value,” intrinsic values. These values fall in alignment with the joy described by the Dalai Lama (95; pt.2). This paper will attempt to find a solution in which intrinsic happiness or joy is maximized for longer periods of time due to the deeper sense of fulfillment joy provides through the analysis of philosophies and lifestyles. In specific, analyzing two philosophies for obtaining happiness, hedonism, and Buddhism. In addition, studying the consumerist culture, which has become significant amongst the western world in the last hundred years, gives more insight into how money and material possessions affect one’s happiness. Using a comparative method a solution will develop to show that potentially less hedonistic and more Buddhist habits in life could result in longer sustained happiness.

According to Maxime Taquet, a renowned scientist with a Ph.D. from Université Catholique de Louvain, et al., hedonism may be a feature within everyone. Through…

Brice Preston Brown

Hello! Be happy and take a moment to think about life.