Motivation and emotion/Book/2020/Eudaimonia

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Eudaimoniaː
What is eudaimonia and how can it be developed?
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Overview[edit | edit source]

The question of what a "good" life consists of and how one may achieve it has almost certainly been on people's minds since human societies were first in a secure enough position to think so far ahead. It is a question that the vast majority of us consider at some point in our lives; what does "success" mean to me? What makes a good life? Am I living as fully as I could be? What can I do to ensure that I'm proud of the life I led when I'm at the end of it? There are many different philosophical schools of thought that address this concern, proposing their ideas about what constitutes a worthwhile existence. One such concept is Aristotle's eudaimonia.

Focus questions:

  • What is eudaimonia?
  • Why is it a valuable concept?
  • How can eudaimonia be developed?

What is eudaimonia and why is the concept useful?[edit | edit source]

A sign that says happiness
Figure 1. Happiness is understood in psychology as consisting of both hedonic pleasure and eudaimonia

Eudaimonia can be translated to "human flourishing" (add source), and is considered the epitome of wellness - true fulfillment.

Aristotle referred to eudaimonia as, "[the] highest of all goods achievable by human action" (Ryff & Singer, 2006, p. 14).

  • Etymologyː Greek - "eu"ː good, "daimon"ː spirit (add source)

History[edit | edit source]

Aristotle, Greek philosophy (Stoicism)

Happiness and hedonism[edit | edit source]

Qualitatively different from eudaimonia (Waterman, 1993).

Define hedonism

See Figure 1.

Theoretical frameworks and approaches[edit | edit source]

There are a few major theories/approaches that apply well to the research and discussion of eudaimonia.

Self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2006)[edit | edit source]

Autonomy, Competence, Relatedness

Add image

Psychological well-being model (Ryff & Singer, 2006)[edit | edit source]

Self acceptance, purpose in life, environmental mastery, positive relationships, personal growth, autonomy (Ryff & Singer, 2006, p. 20).

Add image

A rainbow coloured pyramid illustrating Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. From bottom to top it reads, "physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, self-actualization."
Figure 2. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs[edit | edit source]

Physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, self-actualization.

See Figure 2.


Figures[edit | edit source]

Important points about using figures:

  1. Figures can be used to illustrate concepts, add interest, and provide examples.
  2. Figures should be captioned (using APA style) in order to explain its relevance to the text.
  3. Possible images for use as figures can be found at Wikimedia Commons.
  4. Images can also be uploaded if they have appropriate licenses for re-use or if you created the image.
  5. Each figure should be referred to at least once in the main text (e.g., see Figure 1).

Tables[edit | edit source]

Important points about using tables:

  1. Tables can be an effective way to organise content.
  2. Tables should be captioned (using APA style) in order to explain its relevance to the text.
  3. Each table should be referred to at least once in the main text (e.g., see Table 1 and Table 2).

Here are two example tables which could be adapted:

Table 1.

Example of a Table with an APA Style Caption

Col. 1 Col. 2 Col. 3
C1R1 C2R1 C3R1
C1R2 C2R2 C3R2
C1R3 C2R3 C3R3

Table 2.

Another Example of a Table with an APA Style Caption

Col. 1 Col. 2 Col. 3
C1R1 C2R1 C3R1
C1R2 C2R2 C3R2
C1R3 C2R3 C3R3

Feature boxes[edit | edit source]

Important points about using feature boxes:

  1. Feature boxes can be used to highlight content.
  2. Possible uses for feature boxes include:
    1. Focus questions
    2. Case studies or examples
    3. Take-home messages
  3. There are many different ways of creating feature boxes (e.g., see Pretty boxes)
Feature box example
  1. Shaded background
  2. Coloured border

Quiz questions[edit | edit source]

Important points about using quizzes:

  1. Quiz questions can be used to help make a chapter more interactive.
  2. To learn about different types of quiz questions, see Help:Quiz.
  3. Rather than presenting one longer quiz at the end, consider adding, say, one review quiz question per major section.
  4. Try to assess conceptual knowledge, rather than trivia.

Here are some simple example quiz questions:

Choose the correct answers and click "Submit":

1 Approximately how many neurons are in the human brain?

1,000,000 (1 million)
10,000,000 (10 million)
100,000,000 (100 million)
1,000,000,000 (1 billion)
10,000,000,000 (10 billion)

2 A typical neuron fires ________ per second.

1 to 4
5 to 49
50 to 99
100 to 199
200 to 499


How can eudaimonia be achieved?[edit | edit source]

  • Courage, presence/mindfulness, integrity, self-trust, ambition (being virtuous, considering excess & deficiency - Aristotle and Stoics)
  • Intimacy and healthy, meaningful relationships with others
  • Disparity between Stoics and Aristotle about what they considered necessary vs a bonus (eg good health)

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Important points about this section:

  1. This is arguably the most important section.
  2. What is the answer to the question in the sub-title (based on psychological theory and research)?
  3. What are the practical, take-home messages?


Eudaimonia is a form of well-being that emphasizes life purpose, meaning and future orientation. It shares similar - with satisfaction, happiness, flourishing, and resilience(?).

Central models and theories to it include self-determination theory, Ryff's psychological well-being model, Diener's ̈model of subjective well-being, and Seligman's concept of authentic happiness.

It can be developed through active focus on meaning (rather than outcome), engaging in experiences of flow, practicing a future orientation (rather than present or past), prosocial behaviour and community engagement.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Deci, E., & Ryan, R. (2006). Hedonia, eudaimonia, and well-being: an introduction. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9(1), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-006-9018-1

Ryff, C., & Singer, B. (2006). Know thyself and become what you are: a eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9(1), 13–39. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-006-9019-0

Waterman, A. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(4), 678–691. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.64.4.678

External links[edit | edit source]