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Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition by Stephen Joseph

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Chapter 10The Complementary Roles of Eudaimonia and Hedonia and How They Can Be Pursued in Practice

VERONIKA HUTA

Many of us have asked ourselves: What is a good life? What makes a life worth living? These are a couple of the great existential questions. The answers we develop shape our priorities, choices, and goals, and the very way we decide what is desirable. In conceptions of a good life, the two perspectives that have figured most prominently are the hedonic view and the eudaimonic view (Ryan & Deci, 2001). Briefly, a hedonic orientation involves seeking happiness, positive affect, life satisfaction, and reduced negative affect; a eudaimonic orientation includes seeking authenticity, meaning, excellence, and personal growth (Huta & Waterman, 2013). These two perspectives have been discussed for over 2,000 years by philosophers, including Aristotle and Aristippus in ancient Greece, and more recently by early psychologists and psychiatrists, such as Maslow, Jung, and Freud. Much of the current psychology research on well-being similarly addresses hedonia and/or eudaimonia, making the hedonic–eudaimonic distinction a central concept in positive psychology, as evidenced by its frequent appearance in the first edition of this volume. It is time for us to consider more systematically how these concepts might be applied in practice.

First, I discuss existing definitions and research. I then venture into more uncharted territory. I pull together a characterization of the complementary ...

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