The culture we live in promotes the belief that pleasure is synonymous with happiness. If you have pleasure, you’re happy. If you don’t, you aren’t.
But most of the Classical ancient philosophers would disagree. Of late, modern day psychology and science are taking a renewed interest in the ancient perspectives on happiness.
First century philosopher, Epictetus, for example, believed happiness began and ended in the mind. By this logic, perception is the key to consistent happiness. Albert Ellis, developer of rational emotive behavior therapy, took this theory further, explaining that how people react to events is determined largely by their view of the events, not the events themselves. Aristotle, on the other hand, believed that happiness was an action and not a feeling, achieved through a life of virtue and balance.
It’s hard to say that any one of the definitions of happiness is exclusively or definitively right.
So, these are the rules I’ve identified by studying differing philosophies of happiness. These overarching principles can be applied to our lives to maximize our chances of achieving and experiencing true happiness — however we define it.