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Happiness Versus Pleasure


There is a big difference between happiness and pleasure. Pleasure is momentary feeling that comes from something external. Pleasure has to do with the positive experiences of our senses, and with good things happening. Pleasurable experiences can give us momentary feelings of happiness, but this happiness does not last long because it is dependent upon external events and experiences. We have to keep on having  the good experiences "more food, more drugs or alcohol, more money, more things" in order to feel pleasure. As a result, many people become addicted to these external experiences, needing more and more to feel a short-lived feeling of happiness ( Calagrande, 2007).

Pleasure comes from things outside of us that are short-lived. The idea of pleasure in our lives is fairly easy to come up. For instance, spending time at the beach on a sunny day, a beach vacation, a bowl of ice cream, the thrill of buying a new car or house, and getting a promotion etc. ( Calagrande, 2007). Happiness is found on oneself. It is very dismaying to see people struggling each day for the pursuit of happiness outside the perimeter of their own self.  They seem to forget that the journey toward happiness is of no distance.


After viewing my video presentations you will learn that:

  • The primary difference between pleasure and happiness is that pleasure is external and happiness is internal. Pleasure is an event while happiness is a state of mind.
  • Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.
  • Unlike pleasure, genuine happiness may be influenced by circumstance, but is isn't dependent on it.
  • Happiness is a skill that requires effort and time and can be learned. We do not have to be born with a happy personality (Wierner, 2011).
  • Expectations are also highly correlated with happiness. If expectations   are unrealistic, it can be impossible to feel satisfied. Expectations are also tied to pleasure.
  • Cultural factors play a major role in what constitutes the optimal level of happiness.


The questions and answers on the video presentation have demonstrated the distinction between happiness and pleasure, and what constitutes pleasure an happiness. Viewers will be able to differentiate these two attributes and decide for themselves how important each is in their daily lives.


Most of us do not always choose what is "good" for us. That is, what leads us toward happiness. Instead we decide to indulge in those short-lived pleasure of life, expecting long-term happiness. There is nothing wrong with pleasure, but sometimes those pleasures can get a bit out of control and become destructive. (Sosa, 2010).

Our society has done a good job in convincing consumers that happiness can easily be obtained through the purchase of material goods. Advertising campaigns and display of wealth make people believe that happiness and material goods are correlated, when in fact, the opposite is true (Wiener, 2011). The need to acquire items in response to psychological distress is a temporary solution that provides pleasure for only a short period of time. In the long term, the acquired items have no relation to happiness and can negatively affect happiness if financial security is compromised.



Colagrande, R. Williams. (2007). Happiness or Pleasure? The Institute for Human Development.http://www.theinstituteforhumandevelopment.com/Articles/PersonalGrowth/HappinessorPleasure/tabid/151/Default.aspx

Sosa, David. October 6, 2010. The Spoils of Happiness. Opinionator. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/the-spoils-of-happiness/

Wiener, Joel. Feb 26, 2011. How Gratification and Pleasure Relate to Happiness. Adventures in Positive Psychology. http://blogs.psychcentral.com/positive-psychology/2011/02/how-gratification-and-pleasure-relate-to-happiness/


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