By Patrick Allan, LifeHacker, Sept. 15, 2015 – There’s a lot of philosophical debate over what it actually means to “be happy,” but if you’re looking for concrete answers, it can leave you wanting. Here’s what scientific research says happiness is, and—perhaps more importantly—what it isn’t.
We all know what it feels like to be happy, but the actual source of our happiness has always been hard to pinpoint. Can we become happier? If so, how? As Darrin M. McMahon, Ph.D., a Professor of History at Florida State University, explains, ancient people actually viewed happiness more as a sign of luck:
It is a striking fact that in every Indo-European language, without exception, going all the way back to ancient Greek, the word for happiness is a cognate with the word for luck… What does this linguistic pattern suggest? For a good many ancient peoples—and for many others long after that—happiness was not something you could control.