Ben Hodges

The immense physical and emotional strain of completing a marathon often leaves its participants in a rather dumbstruck haze of satisfaction. Whether it be crossing the finish line or simply listening to music, we all experience these temporary day to day swellings of short-term ‘affective happiness.’ If we consider the marathon runner’s high job security and approaching silver wedding anniversary, we become aware of a more long-term form of happiness –‘evaluative happiness’ which philosophers and, increasingly, economists have suggested might be much more valuable. It’s important to note the distinction. While stubbing your toe on a plant pot may provoke a short lapse in contentment, it’ll have no impact on any assessment of overall general wellbeing.

It would seem that evaluative happiness can result directly from particular and attainable life choices. Research is almost unambiguous in suggesting that those who get married are generally happier than those who don’t. But…

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