The present is all there is to happiness

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The idea that happiness is more than just how we feel at any one moment has been around since Aristotle. Today, psychology draws a distinction between emotional well-being in the present and overall life satisfaction. This distinction, however, is a mistake. Life satisfaction is just a small part of our overall emotional well-being. Happiness is always judged in the present, not from some abstract vantage point that views our life as a whole, argues Steven Campbell-Harris.
 
Picture two kinds of life.

In one, your day-to-day is mostly stressful and anxiety-provoking, with occasional bursts of joy or pleasure. Nevertheless, when you reflect on your life you find that – despite its difficulties- you are satisfied. You feel you make a difference in the world and judge your life worthwhile.

In the other life, your days are for the most part pleasurable and carefree. You rarely feel sad, uncomfortable, or afraid. But when you take the time to think about your life, you feel strangely emp…

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