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A Psychologically Rich Life

What does it mean to live a good life? This question has been debated and written about by many philosophers, thinkers and novelists throughout the course of humanity. In the field of psychology, two main conceptualisations of the good life have predominated: A happy life (often referred to as “hedonic well-being”), full of stability, pleasure, enjoyment and positive emotions, and a meaningful life (often referred to as “eudaemonic well-being”), full of purpose, meaning, virtue, devotion, service and sacrifice. But what if these aren’t the only options?

In recent years, a long-neglected version of the good life has been receiving greater research attention: the psychologically rich life. The psychologically rich life is full of complex mental engagement, a wide range of intense and deep emotions, and diverse, novel, surprising and interesting experiences. Sometimes the experiences are pleasant, sometimes they are meaningful, and sometimes they are neither pleasant nor meaningful. However, they are rarely boring or monotonous.

In Defence of the Psychologically Rich Life

Scott Barry Kaufman . Scientific American

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