Authentic happiness: what the ancient Greeks can tell us

Better Health For All

Ancient Greek philosophers can teach us a considerable amount about living a fulfilled life, according to several speakers at the wellbeing workshop at the FPH conference in 2012.

Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown, Chair of Public Health at the University of Warwick, began the debate by looking at how different traditions define wellbeing. Her starting point was that Descartes was wrong – and the mind and body are very much connected.

The Greek traditions of Aristole and other philosophers, along with the Eastern belief systems of Buddism, Hinduism and Islam all offer differing perspectives on wellbeing.  Aristotle  framed wellbeing as being about our responsibility to live in a way that allows us to flourish. For this to happen, we need positive relations with others, confidence self-acceptance  and autonomy and we need to feel that we can influence our environment. Dr Martin Seligmann, founder of positive psychology, says wellbeing is about authentic happiness…

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