Excellence and happiness – Aristotle got it spot on

εὐδαιμονία is a great word for celebrating World Mental Health Day, explains IiE’s MD and Programme Director, Kevin Hart.

Aristotle“The happy life is thought to be one of excellence; now an excellent life requires exertion and does not consist in amusement. If Eudaimonia, or happiness, is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence; and this will be that of the best thing in us.”  Aristotle εὐδαιμονία is the Greek word for happiness, wellbeing, prosperity and blessedness. It’s a great word to celebrate World Mental Health Day with. It brings together the four parts of being human: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. If you’re troubled in one part of you, then your happiness is reduced. You go to bed worried, really worried about something, wake up tired after a restless night and head off to work, school or leisure. During the day, you feel much more than just physically tired. Coping with grief impacts on all parts of being human but it’s being emotionally tired that keeps pulling you down, time and time again. You turn the corner when you begin to recognise reality, accept it and adapt to moving on. You hate your job, scared to get out of bed on Monday and can’t wait for Friday. Your whole life is impacted on and those nearest and dearest to you can see it. World Mental Health Day should be every day but today is the ideal time to remind ourselves that the old man, Aristotle got it spot on. An excellent life is much more than just a happy life, but many people would settle just for happiness. It’s being well physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It’s having a real and relevant focus in life and that’s just what excellence gives us.