This article originally appeared in MindBodyGreen.com.
Many of us want to have a good life, but when we put the concept of "good" under the proverbial microscope, we all mean different things.
In psychology, we've traditionally understood this to be a choice between a happy life and a meaningful one. Recently, researchers Lorraine Besser and Shigehiro Oishi explored the concept of a "psychologically rich life" as a third potential route into a good life.
Happiness vs. meaning.
A happy life—or "hedonic well-being"—bears the hallmarks of stability, pleasure, enjoyment, positive emotions, and comfort. People with happy lives report stable long-term relationships and are generally high in extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. They are also lower in neuroticism levels.However, enjoying a happy life is tied to some extent to good luck and fortune—it's likelier to happen when we have enough resources to eat and sleep and live in an area with no major conflicts.