Satisfaction is the emotion that arises from being positively affected by the fulfilment of a goal. It literally means “enough”.
Negative emotions cause thinking to become slow, effortful (in a searching manner), and narrowed onto the object of concern. This aids people to overcome problems. Positive emotions, such as satisfaction, are associated with quicker lighter thinking, which recalls current knowledge bases. Positive emotions cause more creative and flexible thought processes which spend less time focusing on specific things.1
Accumulating evidence is revealing a bias of negative emotional processing towards the right-hemisphere, and a left-hemisphere bias for positive emotional processing.2 Although, considerable hemispherical overlap occurs. More than forty billion neurons reside in each hemisphere. The many systems that comprise those eighty billion neurons are not split down the middle into neat distinct zones.
Negative emotions aid people to focus their minds onto a problem and spend effort thinking about a solution, but this taxes the systems involved in processing a negative state, and they may become stressed. Positive emotions emerge on successful completion of a problem. They are associated with a release of the taxing effort of negative emotions. Satisfaction pulls people out of slow effortful thinking, as they’re freed from analysis, and makes their conscious thoughts faster. This coincides with a shift from right-hemisphere to left-hemisphere processing. This is felt as neurological relief that allows the taxed systems to recharge.
Satisfaction has two significant aspects associated with success. One is the physical, neuro-biological and psychological release of tension that’s felt as relaxation. Another is the amount of benefit received from whatever has been gained – e.g. the quantity and variety of nutrients in a piece of food. It includes the fulfilment of emotions that stem from an instinctual level as well as a conscious process of reasoning. A mixture of how much effort was spent and how much positive infusion takes place determines how much satisfaction is experienced.
On a philosophical note, there must be some form of satisfaction used on a neuro-biological level for homeostasis and allostasis to function. Bodily processes for different systems are engaged and disengaged according to the priority of their task’s completion. A symphony of bodily resources is conducted with precise timing to maintain health. Immediate concerns take precedence, and there must be some way of determining when a process has done enough, so another process can engage.
Therefore, the following theoretical possibility exists. Homeostatic neuro-biological release of a process is the evolutionary origin of conscious satisfaction; social satisfaction is nested with neuro-biologically satisfying processes. People have many plans and hopes that maintain their social prosperity; does it not make sense that the reason they feel satisfied with one activity is so they can move on to another in a form of social allostasis?
A large part of perception is processed by the subconscious. Just as with biological allostasis, the unconscious measures the success of an aim that’s in place. Conscious objectives may be aligned with motives that are not consciously acknowledged. Satisfaction is an emotion which stems from deep unconscious layers, but it reaches conscious appreciation. When people complete a goal and feel it’s a much more significant success than they thought it would be, it suggests a motivation linked with a deep motive – a motive that goes beyond conscious understanding. The feelings of contentment and relaxation that stem from a success are valuable indications of just how much the goal truly means to people. Feelings of satisfaction are the pointer on a gauge of personal prosperity.
People can have an intellectual aim they work towards and complete, yet feel dissatisfied with the outcome. Not because of failure, but because it does not feel satisfying. It’s possible for this to happen whether one day or one year was spent working on the fulfilment of the goal. This might be taken as a sign that the goal was not aligned with a deeper motive, not associated with instinct or hope. If the rewards of success were not fulfilling, a washed-out feeling would typically be experienced. Satisfying deeds contribute positively to people’s state. The more positively things contribute, the more satisfying they are. People’s state relates to deep and wide-ranging aspects of their life. Satisfaction is an idiosyncratic affair. Apart from being associated with instinctive needs, it also entails the relevant nutrients (physical and social) people need to recuperate from activities that are en route to fulfilling hopes.
Satisfaction originally described performing an act set by a priest which would atone for sin. To satisfy a creditor, on a bank balance sheet, is another view of satisfaction that’s unrelated to religion but has the same overtone. This tone is also contained in the present day description of satisfaction that’s used in the broader sense to explain any form of fulfilment. It is not only related to fulfilling a perceived holy agreement or a financial contract.
If a lot of energies are spent in pursuit of a goal, which doesn’t have enough positive effect upon achievement, the result is dissatisfaction. Completing goals that are not linked to instinct or hope is dissatisfying. Stress is increased by dissatisfaction. Emotions keep balance through change, for they are allostatic motivations serving biological and social needs.3 Satisfaction is the “enough” switch of the allostatic process.
People perceive reality with the entirety of their senses and choose a course of action based on those conscious and unconscious perceptions. When those personal objectives and goals are achieved, satisfaction is experienced.
Latin. Satis = enough.
1. The action of gratifying (an appetite or desire) to the full, or of contenting (a person) by the complete fulfilment of a desire or supply of a want; the fact of having been gratified to the full or of having one’s desire fulfilled.
2. The feeling of having enough; to supply fully the needs of; of putting an end to (an appetite, a want) by fully supplying it.
3. The feeling of being furnished with sufficient proof or information; of being assured or set free from doubt or uncertainty; to be convinced.