You experience euphoria when you suddenly realize that a wish has been fulfilled that was not grounded in reality, therefore you did not actually expect it to come true. For example, when you win a large sum of money on a lottery scratch card; when you realize you are pregnant after having tried for some time; or when you see that the unlikely candidate you voted for has won the election.
Euphoria is an emotion of great intensity, and thus needs an exceptionally positive trigger – fulfilling a personal goal is not sufficient; it needs to fulfill a fantasy1. The intensity of euphoria can further increase if it is preceded by a long period of hardship/negativity or hope that the wish would come true. On the other hand, the suddenness of the event can also intensify this emotion. In addition, euphoria tends to be more intense when the odds for the desired event to happen are low, or when the levels of effort invested into fulfilling the wish is high.
Euphoria can provide an enormous release from tension, and help you ‘realize’ the fantasy and process or savor the good news. It is sometimes described as an almost out-of- body religious experience2: you feel like you are ‘being lifted off the ground’, floating, or ‘high’. When euphoric, you experience an impulse to jump up and down (‘aimless activation’) and announce to others what has happened, even if that requires you to search out other people or relate to complete strangers1.