Even psychologists are looking for the pursuit of happiness, did you know that they are researching to find what makes people happy?
A whole new generation of psychologists decided that instead of studying "negative” psychology, what makes people depressed, sad, and anxious, that they would research what makes people happy.
There are people out there studying about what we can do to make our lives and states of mind better.
One thing they found out is that happiness is obtainable and teachable.
That’s right - we can teach ourselves to be happy.
Many of these studies have focused on small groups of "very happy people” and analysed their lifestyles and personalities.
They found that, up to a point, the happiness that people can intentionally create through their thoughts and actions can block out genetically acquired depression and gloominess.
Read about Thought Control.
A psychologist named Martin Seligman studied this and his conclusion was happiness has three dimensions that can be refined:
"The pleasant life” where we learn to savour and appreciate such basic pleasures as companionship and the environment.
We can remain stuck at this stage or we can go on to stage two, which is
"The good life,” which is achieved by discovering our unique strengths and employing them to enhance our lives.
The final stage is
"The meaningful life,” in which we find a deep sense of fulfilment by using our unique strengths for a purpose much greater than ourselves.
I had to find my purpose in Life, in my book I share with you the steps I took to make that happen Overcoming Life's Challenges
The brilliance of this theory is that it unites two conflicting views of human happiness - the individualistic approach, which emphasizes taking care of ourselves, and the global approach, which tends to emphasize self-sacrifice.
Now, some critics think that a lot of this is hogwash and it’s just wishful thinking that we can "think our way happy.”
But it’s true and I’m the living proof.
You are what you think.
Think about what you think about.
Positive psychology is more proactive and preventive, whereas traditional psychology is more problem-oriented.
But these happiness studies are confirming what great philosophical and spiritual thinkers from Confucius to Aristotle taught us long ago.
In spite of powerful genetic and environmental influences, a large part of our mental well-being depends on our actions and attitudes.
In addition, by building certain strengths and developing behaviours, we are not escaping from depression.
It’s the exact opposite; this generates a resilience that protects us from it.
To me, this is nothing new, but it’s nice to finally find some scientific data that backs up what I already know.
Do you wonder how you stack up?
I have found a great website: Positive Psychology Centre They have many different quizzes you can take to find out more about your level happiness and what you can do to improve it.
For me, the journey of the pursuit of happiness I thought was out of my reach, I talk more about this in my book Overcoming Life's Challenges here I share with you how I had to find happiness to move forward.