Happiness / Coaching
So, what is happiness?
So what does make people happy? Different things make different people happy, although some common themes have been noted by Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology. He claims that there are three components to happiness: experiencing positive emotion and pleasure (termed “the pleasant life”), being engaged or absorbed in what you do (termed “the engaged life”), and living a life for some greater purpose (“the meaningful life”). So are each of these aspects of our lives equally important when it comes to being happier? Although the happiest people appear to have elements of each, research suggests that the engaged life and meaningful life are the biggest contributors to people feeling fulfilled.
Central to developing an engaged and meaningful life is focusing on your strengths. You may believe that it is important to focus on removing or minimizing your weaknesses before focusing on strengths. However, the removal of something negative does not make something positive. For example, removing sadness does not make you happy. People who focus on their strengths can be more successful and happier than those whose main focus is overcoming weaknesses.
Below are some specific strategies in which you can engage to better identify and make use of your personal strengths.
• Writing about a time when you were “at your best” and reflecting on the personal strengths that you displayed at that time. Try to regularly review this story and consider the strengths you identified.
• Remember compliments other people have given you or qualities in yourself in which you have felt proud in the past
• Ask other people what they believe your strengths are.
• complete the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire at www.authentichappiness.org .
• Try to use one of your identified strengths in a new and different way every day for one week.
Although we like to believe that happiness just comes “naturally”, at times nature can use a helping hand. It is possible to become happier – is it worth the effort?