Friday, September 26, 2008

The How of Happiness (Pt 1)

There has been a relatively recent and growing movement referred to as "Positive Psychology." Much of this has grown from the work of Martin Seligmann, PhD author of Learned Optimism and other books. Historically, most psychology studies focused on depression and other problems. There was a movement beginning in the late 50's called "Humanistic Psychology." Positive Psychology focuses more on "everyday" people and giving them tools to beat negative thinking and living more fully, while Humanistic Psychology has focused more on "extraordinary people and topics such as self-actualizing and peak experiences.

The How of Happiness. A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD was published in 2007. Dr. Lyubomirsky is a researcher at Stanford University. The findings of her and others' researchers on happier people is summarized below:

1. "They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying these relationships.
2. They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.
3. They are often the firs to offer helping hands to coworkers and passersby.
4. They practice optimism when imagining their futures.
5. They savor life's pleasures and try to live in the present moment.
6. They make physical exercise a weekly and even daily habit.
7. They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions (e.g., fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children their deeply held values).
8. Last but not least, the happiest people do have their share of stresses, crises, and even tragedies. They may become just as distressed and emotional in such circumstance as you or I, but their secret weapon is the poise and strength they show in oping in the face of challenge.

(pages 22 - 23)

An interesting and worthwhile read. Dr. Lyubomirsky also has a blog on happiness at

Best wishes,


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