Over the previous twenty years, the optimistic psychology motion has brightened up psychological analysis with its science of happiness, human potential and flourishing.
It argues that psychologists mustn’t solely examine psychological sickness but additionally what makes life worth living.
The founding father of optimistic psychology, Martin Seligman, describes happiness as experiencing frequent optimistic feelings, reminiscent of pleasure, pleasure and contentment, mixed with deeper emotions of that means and function.
It implies a optimistic mindset within the current and an optimistic outlook for the longer term.
Importantly, happiness consultants have argued that happiness is just not a secure, unchangeable trait however one thing versatile that we will work on and finally attempt in the direction of.
I’ve been working happiness workshops for the final 4 years primarily based on the proof from the above area of psychology.
The workshops are enjoyable and I’ve earned a repute as “Mrs Blissful”, however the very last thing I might need anybody to consider is that I’m pleased on a regular basis. Striving for a cheerful life is one factor, however striving to be pleased on a regular basis is unrealistic.
Latest research signifies that psychological flexibility is the important thing to higher happiness and well-being.
For instance, being open to emotional experiences and the flexibility to tolerate durations of discomfort can permit us to maneuver in the direction of a richer, extra significant existence.
Research have demonstrated that the best way we reply to the circumstances of our lives has extra affect on our happiness than the occasions themselves.
Experiencing stress, disappointment and nervousness within the quick time period doesn’t suggest we won’t be pleased in the long run.
Two paths to happiness
Philosophically talking there are two paths to feeling pleased, the hedonistic and the eudaimonic.
Hedonists take the view that as a way to stay a cheerful life we should maximise pleasure and avoid pain. This view is about satisfying human appetites and needs, however it’s usually quick lived.
In distinction, the eudaimonic method takes the lengthy view. It argues that we must always stay authentically and for the higher good. We should always pursue that means and potential via kindness, justice, honesty and braveness.
If we see happiness within the hedonistic sense, then we’ve got to proceed to hunt out new pleasures and experiences as a way to “prime up” our happiness.
We will even attempt to minimise disagreeable and painful emotions as a way to maintain our temper excessive.
If we take the eudaimonic method, nonetheless, we try for that means, utilizing our strengths to contribute to one thing higher than ourselves. This will likely contain disagreeable experiences and feelings at occasions, however usually results in deeper levels of joy and contentment.
So main a cheerful life is just not about avoiding exhausting occasions; it’s about having the ability to reply to adversity in a means that permits you to develop from the expertise.
Rising from adversity
Research shows that experiencing adversity can really be good for us, relying on how we reply to it. Tolerating misery can make us more resilient and lead us to take motion in our lives, reminiscent of altering jobs or overcoming hardship.
In studies of people facing trauma, many describe their expertise as a catalyst for profound change and transformation, resulting in a phenomenon referred to as “post-traumatic development”.
Typically when folks have confronted problem, sickness or loss, they describe their lives as happier and extra significant in consequence.
Not like feeling pleased, which is a transient state, main a happier life is about particular person development via discovering that means.
It’s about accepting our humanity with all its ups and downs, having fun with the optimistic feelings, and harnessing painful emotions as a way to attain our full potential.