Let science show you the way to happiness.
The phrase “the science of happiness” refers mostly to a relatively new field of psychology – positive psychology.
What is Positive Psychology?
Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. It is a call for psychological science and practice to be as concerned with strength as with weakness; as interested in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst; and as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling as with healing pathology. (Christopher Peterson Ph.D., 2008)
One of the fathers of positive psychology is Martin Seligman. He defines positive psychology as “the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive … It has three central concerns: positive emotions, positive individual traits, and positive institutions.”
He designed so called PERMA model, that shows five core element of psychological well-being and happiness. Seligman believes that these five elements can help people reach a life of fulfillment, happiness, and meaning.
“PERMA” is an acronym for the five aspects of well-being:
P – Positive Emotions: Even though seeking positive emotions alone is not a very effective way to boost your well-being, experiencing positive emotion is still an important factor. Part of well-being is enjoying yourself in the moment, i.e., experiencing positive emotions.
E – Engagement: Having a sense of engagement, in which we may lose track of time and become completely absorbed in something we enjoy and excel at, is an important piece of well-being. It’s hard to have a developed sense of well-being if you are not truly engaged in anything you do.
R – (Positive) Relationships: Humans are social creatures, and we rely on connections with others to truly flourish. Having deep, meaningful relationships with others is vital to our well-being.
M – Meaning: Even someone who is deliriously happy most of the time may not have a developed sense of well-being if they do not find meaning in their life. When we dedicate ourselves to a cause or recognize something bigger than ourselves, we experience a sense of meaning that there is simply no replacement for.
A – Accomplishment / Achievement: We all thrive when we are succeeding, achieving our goals, and bettering ourselves. Without a drive to accomplish and achieve, we are missing one of the puzzle pieces of authentic well-being (Seligman, 2011).
Positive psychology stresses the fact that we all have the power to take control of your happiness by choosing your thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Recent research shows that interventions, or exercises, designed to promote positive emotional qualities, such as gratitude, compassion, kindness and mindfulness, can help us build lasting habits that improve our levels happiness and increase our resilience.