Eudaemonia – The Happy Life

Most psychology is focused largely on alleviating unhappy conditions rather than creating and promoting happiness. According to Martin Seligman, one of the founders of Positive Psychology, there are three kinds of happy life:

  • The “good” life, a life that pursues personal growth, successfully engaged in relationships, work, play and achieving flow.
  • The “meaningful” life, that is spent in the service of something greater than yourself, also leading to satisfaction and fulfillment, and
  • The “pleasant” life, that seeks pleasure and socializing, enjoying the company of others, also vital for self-esteem and fulfillment.

Positive psychology focuses on positive thoughts, positive emotions and positive ways of acting toward people around us. By looking at things that went right rather than wrong, seeing the glass as being half full versus half-empty, or viewing what went wrong as not as bad as it could have been. Making lemonade out of lemons.

The Power of Positive Thinking

A great deal has been written about the power of positive thinking. Probably because we spend most of our lives talking to ourselves. Not verbally of course, but through our self-talk, the endless stream of thoughts that is always with us. Our self-talk is both positive and negative, so it is very important to understand that negative thoughts lead to a downward spiral that produces nothing good. So just let them go without acting on them.

A Happier Me

Living mindfully teaches that we are not our thoughts. We can just let them go. By simply paying more attention to your positive thoughts – your positive self-talk, you will become a much more positive person, which will result in a happier person.

A simple and fun exericise is to keep a small notebook and write down ten positive thoughts you have each days. It’s not very hard. For example, every morning there are birds telling you good morning and that it’s going to be a great day. And wow, that first cup of coffee tasted great! That email message Sally sent me was so cute. I’m so fortunate to have such wonderful friends. Finishing that report was easier than I thought it would be. I’m glad it didn’t rain after all.

Write it Down Right Away

If you find you are having a difficult time coming up with ten happy thoughts, you are probably spending too much time focusing on negatives. By writing down your good thoughts when they happen in the moment, they will be fresh in your mind. If you wait till later in the day when you have more time before you write them down you are apt to forgett them. At the end of the day, spend a few minutes reviewing them to remind yourself how happy your day was.

As you have positive thoughts, you generate positive feelings, and one good feeling will generate another. If you have enough of these, you can’t help but feel happy. Now just write ten positive feelings in your note pad. If you were excited – write it down. If you were generous – write it down. If you were grateful – write it down. If you do this little exercise every day you will automatically push aside all those negative feelings.

Little Good Deeds

And all during your day you are performing little good deeds, positive actions that you probably don’t give a second thought to, but that nevertheless make you feel happy. Picking up that piece of paper and tossing it in the trash can, putting your foot on the brake to avoid hitting the dog crossing the road, waving and smiling at the mailman, saying a hundred thank you’s during the day – write them all in your note pad. Make it a part of your day to write down these little positive thoughts, feelings and actions, and look forward to reviewing them at the end of your day to help remind you how happy your day was.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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