The field of psychology has long focused on psychopathology, the troubled side of human nature. What doesn’t work rather than what makes us healthy and happy. This is changing with the new focus on positive psychology. With depression ten times higher today than in 1960, it is important for people to understand what makes enables us to cultivate the best in ourselves so we can experience love, work, and play to the fullest. Clearly, many people are paying attention to the wrong things. They are focused on self-pity, blame, frustration, and anger, rather than taking responsibility for their lives and being hopeful and confident.
Martin Seligman, the Penn professor who has long studied happiness, believes that human skills like courage, future-mindedness, optimism, good interpersonal relationships, good work habits, and a sense of hope can be learned, thus warding off depression.
So what constitutes happiness? A pleasant life, one that maximized positive emotions and minimizes pain and negative emotions. An engaged life, being part of the world around you, using your talents to the best of your ability A meaningful life, serving others and finding more to life than looking out for yourself alone. Most of all have meaningful relationships, good friendships, which require commitment and work.
Be grateful, develop a sense of thankfulness and appreciation for life and all the good things it brings. Rid yourself of negativity, complaining, exaggerating problems, emotional drama.
Savor each experience. Delight in the taste of a glass of wine, cherish your times with a child, delight in the presence of your dog, enjoy a piece of lemon cake. Discover the things that make you joyous and cultivate them.
Recognize the importance of accomplishment. Get good grades, be successful in your work, be a good parent, develop your artistic ability. Do things you can be proud of.
Be loving and kind. Wish the best for everyone.
“I have only a certain span of life allotted to me, so I don’t want to waste a single moment of it fighting.” Sylvia Boorstein, Happiness is an Inside Job