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Positive Psychology

I think we can all agree that everyone wants to be happy right? So then why isn't everyone? We all have preexisting beliefs of what we think about happiness, and I know we can all come up with a list of reasons why on any given day, it may be challenging to show up happy, but did you know that there is a Happiness Formula?! It states that 90% of our happiness is within our control?! So, how do we get there? If happiness is a state of mind, then joy may be the energy of deep fulfillment. There are so many things that tell us, either upfront or subliminally that "you have got to have this (fill in the blank, THING), it will make you happy". You may feel a temporary rush of excitement but when the dust settles, did it truly lead you to your authentic personal joy? The truth is, there's no one road and the journey is bio-individual and multidimensional but there are clear steps you can take to get you started on your journey to your personal relationship with Joy and fulfillment.

I share them below, give them a try!!

Positive psychology is a powerful joy-based approach to personal development and well-being. It focuses on building a life of meaning and purpose rather than dwelling on past events, personal shortcomings or trying to "fix" something within us. The truth is that authentically happy people make healthier life choices, which is why focusing on building a positive psychology practice is a soft, passive and yet highly effective way to find overall health and wellness.


Back to the Happiness Formula! H= S+C+V

Happiness = Genetic Set Points + External Circumstances + Voluntary Activities.


~ 50% of our happiness is linked to our genetic set points, which as we know with epigenetics and neuroplasticity, are malleable and flexible, which means we can alter these setpoints. Unlike height or eye color, you can change this baseline level of hardwired happiness. So mostly controllable or changeable!

Because of hedonic adaptation or the hedonic treadmill, we all have what is considered a "happiness baseline". Whether extremely positive or exciting events happen or something negative or tragic, we may swing temporarily from one end of the pendulum to the other, but we always return to our baseline level of happiness. With intention and discipline, you can alter your personal baseline! Isn't that so reassuring to know!!!


~ 10% of our happiness is linked to external circumstances. This speaks to the money, fame, popularity, status, health, kids, marriage. All of these put together only total 10% of your happiness. This is the smallest percentage of where our happiness comes from and ironically where most of us tend to focus most of our time when we are in search of fulfillment! So much effort and chasing for what we can see will only produce very limiting results of genuine fulfillment!


~ 40% of our happiness is from voluntary activities. This is where most of our potential for happiness lies. Happy people intentionally and consistently choose to engage in happiness provoking behaviors, such as activities, relationships, growth, spirituality, a specific way of thinking or intentionally not thinking and clearing the mind.


"If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ― Lao Tzu


Martin Seligman, a leading authority in the field of positive psychology, found there are three exercises that increase people’s happiness levels, even when performed for just one week. People were able to spike their happiness levels simply by doing the gratitude visit alone!

Try each of these following exercises I shared below, from my IIN treasures, and notice how your actions affect your thinking.


1. THREE BLESSINGS Research shows that you can increase happiness by focusing on the things you’re grateful for.

  • Before going to bed, write down three good things that happened during the day.

  • Then write down why each of them happened and how you felt as a result. Focus on being grateful for these events as you replay each one in your mind. Try keeping a dedicated Gratitude Journal so it’s all in one place. You can look through it whenever you need some uplifting reminders to help shift your focus.


2. GRATITUDE VISIT

  • Think of someone who has done something important for you whom you have never properly thanked. In a letter, write down exactly what they did for you and the specific positive changes that occurred in your life because of their actions.

  • Take care to write specific details. Write and revise it as many times as necessary. Polish the letter and make it shine! Concentrate on presentation. Handwrite it or use calligraphy. Feel free to include a picture or two. Use your personal creativity.

  • If possible, meet with the person face-to-face and read the gratitude letter to them. Otherwise, call them or mail it. This is a very powerful activity. Don’t forget to bring tissues as the tears may flow.

3. PERSONAL STRENGTHS

  • List your top five personal strengths. If you’re having trouble identifying your strengths, ask a trusted friend, family member, or loved one about the strengths they see in you.

  • Think of ways you already use and demonstrate these strengths in your life. List them out next to each corresponding strength. For example, if one of your strengths is Social Intelligence, you may demonstrate this by adapting to a variety of social situations and helping others feel understood.

  • Write down more ways you can use your top strengths in your life – be specific. For example, you can use your Perspective to help a friend reframe their outlook on a challenging situation they’re experiencing.

  • Commit to using your strengths in a new way this week. Write down a plan for yourself so you’re clear on how you’ll proceed. For example, you can use your Creativity to make artwork, plan a fun weekend activity, or come up with an innovative solution to a challenge at work.

  • After carrying out your plan, reflect on your experience. How did it feel to use your strengths in new ways? Repeat this exercise as often as you’d like.


Holding practices that support waking up and going to bed in a positive state of mind can have a huge impact on the rest of your day.


We often tend to project happiness into the future...."I'll be happy when I get that job, or make more money, or have the love of my life" Sound familiar? The problem is that when we hold this perspective, it travels with us to the future so when we get the "thing" we were waiting on to be happy, it never feels the way we expect and now happiness is once again something we are waiting for or chasing. We often tend to think that happiness is outside of us when the truth is, it has always been and will always, ONLY be within ourselves, not out in the world.


Happiness is the presence itself, the here and now. The future is fantasy, and the past is an emotional memory or projection of what was. The present moment is the only truth we have. Any distractions we allow to take us away from our present moment is only leading us away from our personal joy. Choose wisely how and with who you decide to share your precious present moment with.


All the love,

Pamela

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