“Psychology is generally focused on how to relieve depression, anger and worry,” he said…“What makes life worth living,” he said, “is much more than the absence of the negative.”
To Dr. Seligman, the most effective long-term strategy for happiness is to actively cultivate well-being.
In his 2012 book, “Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being,” he explored how well-being consists not merely of feeling happy (an emotion that can be fleeting) but of experiencing a sense of contentment in the knowledge that your life is flourishing and has meaning beyond your own pleasure.
Here’s an oldie but not-baddie: the New Year’s Resolution worksheet I once-upon-a-time put together for residents at the 28-day crisis program where I used to work. It’s been posted here before, but…it’s a new year again, so here it is.
Sometimes resolving to take on new, better behaviors just sets you up for disappointment. There’s some wisdom in abstaining from the whole process. But, if you’re going to give resolutions a shot, the worksheet can be helpful in getting them structured. It asks, what are your goals for the coming year, what are behaviors would you like to change, what are attitudes do you hope to adjust. Then, once narrowed to resolutions, you’re prompted to break each item down into steps. “So you want to ____________; what’s the first action you have to take to get there?”
It was helpful for the residential program folks. It could help you too.
Either way, Happy New Year!
Another day, another study saying that healthy attachments are good for you (especially if you’re a preschooler).
Research has shown that our children’s chances of future success are driven by a variety of factors, including those that are somewhat beyond our immediate control, such as genes and financial status. The new study, however, found that a caring and emotionally attentive parent is likely to be a solid, long-term game-changer.
Decreasing screen time maybe better for all: preschool moms, kids, brains, bodies. Or maybe not. Either way, try asking yourself the classic therapist question after a long stretch in front of a screen: “How did that make you feel?” If the answer is “not so great,” you’ve got a data point. Repeat, adjust, and maybe feel better.
Science seeks answers. A couple of possibilities:
[S]tudies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods — for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and hew their goals toward greater wellbeing…
“A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” wrote psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert of Harvard University who used an iPhone web app to gather 250,000 data points on people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions as they went about their lives.
Good news relayed by PsychCentral: Emotional Stability, Happiness Increase with Age
“As people get older, they’re more aware of mortality,” Carstensen said. “So when they see or experience moments of wonderful things, that often comes with the realization that life is fragile and will come to an end. But that’s a good thing. It’s a signal of strong emotional health and balance.”
Deborah Tannen looks at why having a sister makes people happier.
My own recent research about sisters suggests a more subtle dynamic. I interviewed more than 100 women about their sisters, but if they also had brothers, I asked them to compare. Most said they talked to their sisters more often, at greater length and, yes, about more personal topics. This often meant that they felt closer to their sisters, but not always…
Stuff v. Happiness in the NYT:
A two-bedroom apartment. Two cars. Enough wedding china to serve two dozen people. Yet Tammy Strobel wasn’t happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, Calif., and making about $40,000 a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the “work-spend treadmill.” So one day she stepped off…
This research suggests that when you ask someone to rate the personality of a particular coworker or acquaintance, you may learn as much about the rater providing the personality description as the person they are describing.