Do you know what makes your life worth living? Most of us will name our loved ones, perhaps a satisfying job, maybe our favorite hobbies. Modern scientists have spent much time, effort and money trying to determine how to increase the positive aspects of our lives, those aspects that make life worth living. This scientific movement is called positive psychology and emphasizes studying our behavior, feelings and thoughts, through a lens that focuses on strengths versus weaknesses. In other words, positive psychology teaches us how to accentuate the positive, healthy parts of our lives, not merely fix the unhealthy, non-working parts. In a nutshell, positive psychologists study positive states such as resilience, gratitude and compassion and positive experiences such as joy, love and happiness, with an eye toward increasing and enhancing these conditions.
How Do I Incorporate Positive Psychology Principles Into My Life?
- Improve the quality of your relationships by consciously introducing more positive and supportive interactions with partners, friends and family. By extension, performing an act of kindness has also been shown to result in a boost to our sense of well-being.
- Experience more positive mood states by engaging daily in the activities that make you happy, and bring enjoyment.
- Seek out meaningful experiences by helping others, e.g., volunteering opportunities, teaching your favorite hobbies to others, or becoming a mentor for others. Studies have shown that volunteering your time to a cause you strongly support can enhance your well-being and life satisfaction.
- Don’t overestimate the influence that money has on happiness. It does have an impact, but studies show we often overestimate the satisfaction it brings to our lives. In fact, spending money on other people has been shown to result in increased levels of happiness for the giver. Researchers have also found that spending money on experiences versus material goods has the potential to enhance levels of happiness.
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