Happiness is something we all strive for. Too often we don’t know where to look to find it. According to Martin Seligman, Ph.D., and father of positive psychology, happiness is made up of five distinct components:

1. Positive emotions: these can include joy, curiousity, awe, excitement, pleasure, and many others. It feels good to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket on a cold night, or to see a child walk for the first time. Positive emotions come from many places and if we want increased happiness, we need to fill our life with positive feelings.

2. Engagement in activities: Life is not always easy and sometimes it is down right painful or depressing. It is important to be able to distract ourselves from time to time so that we may give our minds a break from it all. Activities are the events that draw our attention away from life’s problems and challenges. Any activity will do, so long as you enjoy it. Try playing connect four, or take a walk, or work on a puzzle and see how much more happiness fills your life.

3. Relationships: Relationships are the number one happiness makers. Relationships allow us to bloom into ourselves and experience the fullest sense of what it means to be a human. This is because relationships provide a sense of trust, love, security, personal growth, and understanding that cannot be achieved alone. Work on your relationships to increase your overall happiness.

4. Meaning: “Why am I here?” “What is the purpose of my life?” Answers to these questions are what often get us out of bed every day. The morning you come to know why you are here, the more you will be able to get through your challenges and struggles. Meaning allows us to have a sense of values to aspire to. Meaning increases happiness by importing value to our experiences. Search for meaning and you will experience a richer and happier life.

5. Accomplishments:  Accomplishments allow us to grow in ourselves. Humans thrive on a sense of completion and progress. Ask yourself everyday-“what can I do today to feel accomplished?” Accomplishments do not always have to be monumental. Sometimes the greatest accomplishments can be small gestures, such as calling a friend, or making good on a promise.

Work on developing the five factors of happiness in your life to increase your own happiness so that you  may live a richer and fuller today.

Dr. LaP

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