The search for happiness has always been a universal human endeavor, a search that too often is thwarted by the most mundane of obstacles. In modern times, life has become ever more complicated. Life flashes by at the speed of light, filled with shiny objects everywhere we look to distract us from the practices that have been shown by research in Positive Psychology to increase happiness and well-being. While much has been learned about what makes us happier, too often we fail to make use of this knowledge.
Positive Psychology has a focus on what works, on using strengths and increasing well-being. The two co-founders of Positive Psychology are psychologists Martin Seligman, author of “Authentic Happiness,” and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, an expert on flow.
Positive Psychology does not contend that we can always be happy. Pain and sorrow are all too often a part of life. However, following these practices can help us to live to the fullest in good times, and to handle the troubles that can be encountered along the way.
Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research has revealed that genetics determines 50% of happiness, 10% is determined by circumstances, and the remaining 40% by intentional activities. Her book, “The How of Happiness,” is a comprehensive guide to strategies to increase happiness based on scientific studies. She defines happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
Dan Gilbert, the author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” discovered that we aren’t very good at guessing what will make us happy. But the research in this field does show activities that contribute to happiness, activities that we can practice.
Quite likely, you have already heard about some of these practices. Many of them are simple, and most of them are not hard to do. The problem is that our lives are so busy that we often fail to include them. The solution is a framework that helps to remember these building blocks, strategies that enable us to practice them, and the certain knowledge of benefits that result when we do. With the power of a pause, we gain the awareness needed to make positive shift happen. This book provides the tools to make a positive shift and practice the building blocks often.