This article is for people who have enough money to live life but are not finding enough happiness in their daily pursuits. Their lives lack meaning and enjoyment. And they drag themselves through their home or work life without much joy.
This article will teach you a system of planning your daily activities so that you can choose happiness daily. It will give you that psychological insight to find happiness through your activities and actions. It is based on the study of Positive Psychology — a new psychological field that prioritises researching the knowledge of happiness and well-being.
Are you ready to begin? Can I make you the happiest person on Earth? Okay, let’s go into a short in-depth study on what gives us happiness.
According to Martin P. Seligman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, there are three kinds of happiness: Meaning, Pleasures, and Strengths.
Meaning is the happiness you get when something you do is meaningful to you because you treasure the outcome or achievement.
Pleasure is the happiness you get when something you do is physically enjoyable or pleasurable to your senses.
Strengths is the happiness you get by fully engaging your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual powers to accomplish a task.
Happiness usually comes as a combination of Meaning, Pleasures, and Strengths. And the more meaning, pleasure, and strength you can find in doing something — the more happy you’ll be.
I’ll give you some examples of what it means to be engaging in meaning, pleasures, and strengths.
Firstly, bringing up your children is a highly meaningful activity. Many parents would say it’s a real sacrifice. But the happiness you get from watching your children grow up and talk to you is a true heart and mind joy.
Helping a friend in need is also an activity which may be difficult but is highly meaningful to do. Because these are your true friends who would have eternal gratitude for you coming to save them once in their lifetime.
Secondly, for pleasure — eating is pleasurable. So is listening to music. And even watching a movie. These are delights for the tongue, ear, and sight — eating, music, and movies. Thinking about it, aromatherapy and massage are delights for your smelling and feeling senses.
Thirdly, you could get happiness from using your strengths. Something like cooking a delicious meal for your family. In my case, writing to help people find happiness. Running to keep your body fit. Even researching a cure for cancer. As long as its an activity that uses your skill and concentration, you can find happiness from engaging it.
Fourthly, sometimes happiness comes as a combination of meaning, pleasures, and strengths. For example, reading by the poolside is both pleasurable and utilises your learning strength. A goal to climb Mount Everest is both highly meaningful to know you are a Summit Champion and it uses your planning, climbing, and survival strengths. Plus, maybe you enjoy the ice mountain scenery.
So if you can do things that are all at once meaningful, pleasurable, and that utilises your strengths, you will find ultimate happiness in your endeavours.
That is the secret to happiness. Choose a meaningful goal, then do things which are both pleasurable and uses your strengths to achieve it. Let’s go back to cooking. Your goal is to prepare delicious meals for your family. You enrol in cooking school which trains your cooking strengths. Then you enjoy eating the food you prepare for your family, which is highly pleasureable. You see, you have satisfied all three requirements for meaning, pleasure, and strength — a true happiness activity — going to cooking school to learn to cook for your family.
Try another one. You are an entrepreneur with a business teaching people about the Internet. Your goal is to give Internet literacy to everyone so the world can advance. You enjoy the challenge of managing the business, doing the marketing, teaching the classes. You find pleasure in delighting the students with new internet tricks like giving your children a new software toy to play with. You see, your business is your meaning, pleasure, and strength.
Try one more. You are a preschool teacher trained in Early Childhood Education. Your goal is to nurture children’s minds and help them learn all things. You find pleasure in playing with the kids, watching them smile and laugh. The job fully utilises your strengths to plan and organise fun lessons for children. You have meaning, pleasure, and strength. You have truly found a happiness job.
So you see, that is where happiness is. In the engagement of your meaning, pleasure, and strengths. So think about it… what things are you doing in your life which are all at once meaningful, pleasurable, and strength-utilising?
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