Research – Finding Happiness 2017-01-13T13:42:42+00:00

Research – Finding Your Happiness

Christopher Peterson, Nansook Park and Martin E.P. Seligman surveyed 845 adults over the Internet to investigate how different orientations to happiness – whether pursuing pleasure, engagement or meaning – are associated with life satisfaction. Those who involved themselves in activities that included a combination of all three ways to happiness reported to have the highest level of life satisfaction.

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Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: The full life versus the empty life

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Huffman et al. explored the impact of nine positive psychology exercises on psychiatric patients who had been hospitalised for having suicidal thoughts or behaviours. One of the exercises asked patients to think about what made them happy, then to schedule and carry out three activities that included something they 1) enjoyed doing alone, 2) enjoyed doing with others, and 3) considered personally important and meaningful. At the end of the day they reflected on their feelings following each activity. Patients who completed this reported increased optimism and decreased hopelessness.

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Feasibility and utility of positive psychology exercises for suicidal inpatients

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s continual research in the psychology and psychophysiology of emotions reveals how a greater ratio of positive emotions to negative ones, at least 3:1, leads towards a “life of flourishing”. Therefore, doing more things that make you experience happy emotions will aid you to have a higher positivity ratio and ultimately will help you live a life of “goodness, generativity, growth and resilience”. Her book, Positivity (2009), includes a culmination of scientific evidence that makes her case.

In the following study by Fredrickson and Losada, 188 participants provided daily reports of the positive and negative emotions they had felt that day for four weeks. This was then compared to an initial assessment of where they each fell on the flourishing scale:

Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing

Footnote*

(If you have any problems following links in our research, then please copy and paste the text below relating to the article you wish to see into your browser top bar)

Christopher Peterson, Nansook Park and Martin E.P. Seligman
Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: The full life versus the empty life
http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/43062

Huffman et al.
Feasibility and utility of positive psychology exercises for suicidal inpatients
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24230461

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson
Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3126111/