Leading a happy life is what parents wish for their children, family and friends. Happiness is a state most of us strive to achieve. What we often don’t realize is the art and science involved in becoming happy. Yes, we can develop and grow our level of happiness, but for that we need to understand what happiness is.
Seligman who is the father of Positive Psychology (the science of human flourishment and fulfilment) describes three pathways to happiness. They are commonly referred to as the three lives. Each pathway builds on from the previous and forms a natural level of progression. To transition from one happiness level to another is not an automatic natural cycle. Rather progression needs conscious and deliberate practice and effort. Similar to mastering a skill requires repetitive practice, routine and discipline, especially in the early stages until with time it becomes part of one’s lifestyle and persona. It becomes naturally part of ones being.
Life coaches explain the three happiness lives:
- A pleasant life – We live to experience positive and pleasurable feelings. We find mechanisms to maintain positive emotions. Our focus is on deriving pleasure to avoid the feeling of pain or suffering. We engage in activities that we feel comfortable in, but we get bored with them at some time and need more of it. The downside is that we plateau in our personal growth and self-development.
- A good life – Who doesn’t want to lead a good life? The good life focuses on two important components. 1) They are to establish what our strengths are and then to actively utilize them by setting new invigorating challenges. 2) We connect, participate and engage with our family and friends. We nurture and maintain relationships with people we deeply love and care for.
- A meaningful life is an extensive life where we give back to our community, society and world. We aim to focus on our virtues that are much bigger than ourselves. What precisely the “giving back” part is depends entirely on you and your values, passion and life purpose. This will differ from person to person and thus makes it subjective. It will be areas that give you personal and heartfelt meaning, happiness and fulfilment.
You can use Positive Psychology tools and techniques to support you in progressing from one life to another or to sustain the life you have chosen. Life is not a linear process and situations arise that can knock the wind out of our sails, but the more tools you have to build your happiness level the quicker you bounce back.
If you want to grow your happiness level and don’t know where to start, then look at our Craft Your Happiness Program for further assistance.