The Art of Strengths Coaching

H is for The Habits Of Happiness

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What can you do to make yourself happy? What can you do to make yourself unhappy?

Many people know the answers to these questions. A person may say, for example:

“I can make myself happy by getting enough sleep, exercising, eating healthy food, spending time with positive people, doing satisfying work, helping other people and working towards my long term goals.”

Sometimes a person may do the opposite of these things, however, and get into a downward spiral. They may then go for short term kicks that actually work against them achieving a long term sense of happiness.

Some people say that happiness is an outcome of pursuing certain principles, rather than an end in itself. How does this tally with your own experience?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to explore the following theme.

Looking back on your life, what have you done in the past that has resulted in you experiencing a sense of happiness? What were the things you did right in some of these cases that increased the chances of feeling happy?

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When you ask parents what they want for their children, they often say: “We want them to be happy.” So the question is: “How do people achieve happiness?”

During the past 40 years Positive Psychology has researched this topic. It has asked:

“What kinds of people are happy? What are the principles such people follow to be happy? Is it possible for other people to follow these principles in their own ways to maintain or improve their happiness?”

The recent work on happiness was inspired by psychologists such as Martin Seligman, who wrote Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness.

Later he would express reservations about the term happiness. Since then he and other researchers have used terms such as wellbeing and flourishing.

The researchers who explore this and related topics include Ed Diener, Robert Biswas-Diener, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Tal Ben-Shahar, Barbara Fredrickson, Tom Rath and many others.

Here is an overview of some of the principles that have emerged. You will, of course, have your own views on themes that could be added.

Today there are many websites that provide practical ideas about how people can shape their futures. The Cleverism website, for example, provides 15 habits that psychologists have linked to happiness. They introduce these in the following way.

Everyone wants to be happy, yet no one seems to know how to do it. The act of being happy has sparked a lot of discussion and thousands of studies have been conducted trying to solve the problem with happiness.

Psychologists and scientists seem to have found the solution: little habits create big changes and lead to happiness. 

Activities involving looking after your mind and your body can boost how fulfilled you feel. Furthermore, helping others and organizing your life can guarantee you find happiness.

So, let’s get started with adding these 15 habits into your life – you’ll be surprised at the power of these tiny changes.

You can discover more via the following link.

Looking at the principles mentioned in this blog, are there any of these that you would like to follow in your own way? If so, how could you translate these into action?

Different people pick different themes to follow. One person, for example, focused on being generous and kind. They found that doing this produced a sense of peace.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you can do to increase the chances of experiencing a sense of happiness in the future.

Describe the specific benefits of doing these things – both for yourself and other people.

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