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Why Is Happiness So Difficult to Achieve? Part 1

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

3. Meaningfulness or participating in meaningful activities.

Ed. Diener, a Psychologist at the University of Illinois, goes on to explain each of these three segments of happiness:

1. Positive Emotions refers to having and enjoying family and friends. He points out that having friends and social interaction actually boosts the immune system.

2. Engagement in life refers to believing in things bigger than oneself. For example, belief in religion, or spirituality or having a philosophy of life, helps one to feel engaged or involved in life.

3. Meaningfulness refers to having long term goals and values to strive toward and improve one’s self.

If you wish to learn more about this I suggest you do an Internet search of Martin Seligman and you will find his web site and can even participate in the assessment questionnaires related to happiness. There is not cost for this and it is part of the University of Pennsylvania.

Are you happy?

1. Are you able to experience positive emotions and take pleasure in family, friends or both?

2. Do you have a philosophy of life or some type of spirituality that guides you? Are you engaged in life and in activities so that you can sometimes "lose yourself?"

3. Do you believe your life is meaningful? Do you have a set of goals and do you have values that are important to you?

Of course, depression is the opposite of happiness and these researchers are aware of that. In fact, positive psychology has, as its purpose, the development of interventions to help people find these elements of happiness.

Let us remember that happiness in no way implies "all of the time." These psychologists are not naive and know full well that all of us have our "ups and downs."

Your comments are welcome and encouraged

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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