What secrets of happiness does positive psychology reveal?


Shrenya Soni

Psychology Associate

In our previous article, we talked about how we can instill the fundamentals of Positive Psychology to make our lives happier. In this article, we will add on to those fundamentals by talking about theories in the field of Positive Psychology which will help us get in-depth knowledge about this field of science and also how we can put these concepts into practice.

Theory 1: by Roy Baumeister

Renowned Positive Psychologist Roy F. Baumeister wanted an answer to what makes a good life, and he found interesting answers that we can apply to our own life.

Roy’s research showed that happiness and a sense of meaning in life (meaningfulness) do not necessarily go together, which indicated that focusing on positive emotions alone cannot bring the fulfilling and satisfying life we aspire to have.

The following are a few of his findings:

1. The satisfaction of one’s wants and needs does boost happiness, but has no impact on meaningfulness- this indicates that focusing on obtaining what we want will help us be happy, but having a sense of meaning may add on to it.

2. Happiness is present-oriented, rooted in the moment, while meaningfulness is more focused on the past and future and how they link to the present- this suggests that we should focus on the present to increase our happiness, but to find a sense of meaning, we should think about our existence as a whole.

3. ‘Givers’ i.e. those who contribute to others, experience more meaning, while ‘takers’ i.e. those who benefit from other people, experience more happiness. This indicates that if we find ourselves lacking in meaning, we should try giving back to others, but if we lack happiness, we should try accepting others’ generosity to give ourselves a boost.

Theory 2: by Martin Seligman

The PERMA model is a widely recognized, influential model of psychological well-being. Martin Seligman proposed this model to define well-being in greater depth. ‘PERMA’ is an acronym for the five facets of well-being:

1. P – Positive Emotions

Seeking positive emotions alone is not an effective way to boost our well-being, experiencing positive emotion is what is important. E.g. enjoying ourselves in the moment, which helps us experience positive emotions.

2. E – Engagement

Experiencing a sense of engagement, where we lose track of time and become completely absorbed in something we enjoy doing is an important part of our well-being.

3. R – (Positive) Relationships

Humans are social beings and we rely on our connections with others to flourish. Having deep and meaningful relationships with others is essential to our well-being.

4. M – Meaning

People who are happy most of the time may not have a developed sense of well-being if they do not find meaning in their life. Dedicating ourselves to a cause that is bigger than us, is when we experience a sense of meaning.

5. A – Achievement

We all thrive when we are succeeding, achieving our goals, and improving ourselves. Lacking the drive to accomplish and achieve, we miss out on one of the puzzle pieces of authentic well-being.

Positive Psychology in Practice

The principles of Positive Psychology can be used in different settings, including our homes, therefore here are a few methods of how we can practice Positive Psychology by ourselves:

1. Experience sampling method

The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) can also be called journaling. This is used in positive interventions to help people realize how much of their day is actually quite positive. Noting down all the experiences in your journal throughout the day helps count our blessings.

2. Gratitude journal

A gratitude journal gives individuals a way of identifying and reflecting on all of the good things in their lives. People are to write down three things they are grateful for each day, and that they need to be different each day. Within a week, many people experience a boost in well-being along with an increase in gratitude.

3. Gratitude visit/letter

A gratitude visit is an exercise in which an individual identifies a person to whom they are grateful, then they write a letter to this person expressing their gratitude. If the person lives close enough to visit, they are encouraged to drop off the letter in person and visit them. If not, a phone call or a video call or even dropping off the letter via email will work.

4. Focus on building strengths rather than weaknesses

Positive psychology is based on the idea that building on our strengths is often a more effective path to success than trying to force improvement in areas we are not suited for. In practice, this technique involves identifying one’s strengths and working to provide ourselves with more opportunities.

The field of Positive Psychology has given us an ample number of ways to give ourselves a shot at a happier life. It does not take a lot of effort, what it takes is just a few additions and a change in our outlook towards life.

So go on, make these amends and unlock a happier and healthier life!

And do let us know how it changed you.

View more content by Shrenya Soni

Discussion Board

What strategies will you adopt to become happier?

Abhinav Sharma
One thing that I learnt from this article (among many) is that we have to consciously make efforts to make our life meaningful. It cannot happen by chance. I will try to clearly define my purpose and work on achieving it. 😇✌️
Rohit Chopra
Incredible writing! Clearly explained research. What I loved most about this article was the PERMA model of positive psychology and it's detailed explanation.
Deepak Tyagi
yes right..