Increasing Personal Happiness: Is it on Your To-Do List?

Author: Shannon Miller

Is pursuing happiness on your to-do list?  If it’s not, it should be!

We all deserve to take time out of our busy lives to increase our personal happiness.  In the fast paced world that we live in, simple yet incredibly important things like happiness, sometimes take a back seat to our daily responsibilities.  According to research conducted by positive psychologist Martin Seligman and his colleagues, you can increase your personal happiness by making a habit out of simple practices:*

  • Gratitude visit. Make it a point to express thanks to the people in your life who have had a positive effect on you.  Write a letter expressing thanks to someone special in your life and then go visit him/her and read them your letter.  Seeing how much the recipient gets out of this experience is sure to leave you feeling all tingly!
  • Count your blessings! Before going to bed each night, think of 3 things that turned out well through out the course of your day.  Reflect on each one.  There is so much negative that you could focus on when thinking about your day, but this exercise gives you an opportunity to focus on the positive!
  • At your best! Write a story about a time when you were “at your best.”  Include in your story personal strengths that were exhibited at that particular time.  Review this story regularly and reflect on the strengths that you identified.

TIP: What is a life if it’s not a happy one?  Happiness is important.  Put it on your to-do list this week!

* Seligman, M.E.P., Steen, T.A., Park, N., & Peterson (2005).  Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410-421.

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