How Do We Become Happier People?

Topics: Positive psychology, Happiness, Personal life Pages: 3 (1136 words) Published: December 15, 2010
Happiness can be defined as pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentedness, delight, enjoyment, and satisfaction. All these words mean the same thing yet can be very difficult to understand while it can be even more difficult to attain the full feeling behind these words. Many people think that having their cars, or skis, or whatever other material possessions they want will make them happy. Others believe there must be some sort of deeper connections in order to achieve true happiness. “The New Science of Happiness,” an article in Time Magazine by Claudia Wallis, argues that the largest contributing factor for one’s levels of happiness are feelings of gratitude and their ties to family and friends. However a peer-reviewed journal titled “Orientations to Happiness and Life Satisfaction: The Full Life Versus the Empty Life,” by Christopher Peterson, Nansook Park, and Martin E.P. Seligman, argues that there are three distinguishable orientations to happiness.

“The New Science of Happiness”, an article in Time Magazine, discusses how Martin Seligman, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, brings together two other leading psychologists, Ray Fowler (past C.E.O. of APA), and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (best known for studying a happy state of mind called flow) to try and change the direction psychology is heading. This new direction was one that focused on the positive side of psychology. “For most of its history, psychology had concerned itself with all that ails the human mind: anxiety, depression, neurosis, obsessions, paranoia, delusions. The goal of practitioners was to bring patients from a negative, ailing state to a neutral normal, or, as Martin Seligman puts it, "from a minus five to a zero."” (Wallis 2005). Seligman and his colleagues want to instead study what makes people happy. These three psychologists want to see what makes people go form a neutral level to a plus five. Research shows that not money, education, youth, or even good...

References: Peterson, C. &, Park, N. &, Seligman M. (2005). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: The full life versus the empty life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, (25-41). Retrieved October 17, 2009, from EBSCO Host.
Wallis, Claudia. (January 9, 2005). The New Science of Happiness. Retrieved October 16,2009, from,9171,1015902-7,00.html
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