Do You Want Optimal Human Functioning?
Many people are obsessed with being happy. Yet, the more they ‘do’ in pursuit of happiness the less happy they seem to be! And this isn’t a myth.
Scientific research shows that focusing too much on the achievement of happiness results in greater discontent and lack of internal peace.
So what do we do? We FLOURISH.
Years ago psychological researchers developed a field of study known as positive psychology. Essentially this ‘new’ focus in psychology is one of strength and positivity, and less about the belief that people are inherently broken or damaged. This new area of psychology gave birth to all sorts of research ideas, including the scientific study of happiness and flourishing.
What has the science shown?
Focusing on well-being, rather than the concept of happiness, results in greater joy, peace and contentedness with life. Also, doing intentional activities that support healthy living and being grateful for what’s present in life goes a long way in supporting physical, emotional, and psychological wellness.
Theory of well-being focused on flourishing (or PERMA):
Engagement with life
Relationships that are meaningful and healthy
Meaning and purpose about life, work, family, etc.
Accomplishment (mastery and achievement)
Examples of intentional activities:
Where to start? Gratitude.
Gratitude has been scientifically shown to improve mood and outlook on life. Researchers have identified a simple activity that if done on a regular basis helps shift people toward positive thought.
Each day write down 3 things you are grateful or thankful for that occurred in the past 24 hours.
Can be nightly routine before bed to also help with focusing mind away from stress and worry of the day
Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder - Thoreau
Dr. Erika McElroy
Smooth Rock Psychological Services, LLC