As a culture, we’ve become obsessed with pursuing happiness. The wellness and self-help industry has surpassed $13 billion dollars in revenue. Instead of seeking eudaemonic happiness, we’ve come to seek hedonic happiness. What’s the difference? Introduced by Aristotle, eudaemonic happiness was about living a good life. Instead of focusing on living a life that is good and one that we’re proud of, we’ve come to live a life that is consumed by the pursuit of positive feelings and feeling good. When we seek a life of feeling good, we’re forgetting a critical component of the human condition – connections with others – that which makes us human.
Seeking pleasure, whether from food, sex, or entertainment, is unfulfilling. Not only is it momentary and fleeting, but it’s also selfish. There’s a reason why it’s hardwired within our genetic makeup to be hive creatures. We need each other, and this dependency is what helped us to survive this long as a species. But when we start seeking the wrong things, like feeling momentary happiness, it separates us from the condition of flourishing. It’s easier to understand when we think of emotions as our compass. The evolutionary function of emotions is to guide us. We feel good when we’re on the right track, doing the right things. We don’t feel good when we’ve veered off course. The reason why an obsessive pursuit of happiness is futile – is because happiness isn’t something we can get to, it’s just a guide.
The science of positive psychology has found that there are 5 ways to increase fulfillment and flourishing, and happiness is just one facet. Positive psychology is defined as, “the scientific study of optimal human functioning. It aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.” (M. Seligman). So what are the areas to increase if we want more fulfillment and flourishing in our own lives?
P ositivity: increase moments of positivity. Change your mindset, reframe the way you see the world, increase your gratitude for life.
E ngagement: be one with the moment. Absolutely in the zone. Regulate yourself to be where you want to be, how you want to be.
R relationships: increase the quality of your relationships. Have greater social influence in your life.
M eaning: live with intention. Fill your days with purpose and transcend the mundane.
A ccomplishment: stretch yourself. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Grow beyond who you are today.
Let’s not get hung up on just the one area of life, happiness. Focus on all five areas of your life to live the good life.
Contact Me if you’re ready to stop living small and want to begin your life transformation today.
You need to live YOUR life. No one else can, or ever will. Your life is your gift. Don’t waste it. #SingularPresence
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