28 Apr 3 Simple Rules for More Happiness
So you want to be happier? Check out this article from Positive Psychology News Daily…
In the Positive Psychology Masterclasses that I co-present with fellow University of East London MAPP graduate, Miriam Akhtar, the important role that gratitude plays in boosting well-being often comes up. Gratitude is active when people write thank-you letters, reflect on three good things at the end of the week, or simply say, “Thank you,” to someone (and really mean it).
But our participants often balk at the prospect of reading out loud a Thank You letter to the person they want to thank. It seems that this kind of overt display of positive emotion is a step too far. “Posting a letter is one thing,” said Katrina, “but I couldn’t stand in front of [Mrs X] and read it out loud – way too embarrassing, for both of us!”
As it happens, we’re in good company here: Thank you, Sonja Lyubomirsky, for being honest enough to admit that expressing gratitude doesn’t float your boat either.
The Importance of Fit
During our MAPP program, when we were assigned to test out various happiness-enhancing activities on ourselves and report back, we often argued about the idea of fitness. Some of us found that a particular exercise worked really well, and we may even have continued to practice it after our assignment was handed in, whereas other students couldn’t get on with it at all and stopped at the earliest opportunity.
In her book, The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky devotes a whole chapter to the question of suitability, pointing out that although it’s widely accepted in the domains of diet and physical health, thinking about whether a particular approach will suit us isn’t something we often do when considering our emotional and psychological health. She explains three elements of suitability: fit with the source of your unhappiness, fit with your strengths, and fit with your lifestyle. The advice is that choosing appropriately will vastly increase your chances of succeeding when you’re contemplating doing any exercises to increase your well-being.
On top of suitability, her new research with her colleagues Rene Dickerhoof and Julia Boehm (University of California, Riverside) and Kennon Sheldon (University of Missouri, Columbia) suggests there are two other important factors which influence your chances of increasing your happiness when you carry out an evidence-based happiness exercise: your motivation and the effort you invest…