"Where Yoga Meets Modern Psychology" Ashley Turner at Wanderlust's Speakeasy
How to Use Modern Psychology to Live a Happy Life
The field of Psychology had long been dominated by disorders. Since the 1990s, however, a new breed of psychologists, led by Martin Seligman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Jonathan Haidt, among others, launched the "positive psychology" movement, focusing their research and projects on human flourishing - how to develop our values, strengths, virtues, and talents, and find meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in our lives.
- Quiz thyself at the University of Pennsylvania's free Questionnaires Center. Try the General Happiness Scale, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Optimism Test, and Character Strengths (long form);
- Listen to your critics - a good place to look for wisdom is where you least expect it: in the minds of your opponents;
- If you've been feeling down for weeks, take the CES-D (depression) Questionnaire. If you score below 16, seek help from a mental health professional, and let your doctor know.
Strengthen your body and your mind.
- Body - walking even just 15 mins/day, 5 days a week, makes a big difference (bonus points if you walk with a friend); take 2 fish-oil pills a day to help your mood, brain, and heart;
- Mind - meditate even just 15 mins/day - there are tons of free resources for an easy, guided, start; try Cognitive Behavior Therapy; hypnosis (no, really); happy pills - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) - ask your doctor.
Work on your relationships harder than you do your work.On your deathbed, will you wish you had spent more time at the office, or with your friends and family?
Like what you do.
- Focus on how you help people and contribute to the common good;
- Focus on your strengths (see Step 1) and use at least one of them every day, in a new way;
- Master your work;
- Find Flow - do challenging tasks that use your strengths; concentrate; get immediate feedback as you progress;
- Take control, even a little control, over how your work is done;
- Build alliances - connect and engage with people who can make your work better
Reach outside of yourself.
- Be a bee - our lives only make full sense as members of a larger hive, or as cells in a larger body. Try religion, teaching, science, political campaigns;
- Join an organization that has a noble purpose and a noble past. Any volunteer work can take you beyond yourself, but one that has history, traditions, and rituals makes it easier;
- Try to live a virtuous life - enhance peace, harmony & cooperation; exercise your best virtues (see Step 1);
- Be One with The Multiverse - in a unified whole, where everything is accepted, nothing is judged; lose your self in an infinity of wonder, awe, joy, love, and gratitude (f.e via an ecstatic religious experience, or psilocybin mushrooms - ask your shaman).
Sources and Citations
- Carter, Christine. Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. New York: Ballantine Books. (2010)
- Gardner, Howard, Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly, and Damon, William. Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet. New York, Basic Books. (2002)
- Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Guided Mindfulness Meditation: Series 1. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. (2002)
- Kahneman, Daniel, Diener, Ed, Schwarz, Norbert. Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology. Russell Sage Foundation Publications. (2003)
- Keltner, Dacher, Jason Marsh, and Jeremy Adam Smith, editors, The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. (2010)
- Keyes & J. Haidt (Eds.) Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-lived. Washington DC: American Psychological Association. (pp. 275–289)
- Seligman, Martin. Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New York: Free Press. (2011)
- Haidt, Jonathan. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. Basic Books.
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