Tag Archives: Martin Seligman

21 Habits of Supremely Happy People

This article by  which was published in The Huffington Post on 16th September is a great summary of some happiness habits which are definitely worth acquiring.  Enjoy!

happiness habits

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, theorizes that while 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, the remaining 40 percent is up to us.

In his 2004 Ted Talk, Seligman describes three different kinds of happy lives: The pleasant life, in which you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can, the life of engagement, where you find a life in your work, parenting, love and leisure and the meaningful life, which “consists of knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you are.”

After exploring what accounts for ultimate satisfaction, Seligman says he was surprised. The pursuit of pleasure, research determined, has hardly any contribution

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The Happiness Experiment Bookshelf (Part 1)

At the end of 2013 I will compile a list of my Top 20 favourite books this year. Here’s a link to the books which made it on to my 2012 bookshelf. There are already some strong contenders for the 2013 Top 20 so I know it will be a difficult choice.  In this two-part blog post I am taking a look at the books I have enjoyed so far this year. Some of the books are newly published, some are just new to me. Please let me know if you would recommend any other books for this list.


1. The Book of Qualities

The Book of Qualities by J.Ruth Gendler was published in 1988 but I only discovered it this year.  It contains beautiful descriptions of human qualities and has lovely illustrations.  Possibly my favourite book of the year so far.

2. Mind over Medicine


This is a ground breaking book by a Dr Lissa Rankin who is trying to turn the healthcare system on its head. Dr Rankin’s book encourages doctors to really listen and spend time with their patients… Read the rest...

The Happiness Tipping Point

I am thrilled to have just been offered a place to study for an MSc in Positive Psychology at The University of East London beginning in September.  My ongoing personal studies of the science of happiness literature, my participation in an excellent 10 week course in Positive Psychology at City University and my writing of The Happiness Experiment blog have all created a perfect storm in my life where I felt the need to learn more about this fascinating science. You could say that I have reached a happiness tipping point. It turns out I am not alone. This great article by Sunnie Toelle, published in The Huffington Post on 3rd June, investigates the fact that many other people seem to have reached a happiness tipping point too. The science of happiness is everywhere in the news and media at the moment as people become increasingly aware that economic success does not necessarily equate with a happy and fulfilled life. This article reviews whether

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To flow or not to flow that is the question

Many experts in positive psychology argue in favour of focusing on flow as a means to happiness and well-being.  The excellent article below by Bridget Grenville-Cleave  provides you with 5 reasons to focus on flow as part of your well being armoury.  I personally am hugely in favour of the concept of flow as I think that if you can become completed engaged with mastering the task before you all other concerns simply melt away.  The only gripe I have with the theory of flow is that it can become so addictive.  In my own case I get the greatest sense of flow when I am being creative.  For months my creative energies were poured into setting up and writing this blog and I loved doing it, but  in writing the Happiness Experiment blog I was excluding other pursuits which I also valued. I took a few month’s break from the blog to refocus and my creative energies have gone in to creating art (mainly mosaic art) to the exclusion of the blog –… Read the rest...

Play to your strengths – it will make you happier

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my studies of positive psychology is about playing to your strengths.  Like many people I have spent most of my life trying to “fix” my weaknesses and imagining that if I could only overcome my character deficits I would somehow be happier.  Positive psychology teaches us that this is a back to front approach and that it is much better to discover what your character strengths are and to use your top strengths every day in new and interesting ways. So how do you go about discovering where your true strengths and talents lie?  One way is to use your own judgement, another is to ask a group of people who know you really well what they think your top 5 strengths are.  It is a good idea to take both of these approaches but it is important to be aware when you are assessing yourself that we tend to think that because we find something easy to do that this does not constitute a strength.  Another… Read the rest...

Making Positive Psychology Wiser

Making Positive Psychology Wiser

Psychology without philosophy is blind, Philosophy without psychology is empty (James Hume)

There’s a possibility that the 21st century could be the century when we finally get to understand more about how to lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Compared to our ancestors of just a century ago we enjoy better health, greater material riches and have a richer understanding of psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. But are we happier or more fulfilled? Perhaps not. As the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said “Everything has been figured out except how to live.”

There’s at least one reason for thinking that things might change for the better. Since 1998 American psychologist Martin Seligman has led the “Positive Psychology” movement which aims to put human well-being on a scientific footing.… Read the rest...

Happiness Experiment No 2: Three Good Things

Find 3 Good Things

It is the start of a long bank holiday weekend and everyone is in a good mood so it seems like an opportune moment to introduce the second in our series of Happy Experiments: The 3 Good Things experiment.  

Over the next few days The Happiness Experiment will start to focus on things we may need to change to make ourselves happier but before doing this let’s focus on things that we can be grateful for right now before we make any changes.  Scientific experiments have proven that people who are grateful are generally happier, healthier and lead more fulfilling lives. Being grateful can help you cope with stress and can even have a benficial effect on your heart rate.  This experiment is so easy to try but it has great benefits. Practising the 3 Good Things Experiment is now as much a habit for me as brushing my teeth.  In tests, people who tried this experiment every night for just one week were happier and less depressed one month,… Read the rest...

Is there a simple equation for happiness?

This interesting article by Jeremy McCarthy looks at a number of formulas which have been put forward by positive psychology researchers as a solution to finding happiness.  Jeremy argues that although the equations may appear over-simplified they do succeed in making a very valid point which is easy to understand.  It is important to realise that much more of our personal happiness is under our own control than you might think.  Read on to find out why.  What would your happiness equation consist of? It’s worth thinking about….

On Happiness Equations

In Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness, he uses a simple equation to describe where happiness comes from:

H = S + C + V

Where “H is your enduring level of happiness, S is your set range, C is the circumstances of your life, and V represents factors under your voluntary control.”

I hear Seligman take a lot of flack for this equation in scientific circles.  There

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Wish yourself a happy New Year at any time of the year

Like many people I started the year with many good intentions and quickly found that life got in the way.  I wrote this article at the beginning of 2012 with the aim of featuring it in my brand new blog about positive psychology, which I had great intentions of setting up in January. We are now in May and thanks to my decision to sign up for the Thirty Day Challenge with http://www.screwworkletsplay.com/  I have finally set up my blog The Happiness Experiment. It is never too late to have a happy New Year and it is never too soon to start your own journey to happiness.  This article shares some insight in to my own personal journey to happiness and future articles will share some more of the lessons I have learned along the way.  I continue to experiment daily with the lessons of positive psychology and would encourage you to try some experiments too. We are all responsible for our own happiness and like me you have the ability to significantly increase… Read the rest...