9-not-need-happyIt’s surely coincidental that I have been given the task to write about the “science” (I’m a nerd) and “happiness” (I like hugging people).

For some time scientist were unable to measure happiness. And you can hypothesis all you want, but if you can’t lay down the hard evidence then science or in this case psychology will debunk you. Dr. Sue Johnson a counselling psychologist debunked the critics that love could never be measured. With functional MRI showing us nerds the nitty gritty of the brain. Dr. Johnson could indeed show us with a little bit of oxytocin that love can be measured, and we all know that love/bonding is ever so important for the survival of human kind (for more references for Dr. Johnson, read her book “Love sense”) 

So you have gathered I like science and hugging people….BUT! this blog is to celebrate International day of happiness. And how to measure your own happiness.

On the 28th of June 2012  Jayme Illien a United Nations adviser proposed  happiness as a human right and a “fundamental human goal.” Jayme himself was a rescued orphan by Mother Theresa’s International Mission of Hope charities (for more on Jayme, http://www.happinessday.org/).  And what a noble idea it was. And so on the 20th of March every year, International day of happiness is a day to promote, well….happiness!

So there is your sneaky background check. Now to the “science” behind happiness.

There is really one psychologist that has put positive psychology on the map, and there might be a confirmation bias here as I have read all of his books. Quickly,  Positive psychology investigates what brings satisfaction to ones life. Without treating the pathology of mental illness. Professor Martin Seligman is the father of positive psychology and is famous for his previous investigation into learned helplessness. Professor Seligman defied and even challenged the likes of Sigmund Freud with his investigation and methodology. Prof Seligman hypothesised that you can measure happiness and well being. And along with his books Learned optimism and Flourish came about a measuring stick for happiness and well being. Prof Seligman developed a measuring questionnaire called PERMA through the university of Pennsylvania. Which scientifically measures your optimism and well being in life. A pessimistic outlook in life has been linked to poorer immunity, inability to bounce back from setbacks and even presidential speeches that were pessimistic, were less likely to get voted for (true story).

Prof Seligman has done wonderful work here at SAHMRI with the Wellbeing and resilience centre. Setting up PERMA programs through schools, workplaces and within the community with huge success. If you don’t feel inclined to follow up on the links, here is a a TED talk done by the man himself.

https://www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology?language=en 

PERMA stands for….

Clicking on the above headlines will direct you through to PERMA in more depth along with http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/? .

I’m known to ramble on, so I will leave the links above and below for you wonderful people to investigate in your time. But as you can see (if you read the links) a splash of positive emotion (being optimistic) and a little sprinkle of engagement (nourishing activities) and you are well on your way to a “flourishing” meaningful life.

Happy international day

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