Three of the most common themes and discussions we have with our clients are in the area of their Ultimate Purpose, Success versus Fulfilment and Happiness.
These topics come up regularly because some people find that they are incredibly successful in certain areas of their life, for example career and finances, and yet feel unfulfilled in others such as health and personal relationships.
In delving into this topic further, there is some great wisdom, direction and guidance from the field of positive psychology. Here we see the interrelatedness of these topics, and some practical steps towards finding the harmony that supports us to feel fulfilled and happily achieving in more areas of our life.
Martin Seligman the author of Flourish:, A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being suggests combining 5 Elements to create a life worth living
Positive Emotions - reframing our thoughts and focusing on areas with a more positive intention
Engagement - immersing ourselves in our activities
Relationships - nurturing and developing quality connections with others
Connecting with a sense of meaning that comes from serving a purpose larger than yourself
Focusing on accomplishments - both short term and long term that both reward us regularly and have us working, and stretching us to keep growing
When these 5 areas are incorporated together, Seligman believes they help us achieve something greater than momentary or overall happiness. He suggests that they ultimately help us achieve an outcome that he refers to as Well-being
Another author in this field, Jonathan Haidt author of the Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, has a slightly different perspective. He argues that purpose and happiness are not necessarily found in positive emotions of momentary happiness. Or by focusing only on the happy memories of overall happiness. He suggests that the following 3 elements be considered
Develop the “right” relationship between yourself and others
Nurture and develop the relationship between yourself and meaningful work
Connect and invest yourself in an activity or a cause that is larger than yourself
Haidt suggests that once you have done this, it will ultimately allow a sense of purpose and meaning to emerge which may lead to the most genuine form of happiness available to you.
Researcher of positive psychology, Jordi Quoidbach P.H.D, after interviewing 37,000 people in 2014 introduced the concept of Emodiversity
Emodiverstiy is defined as experiencing a wide range range of emotions. This means that we allow ourselves to feel the full range of emotions that are experienced in life. This would apply to both positive or painful emotions and the idea being to experience the full range without trying to suppress anything. In his study, Haidt found that greater levels of emodiversity predicted higher overall levels of health and well-being.
So here is a summary of the above. We can use this as a guide to assist us succeed, feel fulfilled, and feel a greater level of happiness.
Finding activities, careers and endeavours that are meaningful to us.
Fully Immersing ourselves in these meaningful areas.
Nurturing quality connections and relationships with others.
Allowing ourselves to experience a full range of emotions and not suppressing emotions that are uncomfortable.
Finding a healthy process or strategy to deal with these emotions that are painful or uncomfortable will improve our health, wellbeing and happiness.
Avoid suppressing any one emotion, because in doing this you are numbing yourself to all the possible emotions.
1. Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being
Author Martin Seligman
2. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
Author Jonathan Haidt
3. Jordi Quoidbach P.H.D https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25285428
Blog by Jim Karagiannis