I have another blog on my bubbewisdom website called The Container Project where I discussed the very powerful twenty-four character strengths and virtues created by Peterson and Seligman. These all-important strengths led me to the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania that studies how individuals and communities thrive. Through their research, Positive Psychology has found three factors that enable people to live happy lives.

The first of these is having a pleasant life with skills filtered by using a positive emotion lens to amplify experiences. The drawback with this factor is that it is 50% heritable, it is not malleable and it habituates, which means the more you use it the less you appreciate it.

The second is life engagement where one is capable of flow where time stops through intense concentration. Life engagement is obtained by knowing one’s highest strengths and recrafting life to make use of them in all facets of love, work, and play.

The third is a meaningful life where one knows her strengths and uses them in the service of something greater than self.

The movement has developed many positive interventions designed to help us actually increase our happiness. There is a complete website dedicated to authentic happiness. Register for free and fill out the well-being questionnaire and then any of the others that interest you.

Seligman suggests some activities that will help zero in on happiness. One is to design, plan and enact a purposeful beautiful day with all of the ingredients that make you happy. A second is a gratitude visit where you select a living person who has done something important and meaningful you, write a testimony to them and go to them wherever they are and read it to them. Another is a strength date where you and your partner design a night that includes not only one but both of your happiness strengths. Finally, plan two events one simply for fun and one that includes something altruistic and compare the experiences.

It is clear that a full life contains all of the factors of happiness where the sum is greater than any of its parts. That is why I’m excited to read Dr. Seligman’s newest work Flourish that moves through the simple arena of happiness to the complex world of well being. It’s another step forward in bubbewisdom.

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