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Can We Create Happiness?

A colleague asked an important question: What is happiness and is it important to be happy? Although a range of sociocultural, spiritual, and religious definitions of happiness exist, I would like to turn to the rapidly growing field of Positive Psychology for some answers. Dr. Martin Seligman (University of Pennsylvania), the founding father of Positive Psychology, and late Dr. Christopher Peterson (University of Michigan) proposed extensive theories that espouse optimism, enhanced mental health, and positive outcomes based on perception, cognition, and choices. Research within Positive Psychology focuses on optimal progress, significant improvement, and unique characteristics of individuals, communities, and societies that foster thriving. The Positive Psychology Institute suggests that the four major aims of Positive Psychology are: • “Rise to life’s challenges, make most of setbacks and adversity. •  Engage and relate to other people. •  Find fulfillment in creativity and productivity. •  Look beyond oneself and help others to find lasting meaning,     satisfaction, and wisdom.” The existing and ongoing research continues to demonstrate that practicing Positive Psychology can enhance mood, positive emotions, mental health, life satisfaction, and motivation in adults, teenagers, and children. There are many tips and tools easily available today about practicing Positive Psychology on a daily basis to help you thrive, such as presented in the article by Psychology Today. Some excellent readings to learn more about Positive Psychology include:

Stephen, J. (2015). Positive Psychology In Practice

Christopher, P. (2012). Pursuing The Good Life. For further tips and tools on enhancing your life, your children’s lives, and your family life, please visit: Aspiring Families: Resources