Habits of happy, flourishing people

happiness quotesAfter continous self-reflection over the course of many years, trying to figure out my life and my place in this crazy/wonderful world, I guess my one ultimate goal in life can be summed up quite simply - TO LIVE WELL. To slightly expand - this means aiming to lead a (mostly) happy, healthy, flourishing life - where improving well-being (of myself and those around) is key. Everything is a means to this end. It's a work in progress, so by no means do I want to come as preachy and all knowing, but I'm constantly trying to learn about what contributes to Living Well (I guess this will be a lifelong journey). For anyone learning about what contributes to happiness, then the area of Positive Psychology is a good area to explore. I've read quite a few books and articles on the subject of Positive Psychology (and perhaps more importantly reflected on the evidence of my own experiences), and there are a lot of tips out there which are based on solid scientific research to help improve our happiness & well-being, lead flourishing lives and ultimately Live Well. I try to apply these tips to my own life and I'd like to share my findings in this article as best as I can... 

'Flow' & increasing enjoyment of life

For anyone interested if improving their enjoyment of life - then you need to understand what the mental state called 'flow' is all about - and look at how you can get more of it in your life. Without knowing the actual term for it, most of us do experience 'flow' to a greater or lesser extent, and probably some of our favourite and enjoyable hobbies are carried out whilst in a state of 'flow'. So what is flow? Wkipedia sums it up pretty well below:

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields and it is shown that time spent in flow makes our lives more happy and successful.

Self-Determination Theory & Well-being

I recently came across 'Self-Determination theory', which basically proposes that we all share 3 core psychological needs which are essential to our motivation and behaving in effective & healthy ways. Therefore these 3 core psychological needs are also essential to our quality of life & well-being.

These 3 core psychological needs are:
1. Autonomy (feeling in control over what we do)2. Competence (feeling effective at what we do)3. Relatedness (feeling connected with others)

Life mission statement.

The importance of having direction in your life:

I'd been thinking for a long time about my life and it's purpose, (if any!), and came to understand that those who have a clear life purpose or clear goals in life, tend to be more likely to excel and achieve those goals (maybe because if a goal is clearly defined, then it's easier to figure out a way to achieve those goals?) I guess for a long time in my youth, my goals in life where kind of vague and not well-defined, and always shifting. I can put this down to not knowing enough about my self and my values due to lack of life experience - and it's very understandable really.  Only as I approached the ripe age of 30 did I think I knew enough about myself, my values and the world around to actually start and formulate some defined goals that have a good foundation, and it helped a lot in becoming clearer in my head about where i was going in my life. I consequently wrote those goals down - and as a result I was able to spend my relatively limited time focusing more in life on things which contributed to my goals and spend less time on things that I guess didn't really enrich my life in a meaningful way.

Improving Job Satisfaction

Well-being and work - and what contributes to happiness at work

As I've became a lot more interested in the area of well-being, and indeed improving my own well-being - then an important area to consider is work, after all those of us who do work spend the majority of our waking hours mon-fri at work!

So if we don't enjoy our job - then it follows on that we don't enjoy a big chunk of our waking life! But if we look to improve our well-being at work then we can improve our lives.

This article looks at how we can improve our well-being through our work.