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Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
What makes us happy?

I’m sure everyone wants to have as happy a life as possible, but what makes us happy? What things make us happy and how do we bring those things into our lives? In this very interesting TED talk Martin Seligman discuses pleasure, flow and meaning and the causes and effects of each. So get a cup of tea or coffee, click “play”, and invest 24 minutes of your time in learning how to make yourself happier.

Martin Seligman on positive psychology

Martin Seligman is the founder of positive psychology, a field of study that examines healthy states, such as happiness, strength of character and optimism.

Martin Seligman founded the field of positive psychology in 2000, and has devoted his career since then to furthering the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions. It's a fascinating field of study that had few empirical, scientific measures -- traditional clinical psychology focusing more on the repair of unhappy states than the propagation and nurturing of happy ones. In his pioneering work, Seligman directs the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, developing clinical tools and training the next generation of positive psychologists.

His earlier work focused on perhaps the opposite state: learned helplessness, in which a person feels he or she is powerless to change a situation that is, in fact, changeable. Seligman is an often-cited authority in this field as well -- in fact, his is the 13th most likely name to pop up in a general psych textbook. He was the leading consultant on a Consumer Reports study on long-term psychotherapy, and has developed several common pre-employment tests, including the Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ).

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

Thanks for posting Iain.

I can relate to that.  After retiring from a meaningful occupation it's been hard to replace that source of fulfiment with things from the pleasant or good categories.

Just bought the book on kindle.  Sun's shining on my outdoor reading area.  Life's good.


Mark Cook
Mark Cook's picture

I have always enjoyed Seligman's work. Another good source on the topic is Tal Ben-Shahar. His book "Happier" is an interesting and enjoyable read.