“Think about what will bring you happiness and make your choice” asked during his lecture “The Surprising Science of Happiness” prof. Daniel Gilbert, one of the promoters of positive psychology, a popular, though very fresh current in modern psychology. “Imagine two variants of your further life. The first one: you win the lottery, the second: you are completely paralyzed. What would make you more happy?”

The question seems bizarre. We might expect lottery winners to be much happier than paraplegics but, to our surprise, they were only slightly more happy. It turns out that this is not about choosing a situation objectively giving more happiness, but about whether the event is fortunate from the perspective of the subject. “Each of us has a psychological immune system that allows us to produce happiness from the available resources, regardless of whether our situation is objectively beneficial or not. We synthesize happiness” – says prof. Gilbert.

“Natural happiness is when we get what we want. Synthetic happiness we create ourselves when we don’t get what we want, from available resources” – explains prof. Gilbert. Instead of looking for happiness, positive psychology proposes to start synthesizing it. And that’s a skill that anyone can practice. One of the benefits of practicing a positive psychological outlook is, to put it broadly, success! Not only does success make us happier, feeling happy and experiencing positive emotions, but it actually increases our chances of success.

How to practice positive psychology?

  • Experience gratitude and learn to express it.
  • Practice goodness in everyday life by sharing kindness.
  • Give yourself pleasure, celebrate the moment – keep good moments in your memory as photographs to come back to.
  • Thank all those who really helped you.
  • Learn how to forgive – it makes life easier.
  • Take care of close friendships and family relationships, because happiness depends heavily on positive relationships with others.
  • Treat your body with tenderness – rest, exercise, smile.
  • Learn and practice new strategies for coping with stress.

Sources:
https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_the_surprising_science_of_happiness/transcript?language=en
https://blog.ted.com/ten-years-later-dan-gilbert-on-life-after-the-surprising-science-of-happiness/
https://positivepsychology.com/what-is-positive-psychology-definition/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/positive_psychology_in_practice
https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/