Everyone wants to be happy. You are more productive, develop stronger relationships, are more resilient, feel better about yourself, uplift those around you, become healthier, and so on when you are happy. Martin Seligman, the creator of the Positive Psychology movement, wrote Authentic Happiness, a book about the science of happiness. Positive psychology is a very recent field of psychology, dating back only roughly 20 years. It is, at its core, the study of human happiness. It is the scientific study of positive human functioning and flourishing on numerous levels, including biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global dimensions of existence, according to Martin Seligman. Authentic Happiness was one of the first books to discuss this new science and show us how to apply it in our own lives to reach our full potential for long-term happiness. It explains why happiness is important, what factors influence it, and how to cultivate more of it in our lives.
Most people are surprised to learn that circumstances have such little bearing on happiness. After all, most of us try to achieve pleasure by altering our circumstances: earning a job promotion, relocating to a new city, getting a raise, purchasing a bigger house, driving a faster car, getting married, getting divorced, having children, or losing weight. According to research, none of these factors have a significant impact on happiness. Furthermore, changing circumstances is either impossible or extremely difficult. There is, thankfully, a better way to go about increasing your happiness.
The key to happiness is changing elements under your voluntary control—actions you take and thoughts you think—rather than changing your genes (which is impossible) or changing your environment (which has little impact and is typically impractical, if not impossible). Seligman categorizes the variables under your voluntary control into three categories:
Variables that improve how we feel about the past- You can achieve feelings of pleasure, happiness, fulfillment, pride, and tranquility by recognizing the positive experiences in your past and forgiving yourself and others for the negative occurrences.
Variables that improve how we feel about the future- You can cultivate feelings of faith, trust, confidence, hope, and optimism by learning to think in more optimistic and hopeful ways.
Variables that improve how we feel in the present- You can experience feelings of joy, ecstasy, tranquility, zest, ebullience, pleasure, and flow by increasing the happiness you obtain from transient pleasures and engaging in flow activities.
Good feelings concerning the past, future, or present are all distinct and not always linked. It's perfectly feasible to be content in one sense yet unhappy in the other two. For example, you may be satisfied and proud of your past accomplishments but glum about the present and gloomy about the future. Alternatively, you may have many delights in the now, but feel resentful of the past and pessimistic about the future. You can design your own happiness-inducing routine based on your personal skills and weaknesses. If you're carrying grudges against the past and it's making you unhappy, it's something you should consider addressing. If you're worried about the future, you could try engaging in activities that have been proven to increase optimism. Feeling glad about all three aspects of the past, future, and present leads to the maximum level of enduring happiness.