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Moving from happiness to well-being

June 24, 2011

A Great Idea …

“The belief that we can rely on shortcuts to happiness, joy, rapture, comfort, and ecstasy, rather than be entitled to these feelings by the exercise of personal strengths and virtues, leads to legions of people who in the middle of great wealth are starving spiritually. Positive emotions alienated from the exercise of character leads to emptiness, to inauthenticity, to depression, and, as we age, to the gnawing realization that we are fidgeting until we die.” (Psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman in his book, Authentic Happiness, p. 8)

In Other Words …

It is great to build a good mood by appreciating the good things in your life. But there is more. It is not enough to feel good; we must do good. Seligman identified two ways to add meaningful accomplishment on top of good mood: use our strengths to complete a task and practice virtue. According to Seligman, the six major virtues are wisdom and knowledge, courage, love and humanity, justice, temperance, and spirituality and transcendence.

How This Applies to You …

Look for opportunities to use your strengths and practice your virtues. Look around you. Do you see a task that is begging for your unique strengths? Do you see challenges that might be tamed by appropriate use of the virtues? More information about your strengths can be found at www.authentichappiness.org.

To Find Out More …

For excellent (and free!) programs on improving your personal well being, check out The Personal Journey and Managing Stress at www.arfamilies.org.

For more information, we recommend Authentic Happiness by Martin E. P. Seligman.

One Comment
  1. June 25, 2011 10:30 am

    Thanks on article about well being. I dont seem to be tracking down any thing that needs my wisdim or virtue is just my husband trying to annoy me, he even choosed not to do any thing about our fifth year anniversy and I did make several suggestoin in a very charm sencible manner. He seems to be sucking all strength away from me to draw attention to himself. Dont know what to do.

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