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December 27, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Summary of Research Work on Happiness and the Meaning of Life

There has been a great deal written about the good life and happiness. I would certainly echo much said by Keinosuke Johan Miyanaga whose methodology or framework is quite helpful. I might integrate some of the pyschology of happiness into my thinking. Following the work of Aristotle and Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania–the the branch of Positive Psychology has studied and integrated much of the work on well-being & happiness:

• Character & Virtue
• Growth mindset versus static one (this includes a mindset of learning and curiosity as well)
• Self control & grit (short term versus long term choices)
• Positive relationships with friends and family
• Meaningful work (ie values & impact)
• Giving and serving
• Gratitude (reflection on what you or we have to be thankful for)
• Reflection (along with some Emotional intelligence skills)
• Resilience

The quick summary would be the acronym PERMA:

• Positive emotion
(Of which happiness and life satisfaction are all aspects)
• Engagement
• Relationships
• Meaning and purpose
• Accomplishment

Source: Using the new Positive Psychology

This is a short list of publications in the field:

• Readings in Positive Psychology

You can learn more here:

• Using the new Positive Psychology
• Positive Psychology News Daily

* Positive Psychology Daily is written and edited Seligman’s former students from the University of Pennsylania’s Masters Program in Positive Psychology or MAPP.

Update: For those interested in the meaning question, the folks at Berkeley on this project have done some pretty extensive research and aggregation of some of the leading research on this question here.

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