How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
16 Areas for Happiness
Michael Frisch, in his book Quality of Life Therapy: Applying a Life Satisfaction Approach to Positive Psychology and Cognitive Therapy describes sixteen areas, divided into four groups, in which we can find happiness.
Here is a brief discussion on each of these. Consider each and ask how you can practically boost your happiness in this area.
We all have fundamental drivers for which we have basic needs. The material and personal things that we have that satisfy needs can be called 'wealths'.
Unsurprisingly, health is the fundamental need. If you are sick, then everything else loses its appeal until you are better.
Money does not automatically make you happy, but it is a vehicle to provide you with things. After enough money for food and shelter, money becomes disposable and it is often better to spend it on experiences rather than more 'stuff'.
How you view yourself has a notable effect on your happiness. A surprising number of people, for example, believe they are no good and do not deserve happiness. If you can accept yourself as you are, then happiness will be much easier to find.
We find a lot of happiness through our social relationships and spending time here is often rewarding.
Love is a powerful way to happiness and unconditional love is perhaps the most powerful there is. When you love others, you get out of yourself, which is a great way to be happy.
Friends and social relationship, whether they are in person or online, are a steady source of happiness for many of us.
Family are even closer than friends, starting with the immediate family and spreading out to cousins and so on. We naturally feel close to our relatives and family literally does matter.
'Kin selection' is a powerful evolutionary force as evidenced by the saying that 'blood is thicker than water'.
There are also evolutionary forces that impel us to be kind and loving with children, especially our own. While teenagers can be troublesome, children are a primary source of happiness for parents.
Work and Retirement Pursuits
We spend a lot of time at work and it is surprising how happy we can be there as we engage in meaningful work and socialize with our colleagues.
Retiring can be alarming but it can also be liberating. When people cease normal work they seldom become active as they take up all kinds of other fulfilling activities, from hobbies to volunteering.
One of the first things we learn as children is the pleasure of play, a primitive joy in which other animals also indulge. Many of us keep playing as adults, whether it is in formal games like bridge and chess or other less structured fun.
There is great pleasure to be found in helping others, whether it is occasional niceness or more devoted service. As empathetic beings, we feel what others feel and helping them to feel good only multiplies this pleasure.
The evolutionary benefits of learning are significant and the brain makes sure we feel good when we make sense of something new. We may learn formally or look to learn in any of the situations in which we find ourselves most days.
Being creative is a real pleasure for most people. To make something out of nothing other than the imagination gives most people a real buzz. Again, it is surely good for evolution and has been a defining quality of our species.
We can also enjoy the creativity of others as we admire art and be inspired by the creative works around us.
Location, location, location. It is what home sellers and buyers know. The surroundings, whether it is the people next door or the natural greenery, has a significant impact on how we feel.
We all want a comfortable home where there is space for all our belongings and so we do not feel we are living on top of one another.
The neighborhood is the immediate environment outside the home, which can be threatening, supportive or just relaxing. Living in a nice vicinity where there are trees, parks and well-maintained other houses, makes us feel relaxed and happy.
And in the neighborhood are other people who may interact in supportive and friendly ways whereby we feel safe and able to turn to them when we are in need.