Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Authentic Happiness & Positive Psychology

“Purpose is what gives life a meaning.”
 Charles H. Perkhurst

Research in Positive Psychology has shown there are three major components to enhancing your happiness and your life: Pleasure, Engagement and Meaning.

The Pleasurable Life

The more you increase and experience pleasure in life, the more happiness you'll feel during and immediately after these experiences. However, such positive feelings are short-lived. Think about relaxing in a warm bath, or enjoying a massage; in the middle of the experience, you are filled with relaxation and positive feelings. A day, week or a month later, the experience is merely a dim memory and doesn’t contribute to lasting feelings of happiness.

The Engaged Life

Engagement is about flow, absorption and gratification. Whenever you engage fully in an experience, with total involvement and concentration, you’ll usually find you are left feeling strong, alert, refreshed and invigorated. Indeed, research in Positive Psychology has shown that engagement and flow measurably increase levels of happiness and life satisfaction. The positive effects of engagement are not short-lived either. Flow builds psychological and emotional capital. It can bring exhilarating feelings of transcendence, and help dissolve emotional problems and challenges.

The Meaningful Life

Of all the components to happiness, meaning provides the longest lasting, strongest and most durable effect. By having a purpose that is bigger than yourself, by living a life of meaning and significance, you can measurably increase your levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Purpose and meaning are the paths to truly enhancing your life.

Using this knowledge

As you can see from the diagram above, to create an enhanced life of happiness and satisfaction, you need to focus on all three components of happiness. You need to put in place activities and processes that increase the amount of pleasure and engagement you experience. Most importantly though, these need to be underpinned with a foundation of meaning and purpose.

The outcome of this blog is to help you understand what this means and guide you in achieving this in your life, so stay posted and I'll continue sharing with you practical ideas and strategies from NLP and Positive Psychology for how to get more out of life.

great life enhancing wishes,


  1. Thank you, Grant! Once again, an important topic covered in your own clear and succinct way.

  2. Grant, I think this is my favorite post! I love the simplicity of the message. We are very much in alignment on opposite parts of the world.

    The pleasurable life;
    The engaged life;
    The meaningful life.

    Elegant and wise.

    Susan J Meyerott aka Lightarted Sue

  3. Should be taught to all teenagers - wisdom that might steer their career choices away from what their head tells them to where their heart leads them. A message for their parents too! As always Grant, great stuff!

  4. Hi Jean, Sue and Jan,

    Thanks everyone for your great comments! It _is_ such an important topic, and most people don't give it the focus and value it requires in their lives. I totally agree with Jan about balancing the messages from your heart, head and gut brains via a focus on meaning as well as flow and pleasure. The heart and gut brains are key in the connection to meaning and values.

    Once again, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful feedback, I truly do appreciate it.

    smiles, Grant

  5. The diagram gelps to explain rhe age old addage

    It is better to give than to receive.

    I enjoy and find more satisfaction from giving of my time and energy in service to others. This to me is more rewarding and meaningful.

  6. hi,
    m going to admit myself in ph.d course and i want to do something on existential issues among indian housewives.Is it a practical thought or not?please help me to formulate a little.


    1. Hi Anonymous, only you can determine if this is practical and life enhancing for yourself. If you have time, energy, passion and finances for doing a higher degree, then sure, I think knowledge and learning are incredibly life enhancing. However, you need to look at the cost/risk/benefits of any course of action in your life and ensure it fits with the ecology and outcomes/values you hold important for your self and life. And truly, only you can do that. What does your heart say? What does your head say? What does your gut say?

      Do an integrated mBraining decision process on the decision and you'll get the wisest answer from your own deep intuition. You can learn more about this at www.mbraining.com and in my book 'mBraining - Using your multiple brains to do cool stuff'. You can get a kindle version of the book for only a few dollars, it's very affordable so that anyone can get access to this knowledge.

      best wishes and smiles


Share your thoughts and comments...