Happiness by Design by Patricia Doyle
In my exploration on retirement transition, I found myself delving into positive psychology. Positive psychology is the science behind happiness. I have always lived under the premise of something will happen either by design or by default. You can either plan for it and design it, or it will just happen without your mark on it. Either way, you will live with it. So if I wanted happiness to be part of my future life, I needed to think about designing happiness into my life plan.
It was very exciting to me to see that happiness was linked to aspects of the self-reflection that were encouraged as part of retirement transitioning. Almost every retirement book encourages you to understand your values and strengths as you contemplate what’s next in retirement.
Happiness theory indicates that when activities we engage in are connected to our interests, they provide a Level 1 kind of happiness – a feeling of pleasure, fun and enjoyment. These fun activities are secure and comfortable, help us simply enjoy life and spend time with others in pleasurable ways.
When activities we engage in are also connected to our strengths, skills or talents then they provide a higher degree of happiness, a Level 2 intensity of happiness. Using our strengths in a personally rewarding way creates feelings of engagement, involvement, challenge and accomplishment and raises the happiness level.
Level 3 happiness is when activities we engage in are also linked to our core values and help us feel part of something bigger. This higher intensity of happiness is often called life meaning, purpose or fulfillment.
This happiness by design approach is helping me to chose the activities and pursuits to fill my calendar. There are so many things I could do. I am choosing to try things that not only link to my interests, but also utilize my strengths and reflect my values. Designing happiness into my daily life.
By Patricia Doyle