Positive Psychology - How to assess your level of happiness and well-being

I recently attended the Evolution of Psychotherapy conference from Dec. 10-15, 2013 in Anaheim, California.  It is the largest gathering of psychotherapists (approximately 8,000 attendees) in the world, it's only held every four years, and is essentially the ‘Olympics’ of the psychological world.  The depth and breadth of the world-class presenters was inspiring.  One of the keynote speeches was by Dr. Martin Seligman the founder of the field of Positive Psychology. 

Positive psychology refers to the psychological tools, interventions and research which goes beyond just looking at psychological dysfunction.  It aims to provide people with psychological strategies and concepts with which to achieve their potential, as well as, a greater sense of happiness, contentment and fulfillment in life. 

Dr. Seligman presented updates on the state of the research in positive psychology and some of his new research at the University of Pennsylvania.  He has an interesting concept called PERMA – which stands for Positive emotions, Engagement, positive Relationships, Meaning & Accomplishment.  It is his latest research attempt to measure important factors which contribute to over-all well-being. 

In fact, you can participate in Dr. Seligman’s research at the U of Penn as they are always looking for more online volunteers.  You can take questionnaires which assess various aspects of your well-being – e.g., happiness, gratitude, optimism, work-life satisfaction, forgiveness, compassion, etc. – and see your results compared to others, while contributing to the ongoing research.  You can find the questionnaires and more information on Positive psychology at the UPenn website here.

Happiness depends upon ourselves ~ Aristotle


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