Positive Psychology is not specifically the study of happiness, although happiness is a concept that we are all familiar with, it is the study of what makes life worth living. There are examples throughout history of people overcoming the most difficult of circumstances, perhaps the greatest example of this for me comes through in the writing of Viktor Frankl, a man who’s now very famous story shows how he survived the Concentration Camps of Nazi Germany and emerged a better man who was able to go on and contribute to the world. Refusing to be victimized by his experience, he found the meaning in his experience. Everything begins as a thought, and it is this idea that has become the focus of my life in recent times. How can I be more masterful of my thoughts and therefore be happier.
I am by the way a happy person in general, I have a family that I love and who love me, I have work that I find valuable and challenging, and I have access to resources that stimulate me, including the physical environment of British Columbia Canada where I live.
As a therapist working in mental health I was taken by the writings of Epictetus, the Stoic Philosopher, who said that “Men are disturbed not by things which happen, but by the opinions about the things” or simply it’s not what happens to us that causes us problems, its what we think about those things. Epictetus might be the worlds first self-help guru…..
Epictetus also pointed out that change is inevitable, and I am changing at this time, my thoughts have changed as I have been exposed to the Positive Psychology framework, although saying that I was not blind it previously, I just hadn’t found the framework. I’m not a slow learner, but I certainly missed the start of the movement. I am also keeping my dreams alive and I will be exploring my world of possibilities in future posts.
But for now it’s Valentines day and I’m going for lunch with my darling wife.