Positive Psychology: Happiness and Flow States

positive psychology

Experts have found that people often guess wrong about what will bring them happiness

As Kay Cahill Allison explains in her article, “The Power of Positve Psychology: Finding Happiness in a Cold Ocean Stream” (featured on Harvard’s Health Blog), experts have found that people often guess wrong about what will bring them happiness. However, the latest edition of Positive Psychology¬†outlines a number of things that do make people happy – including ‘flow’ states. According to Allison, “To experience flow is to achieve a state of intense absorption in which you lose awareness of time.” (The author gives an example of swimming in “painfully cold” water – an experience that, surprisingly, felt “exhilarating” and left her feeling incredibly happy). Allison’s article also discusses the health value of happiness, citing a 2008 review by Dutch sociologist Ruut Veenhoven that found that happiness appears to protect against illness (the most satisifed of the research participants lived 7.5 – 10 years longer than their less satisfied peers).

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