Happiness - we all want it but how do we get it?
Up there with the meaning of life, it's one of humanity's most frequently posed questions. Most of us know that money, fast cars, big houses, designer clothes or a big-screen TV are not the answer, but how do we know what is?
'Happiness is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practised every day, while misery is simply a few errors of judgement and bad habits repeated every day.'
So says respected psychologist and author Dr Timothy Sharp. He is the founder (and Chief Happiness Officer!) of The Happiness Institute, Australia's only organisation focusing specifically on enhancing happiness in individuals, couples, families and organisations.
In a just-released new edition of The Happiness Handbook, Timothy Sharp introduces an interesting development of his happiness model. He brings together findings from the last few decades of positive psychology research and presents them in a way that's both practical and easy to remember. He says: 'Happiness is a decision we make every single minute, every hour, every day and ever week. There's nothing mystical or magical about happiness - rather, its something that we can all experience, or experience more of if we do the right sorts of things and make the right sort of choices. There's no doubt that happiness is something you choose - and this new model will help you make more decisions that will lead to more happiness.' This is his 'CHOOSE' happiness model in a nutshell:
C = Clarity (of life goals, direction and of purpose)
H = Healthy living (it's hard to be happy if you're literally sick and tired all the time)
O = Optimism (a positive attitude about yourself, your future and the world)
O = Others (including all of the important relationships in your life)
S = Strengths (making the most of your inherent qualities and attributes)
E = Enjoy the moment (including having fun, as well as being grateful and appreciative)
Timothy Sharp comments: 'This exciting approach, based on belief in self-determination, is one of the most exciting aspects of positive psychology. Traditionally, clinical psychologists focus a lot on weaknesses and problems. But positive psychology is taking a significantly different approach. Although still steeped in scientific, evidence-based theory and practice, the new positive psychology approach is essentially saying:
"Okay, we need to fix our faults and we can all improve in certain areas, but we also all have inherent strengths, qualities and attributes and the more we can use them, the better, happier and more successful we'll be as people." '
Come on - choose to be happy!
About the author:
Dr Timothy Sharp is a clinical and coaching psychologist. He is a speaker at the upcoming 2nd International Conference on Happiness & its Causes in Sydney, and founder of The Happiness Institute in Australia. Timothy Sharp, a consultant to many large organisations and hundreds of individual clients, has developed a range of simple but effective plans designed to increase people's happiness levels, and deliver life-changing results. He lives in Sydney.
Review: Find out what effects your happiness and the best way to get the most of life and enjoy the journey.
The Happiness Handbook: Strategies for a happy life, second edition
Author: Dr Timothy Sharp