Did you know there’s a branch of psychology that studies happiness? Somewhere along the way (1990’s?), a guy named Martin Seligman (at the University of Pennsylvania) finally noticed that studying mental illness was not the same as studying happiness — and a whole new branch was born!
In one of his recent books, Flourish, he uses the acronym PERMA to help us understand what research tells us about being happy. Five different aspects of human happiness:
In this discussion, we won’t go all academic but rather share our experiences of where happiness lies for us these days (in the PERMA factors or elsewhere). If you can, bring a story of some abiding experience, habit, or practice that contributes to your happiness (in a paragraph or two).
Research tells us that older humans (more than younger people) can and do feel both happiness and loss/grief simultaneously. Some people actually flourish and find deeper meaning after difficulty and loss. Marilee will share a brief excerpt from one book that helped her through tough times: Bouncing Forward: Transforming Bad Breaks into Breakthroughs, by Michaela Haas. It is possible to see that difficulties, too, can lead to another kind of happiness.