Happiness can be described as a bottom-up and top-down process. The bottom-up approach implies that happiness depends on a combination of positive and negative feelings and the positive effect does not correspond to the negative effect and any correlation between them is merely moderate. Consequently, the top-down approach explains happiness as a result of a subjective evaluation of an individual's life experiences or their satisfaction with life (Medvedev & Landhuis, 2018). Happiness is a state of well-being and contentment that can be achieved by increasing pleasure and decreasing pain (Tamir et al., 2017). It involves maximizing pleasant emotions and minimizing unpleasant emotions. Aristotle stated that "feeling emotions that are consistent with one's values feels right, and this right feeling translated to greater happiness." Evaluation and judgment of oneself with regards to various aspects of their life, i.e., health, marriage, professional life, etc. signifies their cognitive aspect of happiness (Dogan, Totan & Sapmaz, 2013).
I have learnt to apply the concepts of happiness and well-being in my daily life, and I'm becoming better at that. I establish a sense of wellness through my thoughts and feelings towards various aspects of my life. The subjective well-being has helped to achieve satisfaction in my life, marriage, a job as well as other vital domains of my life such as health. It also helps to establish positive feelings and experiences that include pleasure, contentment, enjoyment, and love that form vital ingredients of happiness and reduces the levels of fear, anger, and depression (Diener & Tay, 2012). The experience brought about by happiness results in a pleasant feeling most of the time and brings about the thoughts of a life that is going well and in congruent with my evaluation.
Part of the major contributors to a happy living or well-being is the understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledgment of these issues helps me to focus on my strengths and less on my weaknesses to create a fulfilling life. As Buckingham & Clifton (2001) say, "The real tragedy of life is not that each of us doesn't have enough strengths, it is that we fail to use the ones we have" and this contributes highly to less satisfaction in whatever we engage in. Peter Drucker (a renowned psychologist) also acknowledges that only when one operates from their strengths then they can achieve true excellence and no performance can be built on weaknesses.
Personal strengths provide a natural capacity to behave, think or even feel in a certain manner that allows for optimal functioning and performance while pursuing specified and valued outcomes. People who understand their strengths regularly experience less stress and depression, and this constitutes happiness that translates to greater well-being. I went through self-reflection and exploration to spot my strengths and establish ways of capitalizing on them. I identified them using the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire by analyzing events such as what I leaned easily or enjoyed doing, what I do when I feel most comfortable and at ease with myself and the various aspect of my life that I'm most proud of. I am creative, curious and open-minded and love learning. I am brave and persistent with what I want. I cherish love and kindness and understand its role in building the family and the society at large. All the above help to design the virtues that contribute to happy living.
However, I might not be good at all the virtues, and in one way or another, I need to work on improving some aspects to ensure my overall growth towards achieving happiness. I need to check on some aspects that might contribute to negative affectivity. I always experience high levels of anxiety, distress, and dissatisfaction when I fail to achieve my target goals. More focus on such emotions during downtimes would easily result in high levels of negative affectivity trait that is a dominant personality factor of neuroticism or anxiety. It focuses on the unpleasant aspects of oneself, the world, the future, and other people while evoking additional negative events in life. It goes along with the eudemonic view that suggests that happiness lies in the actualization of human potential or fulfillment of one's true nature (Kirkland, 2015).
These demeaning thoughts and feelings are due to the human actions that are always accompanied by specific moods and emotions, i.e. the feeling of happiness when given a gift or achieve a certain goal and the feeling of anger and frustration when one fails to achieve the specific goals or is negatively affected by an occurrence. However, intense emotional experience has an impact on one's conscious control and behavior (Rigoni, Demanet & Sartori, 2015). If not put under control, the negative affect would easily transform into a broad range of negative feelings that include self-criticisms, worries, anxiety, negative self-view, anger, contempt disgust, guilt and fear among others. My action implications towards controlling issues that result in negative affectivity include:
Identification of the triggers of negative affect and how I should respond and train myself to respond to them oppositely. In this case, a stimulus that trigger anxiety I train them to relax.
Address the problem through avoidance via exposure, i.e. learning via contact with the feared stimuli to produce an adaptive and habitual response (Henriques, 2013).
The Vision for the Future (2021)
I'm a mental health professional and licensed psychologist in a non-governmental organization. I am a health care practitioner and a community service provider that offers community services to improve an individual's mental health as well as treat any mental disorders. This is because of the love I have for community development.
I have a doctorate in Psychology from Monash University. I'm open-minded and love learning a lot to come up with innovative ways of handling various issues that come along my way and in line with my profession.
I am in a proper health condition with a normal functioning body. The psychological strengths of open-mindedness, love, kindness, forgiveness, self-control, humor and spirituality among others contribute significantly to a sound body and health condition since they are positive contributors to happiness and sound mental state.
I am in a good financial position. The income I get in the form of salary can cater to my personal needs, the needs of the family and any other recreational programs. I cannot miss some amount to give out to charity or be a blessing to someone. Such acts play a vital role in the psychological and mental growth and treatment. I also run a mental health clinic that provides psychological solutions to my clients at affordable prices providing me with some passive income while giving me an opportunity to train my employees.
My family is in a cohesive state that is bonded with love. As a family, we have grown the embedded the character of openness among us. Every member feels free to speak out their mind when they are troubled by anything, to enable participation of other family members and establishment of a conclusive solution to the problem. This prevents stress, anxiety and other effects that would result in negative affect and encourages brevity and love while providing room for emotional guidance that would enhance positive affect, necessary for psychological development.
I have well-established social relationships. I have proper working relationships with my co-workers, the management of the organization, my family, friends, and clients in the community and employees in my community health clinic. Integrity, love, kindness, fairness, proper leadership, humility, self-control, forgiveness, and mercy, gratitude and humor are all ingredients to establishing proper and long lasting social relationships that are beneficial to us as individuals and the community at large. They help to establish strong bonds of connection that help in strengthening social relationships.
Spiritual relationships and growth
I believe in the existence of God and have a good spiritual relationship with the deity, the community. Good social relationships provide ingredients for the establishment of the efficient spiritual connection. The developed strengths help to establish strong virtues of wisdom and knowledge, love and humanity, justice, spirituality and transcendence that enhance spiritual growth.
Recreational and leisure
I have enough time for recreation and leisure. This includes doing what I love to do during my free time that includes playing the guitar, having enough time for fun activities with my family, workmates, and employees in my mental health clinic.
The action plan involves strategies that would enhance more happiness and reduce the effects of failure and negative affect. Happiness is something that can be cultivated with practice (Newman, 2016).
Desired Outcome Actions Resources Timeframe Measure
- Feeling of happiness. Acknowledge the good. A journal record of the positive happenings of meaningful events in my life. Daily records for a month. Personal records of good events.
- Add happiness through subtraction. Mental subtraction of positive events. Record of positive things, thoughts of the conditions that made it possible and how things could have turned out differently. Monthly periods. Alternatives of how things could have turned if they didn't go through positively and my perceptions about them.
- Finding meaning and purpose. Creating and recalling positive events that remind me that pleasure isn't the only path to success. Sources of meaning in my life, i.e. my childhood memories, my hobbies, favorite sports, etc. Monthly period. A proper understanding of the meaning and purpose of events, whether positive or negative.
- Identifying and utilizing my strengths. Putting more time and attention to my strengths and positive attributes. My strengths of character, creativity, perseverance to humility and kindness. Weekly period. A Proper understanding of my strengths and how I can utilize them to overcome negative affects.
- Connect with others. Sharing my insights, thoughts, and feelings with others to help me get over the problem. Good relationships and proper social connections with friends, spouse and family among others. Daily period. My relationship with others, i.e. friends, families, and workmates in the event of failure and the resulting negative affect.
Dainer, E., & Tay, L. (2012). A Scientific Review of the Remarkable Benefits of Happiness for Successful and Healthy Living [Ebook] (pp. 1-29). Monash University /Southern Health. Retrieved from http://A Scientific Review of the Remarkable Benefits of Happiness for Successful and Healthy Living
Dogan, T., Totan, T. & Sapmaz, P. (2013). The role of self-esteem, psychological well - being, emotional self - efficacy, and affect balance on happiness: a path model. Eujournal.org. Retrieved 2 October 2018, from https://eujournal.org/index.php/esj/article/viewFile/1559/1565
Henriques, G. (2013). Negative Affect Syndrome. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/theory-knowledge/201308/negative-affect-syndrome
Kirkland, T. (2015). Relationships Between Positive and Negative Affect in Happiness and Hypomania Risk [Ebook] (pp. 1-165). Ohio State University. Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/!etd.send_file?accession=osu1435925962&disposition=inline
Lu, L., & Shi, J. (2014). Sources of Happiness: A Qualitative Approach. Retrieved from http://web.ba.ntu.edu.tw/luolu/Sources%20of%20happiness%20_%20A%20qua...
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