Smart Alek: I have been working very hard lately. Soon I will have my great reward.
Aleks Psych: What will that be?
Smart Alek: I will never work again.
Aleks Psych: What will you do if you do not work?
Smart Alek: What else, expect everyone else to look after me and vehemently complain if they try to stop! Their frustration and pain will be my ultimate pleasure.
All positive psychology practitioners agree that one crucial aspect in the psychology of what makes people happy is the development of pleasure. The seeking of pleasure underlines everything that we do. Even when we decide to do an activity that we know will not be pleasurable in the short term, we do it in the hope of it leading to an eventual outcome that will be pleasurable.
The research into how to become a happy person has shown that the pleasurable feelings and things that make people happy in the short term are not the most important factors in living a fulfilling life. Having a life filled only with pleasurable activities will not sustain most people as we need to have a greater sense of purpose that is effortful and aimed at benefiting others. I will address these issues in other articles. However, becoming a martyr is not how to become a happy person either. A life with little to no pleasure will lead to burn out.
When it comes to the psychology of happiness, learning how to become a happy person requires you to understand and develop the activities that you find the most pleasurable and know how to use them in order to increase the quality of your life. I have broken up the pleasurable things that make people happy into 2 categories, they are Regular Pleasures and Reward Pleasures. In daily life, it is important to have a few standard pleasures that are practiced regularly to make life enjoyable but in order to pull yourself towards growing as a person and achieving your greater goals, you need to create reward pleasures that you can only receive once you have earned them.
One of the flaws in the common psychology of what makes people happy in modern life, is many people are so used to immediate gratification that they will never obtain the full pleasurable feeling that comes from a reward that they have worked to earn. Compared to previous generations, luxury item debts are ludicrously high, and yet current generations are not happier. That is because the novelty of a fancy toy or experience that you did not work hard to obtain wears off quite quickly. You can not live a non challenging lifestyle and expect to feel intense pleasure. However, if your toy or experience is an honest and fair reward based on what you have accomplished, the potential pleasure of that reward once obtained is considerably greater.
When I decided to become a life skill coach and began work on my coaching program ‘Fulfilling Happiness’ one thing I really wanted was a motorcycle. However, I did not buy one. Instead I decided to make it my reward for when the program is completed. I can afford a motorcycle, especially when considering all I am seeking is an older bike that I can learn on. But I knew if I bought one, I would spend too much time on it learning and it would distract me from a more important and meaningful goal. That is why at the time of this article, I am still without a motorcycle as ‘Fulfilling Happiness’ is almost, but not quite complete. But that is ok, because in a short time it will be complete, and I will savour every moment of my sweet 100% deserved, completely guilt-free ride.
Positive Psychology: What makes people happy? Exercise: Write out a list of your current regular pleasures. (E.g. TV shows, social engagements, sports, reading, hobbies, creative pursuits etc) in your life and your larger pleasures (E.g. New products, holidays, special events etc). Then rank your regular pleasures in order of importance and plan how you could increase the time you spend on your favourites and decrease the time spent on ones that are not that enjoyable. With your larger pleasures, write down what important activities you need to accomplish first (and within what time frame) before rewarding yourself with them.
Aleks Srbinoski is a Clinical and Coaching Psychologist, Company Consultant, Creative Writer and Author, Humorist and Inspirational Motivational Speaker.
He is the Director of Aleks inPsychology, a self-development training company with a mission to guide as many people as possible towards a life of Fulfilling Happiness. His diverse range of professional and personal experiences demonstrate a love for serving people through his extensive Psychology, Creativity and Self Development experience.
Find out more about more about Aleks’ highly entertaining, informative, inspiring and comprehensive life skill coaching program Fulfilling Happiness: Preventing clinical anxiety, depression and anger whilst surging towards an extraordinary and meaningful life. Go tohttp://www.fulfillinghappiness.com
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