Making Happiness Happen

by Psyguy on February 25, 2010 · 11 comments

in happiness

Ever wondered how you can become happier? Research shows that each of us can make happiness happen more often in our lives. Here’s how:

Set aside thirty minutes to reflect back on the times in your life when you felt you were operating at your strongest and best. Make a list of what you believe are your top five strengths. (If you are having trouble making up a list of your strengths then go to and take the VIA-Signature Strengths Questionnaire. Once you have completed the questionnaire then print out your top five strengths.)  Next to each of your five strengths write down the times, events, people, and memories that tend to amplify those strengths for you.

During the next five days commit to displaying at least one of your strengths each day in an engaged and meaningful way. For instance, if your strength is competitiveness, challenge someone to a contest; if your strength is appreciation of beauty and excellence take a sunrise walk; if your strength is love of learning, sit in on a lunchtime lecture; if your strength is a capacity to love and be loved, tell someone you love them; if your strength is feeling gratitude, write and deliver a note of thanks and gratefulness to someone who wouldn’t expect you to do so.

As you are practicing this exercise keep asking yourself, am I happier? Is my life more pleasant, engaged and meaningful when I’m focused on one of my five strengths? Let us know how making happiness happen goes for you.

Similar Calgary Psychologists News:

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  4. Opening one’s self to Happiness
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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Clifford Wessel March 3, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Dan thanks for sharing your insights and resources. Although simple on one level, making sure we express at least one strength every day is a wonderful reminder that we can affect the positive quality and experience of every moment. Thanks!

2 Clifford Wessel March 3, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Dan, I have a question. I am familiar with unhappiness and happiness and the different shades of both, however, there are times when I feel something that seems to go beyond the continuum of happiness and unhappiness. As state where happiness seems irrelevant. I by this I don’t mean to denigrate happiness, quite to the contrary. However, the state very much feels like it both “transcends and includes” happiness. Do you have any comments or insights you would like to share?

3 Psyguy March 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Hi Clifford, Yes, I know what you mean. The field of positive psychology describes those feelings of going beyond with the term – the engaged life. The flow-like states of the engaged life come about when one is operating at their highest capacities in response to a challenge that calls forth those capacities. Often when one experiences the engaged life time seems to stand still and they feel in-sync and connected. Check out the survey called Approaches to Happiness at,, to see how much of the engaged life you are living.

4 Dr. Sarah Eaton March 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Well said, Dr. Dan. I enjoy your clarity and practical approach. I will visit again soon.

5 Michael March 18, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I was very curious to explore my strengths via the web site ( BUT the link did not work. Please check it and let me know if there is another web address to use…Thanks!

6 Sandy Joyce March 19, 2010 at 1:50 am

The Dalai Lama said ‘The purpose of our lives is to be happy’. I think we are conditioned to believe that life needs to be a struggle and that through our struggles comes some sort of contentment from our martyr-ism. Happiness is like a muscle that needs to be exercised by practicing gratitude. I love your happiness exercise. It feels good to get a workout…

7 Psyguy March 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Yes, yes, Sandy. It’s good to hear that you are living the happiness workout by doing “reps and sets” of gratitude. Stay in touch and let us know how your sculpting of self progresses.

8 Psyguy March 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Dear Michael, thank you for your patience and for pointing out the failed link. You can do the VIA strengths test here:
If you’re so inclined drop me a line about how “strong” you come out after doing the survey.

9 Psyguy March 19, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Looking forward to your future visits and insights, Sarah.

10 Psyguy March 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Hello Clifford, you’ve “nailed it”, by focusing on our signature strengths we can achieve Seligman’s “learned optimism” and happiness happens!

11 Psyguy March 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Clifford, it sounds like you’ve got a great transcendant practice in the works. Some would say that beyond happiness lies Bliss, and perhaps that Bliss opens into the nonduality that is called, Spirit. Resonate?

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