Episode 009: Happiness, Meaning and Positive Psychology

In this episode, Owen explores the theories around happiness, meaning and positive psychology.

What’s the point in life?

Two main answers: Meaning vs Happiness

Feeling good vs being good is how Aristotle put it 

Arristipus hedonism and aristotle eudaimonism: HEDONISTIC VS EUDAIMONIC

Stoic philosophers remain philosophical… against emotion

Hedonic well-being concerns emotional aspects of well-being, whereas psychological and social well-being, c.q eudaimonic well-being, concerns skills, abilities, and optimal functioning

Science of Happiness

The way that I like to understand happiness involves dividing it into three different types:

Pleasure: temporary good feelings that are physically satisfying

Contentment: An Eastern Philosophy of Happiness based on acceptance and appreciation.

Achievement: A Western Philosophy of Happiness based on achievement and success.

True happiness should balance all three of these.

Strategies for Happiness include suggestions from Lisa Feldman Barret, Positive Psychology, Mindfulness, CBT and NLP


We get meaning from the stories we tell ourselves 

Truth/Matrix/4 Agreements dream are all about these ‘stories’ or ‘realities’

The point of life

Victor Frankl’s great book Man’s search for meaning helps us understand this more

There is beauty in pain

We get meaning when we express ourselves, create something, from our relationships and family, We also get it from suffering

Giving = meaning. Taking = happy

Emodiversity helps us.

Positive Psychology

Maslow mentioned it first in his book Motivation and personality… Martin Seligmen focused on it in the late 1990’s

Seligman’s acronym PERMA summarizes five factors correlated with well-being:[34]

  1. Pleasure (tasty food, warm baths, etc.),
  2. Engagement (or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity),
  3. Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness),
  4. Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger), and
  5. Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals).

3 Pillars of Positive Psychology: Experiences, Traits, Institutions

Gratitude, Attitude, Visualisation, Savouring, Kindness, Humour, Giving, Resilience,

Flourishing: To flourish is to find fulfillment in our lives, accomplishing meaningful and worthwhile tasks, and connecting with others at a deeper level—in essence, living the “good life”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – FLOW: Where Challenge meets Skills… 


.Suggestions from Lisa Feldman Barrett

Body Budget, Avoid social rejection, Physical Comfort, Yoga, environment

Novel engages Default Mode Network and stop ruminating

Take turns treating friend: Gratitude and giving

Pet, Walks, Hobbies for Stress

Learn more refined concepts about emotions

NEW:  Trips, Books, Movies, Unfamiliar food, collector of experiences

Improve Vocabulary 

Redefine self

Keep track positive experiences

Give specific feedback to others

Move your body

Change location

Recategorize feeling

Not about you

Recommend reading and resources

Feeling Good David Burns

The Art of Happiness Dalai Lama

The 4 Agreements Don Miguel Ruiz

How Emotions are Made Lisa Feldman Barrett

Stumbling on Happiness Daniel Gilbert

Flow Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Learned Optimism Martin Seligman

Stoicism: A detailed Breakdown George Tanner

The Happiness Habit Brian Colbert


Ted talk Shawn Anchor

Owen Ted talk