Sonja Lyubomirsky is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She began studying happiness as a graduate student and most of her research career has been devoted to the study of human happiness. Among her peers, she is known as “the queen of happiness”.
Dr. Lyubomirsky is a foremost scholar in the growing field of positive psychology, a branch of psychology focused on the study of factors that contribute to a full and meaningful life. Positive psychologists conduct scientific research to better understand how we can grow positively and achieve our potentials.
Dr. Lyubomirsky emphasizes that much of our happiness is within our control. For an article on the website, Positive Psychology News , she was asked about what will be uppermost in her mind during the holiday season. The following is her response:
“During the holiday season, I would encourage people to…
- Focus less on materialistic goals (and, yes, I mean the buying and consuming of all those gifts, many of them useless) and more on intrinsic goals involving personal growth, connections with others, and contributing to family, community, and society
- Live in the here-and-now — that is, focus on, enjoy, and savor the moment instead of dwelling on what work you’re missing or the chores you have to do tomorrow
- Work on appreciating what you have, even if it’s not very much; this is extremely difficult to do and requires lots of practice
- Set at least one new, intrinsic, important, and meaningful life goal and begin the first baby step towards it
- When you find yourself ruminating about problems or comparing yourself to others, shift your mindset, and distract, distract, distract
- Work out as much as you can, doing whatever physical activity that “fits” you best
These are all things I try to do myself, though I am not always successful. This is because sustaining happiness takes work!”
I wish you all a joyful holiday season. Enjoy!
Take care, Rhonda Gilby
This blog is not a substitute for psychological counselling. If you do feel that you are currently in a situation in which you could use some additional help with issues that you are dealing with, please check out the resources presented here.