Pawsitively Tuesday: Three Kinds of Happy

Martin Seligman was a pioneer in happiness research.

He found that people who pursued the Pleasant Life experienced little happiness, while those who pursued the Meaningful Life and the Engaged Life were very happy.

 Seligman describes three kinds of happiness:

1.  Pleasant Life –enjoy yourself, eat well, savor life.

Dance for fun

2.  Engaged Life–develop a passion and work hard at it, lose yourself in it. Hug a tree

3.  Meaningful Life–contribute to the greater good.

Help others



10 comments on “Pawsitively Tuesday: Three Kinds of Happy

  1. Boy oh boy, do I agree with this.

    I have a very dear friend who is absorbed with All Her Problems, some of which are real and some of which she thinks she has based on the newest syndrome being promoted on TV. Every time I suggest she find something meaningful to do with her life, she begs off because of all her problems that need so much time and attention. Worse is that she becomes consumed by little everyday annoyances because they add to her stress because of AHP. So she spends most of her day catering to her AHP, worrying about her AHP, and trying to avoid the pain of her AHP. As you might guess, she is miserable and lonely. I love her, but I can’t help her.

    So while I think vacations, whether a six month trip around the world (planning mine now) or a day at the arboretum, are Pleasant Life necessities, I know that my greatest moments of calm and emotional well being are when I’m engaged in teaching, writing, and creating my own art, and especially campaigning to restore/protect justice. AND – being with my family and close friends. I think it’s the difference between taking a selfie every 2 minutes and engaging in the part of the world that needs us.

    This is a short-ish post with so much importance – thank you both for great content and adorable illustrations. Lots to think about, lots to work on, much that can be achieved.

    (And you know, Judy, I’m still working on releasing myself from AMyP.)


    • Sharon,

      Sorry to hear how stuck your friend seems to be on “AHP”. It can be very hard to retrain your brain to focus on something positive, even if what you are doing is keeping you unhappy. It takes work. It is also the case that there is a part of the brain that, when it over functions tends to keep people stuck and makes it difficult to change a train of thought. It is called the anterior cingulate. Daniel Amen he discusses this and ways to cope in his books. People with this issue can be difficult for friends and even therapists since you think you have resolved an issue, only to find them back on it again. A few things that can help with this (from Dr. Amen) are: intense exercise, lots of complex carbohydrates, fish oil, and good levels of vitaminD, which improve levels of serotonin. Also being around falling water sometimes helps serotonin levels – see our post “Falling Water, Raising Spirits”.


      Liked by 1 person

      • The falling water is a really interesting idea. I’ve always adored water in all forms and especially waterfalls, tiny and huge. It must be close to meditation, taking one out of the chaos of anxiety and into the realm of serenity.

        As for my friend – I’ve given up. It doesn’t matter what I suggest, she finds a reason to refute it. She’s incapable of being still, and needs to do something every second. When we sat on rocks looking the ocean crashing nearby, she took out a nail file and fussed with her toe nails. I think she likes wallowing which is sad, but it’s her choice.


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