Course improved and updated December 2016
Never again allow your happiness to depend on your circumstances.
Have Fun with All 10 Tried and Tested Happiness Exercises
Download the audio's and listen to them when it suits you.
Train Yourself to Overcome Our Natural Negativity Bias
Monitor your Progress as You Go
Find Out About the Different Types of Happiness
Learn About Emotions and How They Serve Us
Learn the truth about how your happiness is up to you.
Take control of your own happiness.
I will be here to support, advise and encourage you through every aspect of the course.
I GUARANTEE that you will benefit positively by engaging in THE well researched and tested exercises to relieve stress, anxiety and even improve the symptoms of clinical depression. And they're fun too.
With simple and easy to understand lectures, learn how to take charge of your life by understanding your emotions and about the science of happiness.
Measure your own progress as we move through the course so that you can see the improvements in your happiness levels with concrete figures.
Content and Overview
After several years of studying the latest research on Positive Psychology and The Science of Happiness from the most trusted academic institutions in the world, I designed this course to be usable, fun and effective for everyone.
We will begin with the Happiness Exercises, where you can have some serious fun with the 10 exercises. And you can download the audio's!
We then take a look at some of the theory behind the exercises, although this is kept simple and interesting, no scientific jargon. For example, most people are not aware that there is more than one kind of happiness.
We are all born with an inbuilt bias towards negativity but you will learn to know when and how to overcome it in order to get happy.
Finally you take a look back over the exercises and I can help you to decide which ones you liked the best and are likely to incorporate into your life from here on in.
I am available throughout to answer any questions or help with any problems relating to the course.
Welcome to the course! It's great to have you on board. This is just a quick overview of what's on the course.
This survey is for your own information. Neither I nor anyone else needs to see it. Just circle the numbers that are closest to how you feel in the moment (this will become clearer when you see the survey). Answer as truthfully but as quickly as you can. The more you think about how you feel the less sure you are of the feeling.
Then add all of the circled numbers together. So for example, if you circled No. 2 in one question and No. 3 in another, then the total from those two questions is 5.
You can download the PDF and print it out. You only need to print pages 2 & 3. OR if you prefer, just read it from the screen and write down the answers on a piece of paper.
Whatever way you decide to do it, keep your score in a safe place until we reach Section 4
This is an instructional video on how to proceed with this Section . At the end of this lecture, you will have an understanding of how the exercises work, and you will be able to download the PDF's for each exercise and keep it with you for reference as you go through the weeks.
I have also included a downloadable audio of each of these exercises, so that you can listen to them whenever you're driving, walking or working, etc.
This is one of the most researched exercises in positive psychology and has been shown again and again to improve overall satisfaction with life and happiness.
Listen to the lecture, then download the pdf and follow the instructions. Try it for one week and let's know how you get on.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
This exercise will not take 7 days. It's a once-off task so you can do it, then immediately move on to another exercise, or you can wait to find out the outcome of this one first. But do begin immediately because if you put it off you will lose momentum.
Listen to the lecture and then download the pdf for instructions.
And don't forget to keep in touch and let me know how you get on.
Positive thinking is not magical thinking. It does not mean we sit back and wait for results without taking action. Nor does not mean we ignore the negative. It just means putting more focus on the positive.
Listen to the lecture and download the pdf. Please keep in touch and let me know how you're getting on.
Mindfulness Meditation and Mindfulness Living are particularly powerful tools in the reduction of stress and depression. This video is a short 10 minute mindfulness guided meditation. By the end, you will have an understanding of the techniques involved in mindfulness meditation. You can also download the MP3 of the meditation onto your own device. Keep in touch and let me know how you're getting on.
We all have strengths, but we don't always recognise them. Becoming aware of our strengths and how we use them is beneficial to our happiness. Even more beneficial though is consciously using them in new and different ways.
This lecture describes how you can find your strengths and suggests ways you might use them.
Listen to the lecture and download the pdf.
Here is the link to a website that will help you to find your own signature strenghts http://www.viacharacter.org/www/
By the end of this lecture, you will know what your own signature or character strengths are, and how to find ways to use them in different situations.
Keep in touch and let's know how you get on.
Spending time outdoors is almost always enjoyable. Dress for the weather, look around you and have fun.
Listen to the lecture and download the pdf. Let me know how you get on.
Physical activity releases endorphins in our brain, the happy hormone. But you don't have to go the the gym or take up jogging. Cleaning your house, washing your car or walking briskly can have the same effect. Keep in touch and let me know how you get on.
Listen to the lecture, then download the pdf. And have fun!
Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning is essential to our happiness. But some of us are so busy that we lose sight of what is most important and what we are only doing because we think we must. By the end of this lecture, you will have a couple of tools to help you find your real meaning and purpose in life.
Listen to the lecture and then download the pdf.
This is somewhat related to meaning and purpose and is certainly complimentary to it. Setting and achieving goals gives us a sense of satisfaction and increases our happiness levels. By the end of this lecture, you will have an understand of how to set goals for yourself on a daily, weekly, yearly or even long-term basis.
Listen to the lecture, then download the pdf.
The description is in the title. Have fun! Find things you enjoy doing and make the time to do them. By the end of this lecture, you will have scheduled several things per week to do, just because they are fun to do!
Listen to the lecture, then download the pdf.
And don't forget to let me know how you are doing.
What are emotions and how do they serve us? By the end of this lecture, you will have some understanding of why we have emotions and whether they're useful or not.
This is a short exercise on your emotions. You can pause the video as you write.
So did you notice how you can evoke emotions with your thoughts and memories? And that is something we do all day, everyday. When we become aware of what we are thinking and feeling, we can begin to change our thoughts and our perspective so as to change how we feel.
What do you think happiness is?
Is it that “happy clappy”, overly cheerful kind of demeanour some people display to the world?
Is it the feeling you get whenever you achieve something, win something or have one of your dreams come true?
Is it having a relaxing massage, eating your favourite meal, or spending time with your favourite person or people?
Is it the feeling you get when you’re helping others?
Is it just a general feeling of contentment at the way things are?
Or is it contentment at the way things are, while still working towards your dreams?
Well, believe it or not, happiness can be all of the above. Because there is more than one kind of happiness.
However, cheerfulness can be an external manifestation of happiness, but not always. It is more of an attitude or behaviour than an actual feeling and this is probably why it is often viewed with some suspicion.
Hedonic happiness is the feeling we get when we achieve or win something, eat our favourite food or spend time with our loved ones. In other words, Hedonic Happiness is pleasure based.
But when the pleasurable event has passed, we return to our base state of happiness. For example, there is a story told of a man who won the jackpot in the lottery, and who remained happy for just six months before he reverted back to the same state of happiness he had been in before the big win. (It doesn’t say whether his money lasted more than six months though, but I’m assuming it did.)
And there’s another story of a young man who had an accident in which he suffered permanent spinal injury, but he also eventually reverted to the same happiness state he had been in before the accident, although it took a couple of years.
Eudemonic Happiness is long lasting and feels more like a kind of stable contentment than the highs and lows of Hedonic Happiness. It is our base state of happiness.
Having said that, a good mixture of hedonic happiness and cheerfulness contributes to Eudomonic Happiness.
But if we don’t have much control over what happens to us in life, than how can we have control over our base state of happiness?
Well, this is linked to the questions of why do some people, who seem to have everything, feel unhappy, and others who appear to have nothing, feel happy?
And why are some people happier than others who share the same external circumstances?
Well, in the next lecture, we’ll take a look at some facts about Eudemonic happiness.
"Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are, it relies on what you think"
This quote is from The Buddha and even if you do not subscribe to or believe in the philosophies of Buddhism, the statement is still true.
Our genetic make-up has a majority influence over our base, or Eudemonic happiness state. In fact, it accounts for 50% ,but that does not mean that we have no control.
What most people find surprising is that only 10% of our Eudemonic happiness state is down to our external circumstances, such as our job, our relationships, or our financial position.
So, what about that other 40%? Well, this is where that quote from the top of this lecture comes in.
That 40% is hugely influential in whether we can find happiness in this life or not. And it has nothing to do with achieving our dreams. In fact in the next section, I am going to give you the tools to be happy without your dreams. But many people have found that their dreams came true sooner and often unexpectedly once they got happy.
There’s a good reason for this:
·When we’re happy and contented, we’re able to focus more clearly on what’s actually going on in our life, rather than seeing it through a fog of “If only’s”.
·When we’re happy and contented, we’re more motivated to follow through with plans and tasks that lead us to our goals.
· When we’re happy and contented, we’re more open to new experiences and so will often stumble across what we’ve been looking for all along, but were too afraid to see it.
But first, we have to get past what’s called the “Negativity Bias” and that’s what I’ll be talking about in the next lecture. See you there.
Okay, so what is Negativity Bias?
Just as the name implies, it means that our brains are wired to notice and even exaggerate negative events or threats faster than positive or pleasurable ones. And we also remember them for longer.
Now this was needed in our early evolution when man was living in a jungle full of constant threats such as animals that wanted to eat them and other humans who wanted to kill them.
We are not living in such a threat filled environment today, however, our memories are filled with negative and threatening events from throughout our life. And the funny thing is, most of those events have never even happened to us.
For example, whenever we watch the news or read a newspaper, we see negative event after negative event, and this reinforces the belief within us that we continue to live in a dangerous world.
This belief in turn can lead to a constant state of “fight or flight” which in turn leads to chronic stress and eventually can lead to physical and sometimes even mental illness.
There are plenty of people in the world who use our negativity bias to their advantage. For example, advertisers use it to sell us products, politicians to buy our votes and newspapers to sell more copies.
So our negativity bias may be a survival tool, but it doesn’t allow for a great quality of life.
The key to overcoming negativity bias is in paying attention to our own reality rather than the reality painted by fears and perceived threats.
It is in learning the difference between those two realities.
It is in learning how to keep things in perspective and to bounce back from negative events faster.
It is re-training our mind to pay more attention to the positive events in our life and less to the negative.
Section 3 of this course is designed to teach you some tools to achieve this.
So, let's see what we remember from this section.
Time to do the Happiness Survey again and compare your scores.
So you've finished the exercises and perhaps there are some you liked better than others. By the end of this lecture, you will be able to draw a mind-map of your thoughts on each exercise so that, together with your journal, you can decide which ones you will continue with from here on.
CONGRATULATIONS! You have completed the course. How did you get on? Is this something you are likely to continue with? Would you recommend the exercises or tools to your friends? I'm really interested to know your thoughts on the course, and on the concept of positive psychology and happiness studies in general. Please, do share your thoughts and opinions, and I'm always available for any questions and support relating to the exercises.
It was fun having you on the course. Thank you for taking part, and stay in touch.
I live and work in Dublin, Ireland as a Happiness Coach and a Tutor in Mindfulness Meditation and Mindfulness Living. I work with individuals on a one-to-one basis, and also with small groups of up to ten or twelve students.
I hold a First Class Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Psychology. Added to that, I also hold qualifications in Tutoring, Learning & Instruction and Counselling. I regard education as a never ending process, and during my more recent studies at university I researched and countless articles on the best way to teach meditation, and also on Positive Psychology, including mindfulness and happiness studies. I then went on to test and modify those methods with my own clients.
On a personal basis, putting Positive Psychology and Mindfulness into practice has made a big difference in my life and has seen be through many difficult times. It has also taught me to appreciate the good things in life and has contributed considerably to my overall happiness.