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Happiness entails a complex of life satisfaction and use of various resources to produce positive emotions. Various theories have been developed with the objective of showing the relationship between happiness and satisfaction in life. On the ot6her hand, life satisfaction is a primary metric of well-being. While positive emotions indicate enhanced resilience and satisfaction, weak emotions have no significant impact on positive emotions. This paper aims at discussing the extent to which research evidence supports the claim that happiness and satisfaction in life are under the control of the individual.
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Individuals have diversified ability to achieve happiness and gain satisfaction. Addressing the issues of why some individuals are happier than others, Lyubomirsky (2001) indicates that multiple cognitive and motivational processes regulate the implications of the environment that surrounds the well-being. Thus, it is vital first to understand the motivational and cognitive processes in order to comprehend why some people are happier than others. It is good to be happy. Research evidence by Lyubomirsky (2001) shows that the key benefits of being happy includes enhancing well-being and attaining social development, self-regulation, improved health, helping behavioral and achieving success. Additionally, happiness enhances creativity of an individual thus achieving a divergent thinking.
Lyubomirsky (2001) construal approach to happiness
To understand the correlation that exists between happiness and objective circumstances, the construal approach can be applied. Various philosophers and psychologists argue that people do not experience events passively. For example, Scarr (1988) notes that life situations are cognitively processed, framed, evaluated, contemplated and remembered. This implies that each individual may basically live in a different social world. The construal approach to happiness maintains that to comprehend why some people are happier than others, we must understand the motivational and cognitive processes that enhances transient mood as well as happiness. Based on the arguments by Lyubomirsky (2001) and the approach she uses to understand happiness in addition to the impacts of happiness and self-regard, it can be concluded that she has produced extent research evidence that actually portray that people have the ability to control their happiness and satisfaction.
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Positive emotions and their effect on life satisfaction and resilience
Life satisfaction is mostly achieved by individuals who are happier. Some of the life outcomes that happy people achieve include mental health, financial success, effective coping with situations, supportive relationship and physical health. Michael et al (2009), notes that past studies did not clearly indicate how happiness resulted to beneficial outcomes. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions as provided by Fredrickson (1998, 2001) only provided theoretical explanations that associated cumulative experiences and positive emotions to the creation of resources for well-being besides long-term success. Michael et al, (2009) however, applies the broaden-and-build theory to indicate how positive emotions can improve one’s life outcomes and achieve life satisfaction.
The broaden-and-build theory
According to Fredrickson (1998) and Fredrickson & Cohn (2008), lasting resources can be established when adaptations evolve and positive emotions are produced. This theory depicts that negative emotions reduce attention, narrow cognition and makes individual not to have the ability to cope with immediate problems. Nevertheless positive emotions make people to have broad-ranging thinking as well as actions that are not necessarily required to achieve immediate well-being and safety. Fredrickson (1998) attributes emotional intelligence and loving-kindness meditation as key aspects that make individuals to generate feelings of love and compassion, issues that are fundamental to achieve happiness and life satisfaction.
Positive emotions and ego-resilience
Ego-resilience refers to personality qualities that indicate person’s ability to adapt to altering environments. Some of the primary responses that individuals can positive impact on the ego-resilience of an individual include adapting to hindrances, identifying life opportunities and dealing with misfortunes. Conway & McDonough (2006) and Klohnen (1996) see eco-resilience being linked to quite a number of life outcomes such as interpersonal adjustment and a range of childhood behaviors. In addition, positive outcomes are related to stronger ego-resilience and the latter is also responsible for achieving its results by creating positive emotions. Argument by Sheldon & Lyubomirsky (2007) is that people with stronger ego-resilience and are affected by a certain stressor, they gain from positive emotions as compared individuals with lower ego-resilience. The differences that exist between positive emotions is the basis reason as to why some people are happier than others besides having different ability to deal with depression and achieve happiness. The use of ego-resilience for testing the hypothesis in Michael et al, (2009) studies was essential since it indicated that due to diversified positive emotions, some people are able to create more resources that will enable them to flourish in life and be satisfied. Thus, it can be concluded that Michael et al, (2009) research evidence has candidly shows that individuals can control their happiness and satisfaction.
Ways of becoming happier
People can make themselves to be happier by adopting certain approaches. Even though some theories argue that sustainable happiness and ones well-being cannot be increased, Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade (2005) denotes that specific processes can be put in place for individuals to increase their happiness. Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade (2005) developed the sustainable happiness model by evaluating the three key classes of this model. The first step involved evaluating the demographic, personality and intentional/experiential relationship between subjective well-being. The second step entailed introduction of the model which basically indicate that by adjusting ones activities as well as goals, is the best starting point to achieve a sustainable well-being. Nevertheless, Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade (2005) suggested that such well-being can only be achieved if certain conditions are met. These included making the goals to be positive, making goals to be compatible with the needs and personality, producing diligent goals, goals should be produced and enacted at different times and have fresh positive experiences.
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One of the important goals that people pursue in life is to be happy. Every person want to be happy but the question of what to do in order to produce the needed happiness is the issue that has been reviewed by various scholars. Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade (2005) argues that in the contemporary research, the issue of generators of happiness has led to the emergence of positive psychology. This entails looking at the issues that result into optimal communities, optimal relationship and optimal group performance (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade (2005) studies have covered well-being literature and it has extensively researched on what makes people happier in addition to the model of sustainable happiness. The authors’ discussion on some recent experimental data shows that it is possible to improve one’s happiness and be satisfied. Therefore, it can be concluded that Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade (2005) have clearly portrayed that happiness and satisfaction in life are under the control of the individual.
People have different strategies to achieve happiness. Research evidence supports the claim that happiness and satisfaction in life are under the control of the individual happiness and satisfaction in life are under the control of the individual. For instance, Lyubomirsky (2001) notes that construal approach to understand multiple cognitive and motivational processes of other people. To achieve life satisfaction, one should be happy and as argued by Michael et al, (2009), this happiness can be achieved by using positive emotions. Ego-resilience is also essential in improving individual’s happiness. Conway & McDonough (2006) and Klohnen (1996) depict ego-resilience as being key part of life outcomes such as interpersonal adjustment and a range of childhood behaviors. Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade (2005) research especially in relation to sustainable happiness model also indicates that happiness and satisfaction can be controlled by an individual.
- Lyubomirsky, S. 2001. Why Are Some People Happier Than Others? American Psychologist.
- Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. 2000. Positive psychology – An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), 5–14.
- Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. 2007. Is It Possible to Become Happier? (And If So, How?). Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 1(1), 129–145.