Transition Sooke January 2015 Newsletter
Newsletter July 2013
Positive Psychology

Martin Seligman is the co-founder of positive psychology, a field of study that examines healthy states such as positive emotions, strength of character and optimism. Through year-long scientific research, he and his team at the University of Pennsylvania uncovered some of the things that help people flourish: gratitude, meaning to their lives, sturdy relationships, use of character strengths... 

He explains it nicely in this Ted talk 
For those of us who like to read about it: he published about 20 books on the topic of which "Flourish" , "Learned Optimism" and "Authentic Happiness" are the best known. The website of the Positive Psychology Center is a wealth of information as well.

If you want to get into action: on the website Authentic Happiness you can take several tests that will indicate your character strengths and your level of happiness, handy as a follow-up on your progress towards a fulfilling life. Psychology Today compiled seven exercises to boost your contentment. Another simple exercise can be found here.
Happiness Around the Globe: What We Can Learn From Each Other
According to the UN World Happiness Report 2013 (2014 is probably not yet out) the Scandinavian Countries, with Denmark on the top, are the most joyous places to live. And it seems like the world is becoming a happier place. That's a good place to start!

Denmark has a culture of togetherness and watching out for each other, which is probably the single most important reason for the high emotional well-being of its citizens. We can learn the concept of "hygge" from the Danes.

Wealth does not necessarily make you happier. This article tries to explain why some African countries score higher on the Happiness index. 

And then there is, of course, Bhutan, the only country in the world which uses the Gross National Happiness index to decide on national topics instead of the GDP. Because money alone doesn't make you happy. This website explains beautifully what you can achieve with the GNP.
A Glorious 2015 for Each of You!

January is the month for well-wishing, so let's keep up with this beautiful tradition and start with wishing you a magnificent new year in which your (transition) dreams may come true. A year full of amazement, positive surprises and quiet joys. Let's raise the glass to friendship, health, inner peace and the wonders of nature.

And let's make 2015 the year we decide to be Happy! 

Yes, you read that right...decide to be Happy. More and more research shows that we create a big part of our contentment ourselves. And the good news is: you don't need fancy machinery, lots of money or a visit to the witch doctor. You can start building your well-being here and now! So we will dedicate this first newsletter of the year, with the new year's resolutions still in mind, to exactly that.

Cheers to an engaging 2015 from your TS team!


 A Documentary: 

This award-winning movie explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion. Surprising insights, tips and an overall feel-good mood makes this worth watching. Available at the library.

TED Talk Galore on Happiness

- M. Csikszentmihalyi on Flow
- Matthieu Ricard, the happiest man in the world
- Neil Pasricha, The 3 A's of Awesome
- Malcolm Gladwell on Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce
- Brene Brown, The power of Vulnerability
- Nancy Etcoff, Happiness and its Surprises

And many more!


Study the Science of Happiness

So if Happiness is a topic of research about which peer-reviewed scholarly articles are written, then you should be able to study it as well. EdX offers a free eight-week course in positive psychology from the Berkeley University of California. Sign up today and start right away. Yes, studying happiness is as easy as that!
The Role of Music

Music plays an important role in happiness, according to this article. Here you find out why that's the case. But what to listen to? The Huffington post compiled this article and playlist to get you swinging. Some personal favorites:

- Happy by Pharrell Williams
- What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
- Perfect Day, Lou Reed
- Lemon Tree, Fool's Garden


One of the big factors in creating contentment is to feel gratitude for the things and people around you. To pay attention to the beauty in the (simple) things of day-to-day life brings a feeling of blessedness. With gratitude you can achieve optimism and peace of mind more easily. This article explains this idea further. 

One man who has spent a big part of his life promoting gratefulness is
Brother David Steindl Rast. He has eloquently spoken about this in this TED talk and has written many articles about it. His website is a source of inspiration. Sign up for the word of the day and receive a gratefulness quote in your inbox every morning. "A Good Day" with powerful words of brother David and awe-inspiring images from Louie Schwartzberg is indeed something to feel utterly grateful for. 

A simple tool to create more gratitude in your life is to take a couple of minutes each evening before going to bed to reflect on what you are grateful for that day. Some people keep a gratitude journal and experience a big change in mood after just three weeks. Worth a try.

Books and More

A lot has been written on the topic, so here follows only a very small selection of what's out there to get you going.

- The Positive Psychology Center gives a good overview of literature and video material.

Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert

- Happiness, Matthieu Ricard

- The Art of Happiness (and other books by) His Holiness the Dalai Lama

- Man’s Search for Meaning, Dr Viktor Frankl

- Website for daily happy quotes
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