Happiness is…counting (the right things)

Happiness is…counting (the right things)

What are You Counting?

By Dave Shearon for Positive Psychology News Daily on May 17

Positive psychology is a science, and scientists count things and measure stuff. Ed Diener recounts how his dissertation advisor steered him away from happiness as a research topic partly by saying it couldn_ã_t be measured. Positive psychology exists because folks like Ed Diener figured out how to measure and count all kinds of things that were once thought of as immeasurable, including happiness, optimism, hope, passion, and strengths.

Using Counting for Resilience

Just as lawyers almost instinctively create and organize arguments, scientists count. While she was writing her wonderful book Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson_ã_s husband suddenly became seriously ill. During the crisis, she was unable to follow her writing schedule. After the crisis resolved, she initially felt despair about meeting her deadlines. However, she had kept records. She had counted how many hours she spent writing each day and how many pages she produced. She was able to use this data to recalculate her schedule and find a path toward her deadline. Hope Theory posits that hope is the result of goals, pathways toward goals, and perceived self-efficacy to move along the pathways. As she describes in her book, Dr. Fredrickson experienced a blocked pathway, created a new one, and restored hope. Her tendency to collect data helped.

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