Fundamental Seven: Develop Optimistic, Positive Thinking
We have nick-named Fundamental Seven “The Royal Road to Personal Happiness” because, of all the traits we’ve discovered in happy people, optimism appears to be one of the most significant and potent all all.
According to the research, happy individuals are immensely optimistic and tend to display highly positive thought-patterns (while unhappy people tend to be rather pessimistic and think in negative, critical terms). Happy people tend to view most situations in their life in a positive light. They look for the bright side, seeing “the cup as half-full rather than half-empty.”
Optimistic, positive thinking has such a important impact on personal happiness that we’ll spend an extended analysis of it in our chapter on Fundamental Seven. There we shall explore, in great detail, how thinking-patterns, like optimism, can affect happiness — and how you might develop a more postive thinking yourself.
Fundamental Eight: Get Present-Oriented
The next fundamental is “Get Present Oriented.”
“Present-orientation” is a technical terms used by clinical psychologists. Essentially it refers to the the ability to live life fully in the present — in the “here and now,” so to speak, rather than in the “there and then.” Happiness research finds that happy people tend to be quite present-oriented. They tend to get the most out of each and every day. They tend to focused more on the immediate present. They are not particularly preoccupied with past hurts or regrets, nor unduly worried or apprehensive about the future. Apparently, “these are the good old days” for happy individuals, and most anyone can be a bit happier if they can focus more on the present.
Fundamental Nine: Work On A Healthy Personality
Fundamental Nine is known as “WOAHP” — initials which stand for “Work On A Healthy Personality.”
One of the major factors happiness researchers have consistiently found in the data is the strong relationship between happiness and mental health. As we saw in the previous Volume, happy individuals are extremely healthy people. In virtually every assessment technique psychologists have used, happy people tend to excell.
Because a healthy personality contributes so much to personal happiness, “Work on A Healthy Personality” is one of the most productive Fundamentals a person can work on. Yet, the development of a healthy personality involves a complex interplay of many psychological factors, which originate in childhood and take a lifetime to solidify. Thus our treatment of this happiness-trait will can be cursory, at best. Traditionally, therefore, what we have chosen to do in dealing with this complex topic, has been to summarize the collected research on health psychology by presenting five of the most basic and easily understood principles. We’ve named these principles of mental health the “WOAHP Five,” and they will be discussed, in detail, later in this book.