Happiness is driven by optimism

How we forge our own happiness

When do you call someone happy?

Prof. Dr. Ruch: It's a subjective feeling that every person describes differently, i.e. very imprecisely.

And what is happiness?

The "happiness" that positive psychology means is best described by the English expression "happiness". He means long-term “happiness” that we can shape ourselves to a certain extent.

How can we influence it ourselves?

On average, it is assumed that around 50 percent are genetic, but the rest can be influenced to a certain extent by promoting your strengths. There are 24 strengths in our catalog, five of which are particularly common for the subjective feeling of happiness: the ability to bond, curiosity, thirst for action, optimism and gratitude. The positive: you can train your strengths.

How does it work?

It's like in the weight room of the fitness center: constant training strengthens a trait. Optimism, for example, is trained by using defeat to do better next time and orienting oneself to people who have made it.

Can you give an example?

The optimist asks: How have I used a strength so far and how could I use it again? If you started learning too late and therefore failed an exam, you join a study group that was successful. We can train gratitude by writing a letter to someone we are grateful for. I can promote the sense of the beautiful by writing down every day what I have seen beautiful and so on.

How do you best integrate this training into everyday life?

You take a quarter of an hour in the evening to think about how to make the next day's tasks enjoyable. And one draws the conclusion: What did I do well today? How did I manage to do it today? We are also talking about the «Self-control». One of the 24 character strengths that is more essential than others for the feeling of happiness.

How do I make the next day's tasks positive?

Example of tidying up the apartment: How do I do it? Depending on the case, I do it with a friend and some nice music and then organize it myself.

How do we find out what our strengths are?

On our homepage charakterstaerken.org there is a questionnaire that you can fill out.

What if I don't want to fill out a questionnaire?