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The How of Happiness  (Part 1 of a 4 part series)  By Sonja Lyubomirsky

 While seeing folks in counseling, clients often say to me, I just want to be happy.  Dr. Lyubomirsky’s point is happiness is not something that just happens you have to do stuff.

 In the beginning of “The How of Happiness” there is an evaluation that Dr. L calls the “Person-Activity Fit”.  The evaluation has five categories: Natural, Enjoy, Value, Guilty and Situational.  Following activities that are natural, that we enjoy or value will be effective behaviors to engage in. If you do the activities because you are guilty or are forced into them (situational), you will be more likely to engage in them and for them to become habitual.


The activities that Dr. L outlines  says can be done to make ourselves happy are:

  1. Gratitude

    2. Optimism

    3. Refraining from over thinking and social comparison

    4. Kindness activities

    5. Nurturing Relationships

    6. Learning Coping Skills (managing stress, hardship &


    7. Forgiveness

    8. Engagement in activities

    9. Joyful activities

    10. Goal setting

    11. Religion/Spirtuality

    12. Physical activity  

 Dr. L.  in her book: “The How of Happiness” describes in detail, specific things can be done in each of the above activities that have been scientifically shown to have a positive effect on people’s level of happiness as well as, I believe can have a constructive effect on relationships.  It is fairly obvious that people who are happy are far more likely to have stronger relationships

 In my next blogs I will talk about and comment on the specific areas of coping skills and forgiveness, as these areas in particular relate to effectively dealing with stressors that occur in relationships.

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