Tag Archives: leading positive psychologists

Happiness = Pleasure + flow + meaning

3.1 How to calculate it?
Martin Seligman, leading positive psychologists, offer a wealth of questionnaires in their books and websites, more information are provided in 3.3. Considering such questionnaires are self-calculated using their online version, here we just provide extremely simplified versions:

Happiness (Seligman) = Pleasure + flow + meaning

Simplified version = [(Hours spent doing pleasant activities) + (Hours spent in total immersion) + (Hours spent doing meaningful activities)] / Number of days considered

For simplicity, you can calculate this by adding the average amount of hours you spend in one day doing what brings you pleasure, what starts a flow and what really gives a meaning to your life.

For example: 30 minutes spent eating + 120 minutes spent speaking on the phone with clients + 60 minutes spent volunteering

Or you can have a more detailed view, for example by keeping a diary for one month where you write the way you allocate your time daily, and then divide it by the number of days in that month.

3.2 What does it mean?
Martin Seligman, thanks to four decades of research in the field, found there are three main pillars for happiness. Pleasure is the most commonly experienced, and also the least lasting; for example, the pleasure derived from eating an ice-cream, with declining marginal benefit derived from each bite. Flow is about total absorption in a specific task, which can be as short as writing an important email or as long as working on a book. Meaning is the life with a purpose which, for its own definition, is not happening often and is the longer lasting.

Another positive psychologist, Sonja Lyubomirsky, offers an equation where Happiness = Genetic Set Point + Life Circumstances + Intentional Activities.

3.3 Where are references and further information?
About Martin Seligman’s research:



About Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research: