The Recipe For Happiness

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Positive Psychology is changing how we think about Psychology. Instead of researching abnormal behavior and mental disorder, it focuses on the things that make life worth living.

Despite the common belief that happiness or contentment should be the goal of life, few know how that is done or what is involved in maintaining happiness for an extended period.

Martin Seligman’s Theory of PERMA was developed to distill the factors involved in creating long term happiness. PERMA is not a static theory but an actual map of how an individual can train themselves to create and maintain a happy life. Coincidentally, PERMA also goes hand in hand with the space lifestyle.

So, how is it done and how does PERMA fit the space lifestyle?

P- Positive Emotions

Positive Emotions feel good. Negative emotions feel bad. This seems to be the obvious understanding. However, negative emotions also have the deleterious effect of narrowing our perceptions and limiting our ability to solve problems. Conversely, positive emotions build on themselves and broaden our awareness which is beneficial in crisis. Astronauts are chosen specifically because of their ability to shift from negative moods to proactive and positive moods.

E- Engagement

When an individual engages in an activity that they can immerse themselves in, they are open to flow. Flow is that bliss we feel when we are doing what we are meant to do. The act is effortless and engages our mind, body and spirit. We see it when we see a top athlete or an astronaut floating in space. The ease with which they perform their work is a joy to behold.

R- Relationships

We are social animals. Despite being in space, an astronaut is committed to maintaining their connections on Earth. This is a conscious effort that is repaid with the benefit of deeper relationships.

M- Meaning

People who find meaning in their lives are happier. Committing to the space lifestyle has the added incentive of inherent meaning. Living like an astronaut means living simply, effectively and mission oriented.

A-Accomplishment

Goals give us direction in life. Meeting those goals fill us with a sense of accomplishment. That sense of knowing that we can do something or belief that we can complete a task is called self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the best predictor of human success- even better than skill! This confidence is boosted with each accomplishment.

From the perspective of Earth bound non-astronauts, it must seem like folly to commit to a space lifestyle. However, for those who dream of stars, the space lifestyle is our first step to this goal.

Embracing the ways of astronauts will better prepare us for life on earth. And, even if we never walk among the stars or hop on the moon, we will have created sustained happiness right where we are.

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