The 5 types of happiness and how to achieve it

Happiness is one of those topics that everyone is interested in and that is why psychology has paid so much attention to this phenomenon. There are different theories that have tried to explain this concept and a lot of research has tried to provide relevant data that allows us to understand its complexity.

One of the best known authors is Martin Seligman, which states that there are five types of happiness. In this article we will talk about its model and its main features.

    Who is Martin Seligman

    Dr Martin Seligman, is an American psychologist and writer considered one of the founders of positive psychology. He was born on August 12, 1942 in Albany, New York. For many years, he was director of the clinical training program at the University of Pennsylvania. His work revolves around topics such as learned helplessness, positive psychology, depression, psychological resilience, optimism and pessimism.

    It was in 1998 that this character decided to change the trend in psychology which focused primarily on negative emotions and how to deal with them so that people’s well-being and emotional health improved. Seligman devoted himself to investigating the implications of positive thinking and emotions and scientifically verify the most effective self-help methods.

      Seligman PERMA model

      And it is that the well-being of people cannot be studied without considering happiness. The author thinks that happiness has five components that are present in those individuals who are happier. With this idea, he created the model “PERMA” which, according to its acronym in English, means:

      • Positive emotions (positive emotions or good life)
      • Commitment (commitment or committed life)
      • Relationships
      • Meanings (Meaning of a meaningful life)
      • Achievement (success or sense of accomplishment)

      Components and types of happiness

      Seligman’s theory has five components or levels that indicate types of happiness. The aim of his theory is to measure and encourage personal growth and well-being. Here are the levels of your model:

      1. Positive emotions or a good life

      At the most basic level of happiness, the person experiences this through their emotions. It has to do with the amount of emotions we feel during the day. A good life is about having more pleasant experiences during the day than unpleasant ones. The author believes that there are a number of techniques that people can learn to increase the duration and intensity of their pleasures.

      These positive experiences can be: playing sports, enjoying a good meal, reading, etc. The positive of an experience depends on each person.

        2. Commitment or committed life

        If in the previous case the pleasures would be rather external, in this case the internal pleasures are incorporated. This is called a “state of flux”, in which the person connects to his own desires. We create engagement when we are fully present, aware and creating opportunities for flow that lead us to higher levels of well-being.

        Seligmann describes engagement as “the stopping in time and loss of self-awareness during absorbing activity”. Happiness develops a large number of optimal “flow” experiences through the use of personal strengths.

        3. Relations

        Relationships with others are also a great source of happiness, so to be happy you need to spend time with them, as this increases the feeling of support and the perception of well-being. This concerns all relationships: friends, family, partners … In fact, social support is closely linked to well-beingAnd some research even claims that they help reduce stress and discomfort. In contrast, loneliness is associated with an increased risk of dying.

        4. Significance or significant life

        Seligman describes this level as something bigger than us. meaning this is the purpose for which we perceive that we existIn other words, what fills us up and why we decided to fight. These are our most wanted goals. Finding meaning in yourself is not always easy, but you have to be happy. The search for meaning and self-realization is one of the principles of positive psychology.

        5. Success or sense of accomplishment

        People can feel positive emotions, engage in different situations, feel the state of flux, we can have relationships that enrich us and find meaning in our lives.

        We may have goals that motivate us and help us develop positively, but the highest level of happiness is that which we have achieved when we set goals and objectives with the heart and elevate them. So we feel competent and we know we did what we wanted and we did it right. Achieving goals, especially those related to our values, increases well-being over a relatively long period of time.

        What science says about happiness

        And as has been said, there is a lot of research being done on this topic. Who doesn’t want to be happy? Happiness is something we all strive for.

        Over the years, scientists have discovered different activities, behaviors, attitudes and gestures that can make us happier. But … what are the keys to happiness? Some of the most important findings are:

        Spend more time with your family and friends

        As Seligman says, a lot of research has shown that spend time with loved ones it makes us happier.

        travel a lot

        Knowing the world and traveling is rewarding not only because it opens our minds, but because it makes us feel good. The researchers, however, found that it is not the trips themselves that make us happy, but planning them.

        Live the present

        Living with expectations, which are often unrealistic, does not promote our well-being. Instead, live the present it allows us to live life to the fullest and makes us happier


        Gratitude is another of the basic principles of happiness. So whenever you can thank your loved ones for all they do for you.

        Go out

        Something as simple as going out on the street is positive because increases serotonin levels in the brain, The neurotransmitter linked to happiness.

        These are just a few examples of what science says about happiness. If you want to know more, you can read this article: “The 10 keys to happiness, according to science”

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