Feeling stressed or depressed? Sometimes you gotta step outside yourself to remove yourself from your dark mood.
And that's not just my opinion - it's the researched view of positive psychology expert, Martin Seligman.
There are three paths to happiness, according to Seligman:
1. the pleasant life
2. the good life
3. the meaningful life
“The pleasant life” is basic moment-to-moment contentment—doing simple things like downing martinis or playing computer games. But eventually, you’ll get bored and want more.
“The good life” comes through “engagement”: spending time with friends and family or getting involved with a rewarding work project. This is a step-up on the happiness food chain.
But the biggest feelings of happiness come from leading “a meaningful life”— using personal strengths to serve some larger end.
In an experiment called “Philanthropy versus Fun,” Seligman divided up his psychology students so that one group engaged in pleasurable activities (going to the movies, eating yummy ice cream) and the other group did philanthropic activities (volunteering at a soup kitchen, reading to the blind).