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The Well-Being Theory & My Happiness Scores

And it continues.  You know when you put something out into the world with no idea what you’re doing or where it’s going or who will be interested?  That’s exactly what this experiment is…

As I’ve been thinking about how I want to structure what I’m communicating to you, I realized I probably started off in the middle, instead of from the beginning!  I didn’t explain any of the background or frameworks or put together a logical plan of where this was going…


Although I’ve been pondering this blog takeover for a few weeks, I really didn’t make a plan.  I just dove in on Monday (read the first post on my Happiness Experiment via Positive Psychology here) when I realized it was absolutely time to take some control back over my own well-being.  And I dove in with a few of my go-to tricks to “restart”:  give something “bad” up and add something “good” to the mix under the umbrella of passive/active leisure.

My first measurements of flourishing have the best intentions behind them,  but I’m realizing that they may not have been the appropriate “STEP ONE” for our Adventures together.  They have do have a purpose and a place, but the timing was off.  I’m not letting them go, because I honestly feel more content (though still craving a glass of wine at night), but I do want to back up…

Framework time dear one!


(as studied & described by Martin Seligman, PhD, the daddy of Positive Psychology)

“Well-being cannot exist just in your own head; well-being is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships, and accomplishment.  The way we choose our course in life is to maximize the five elements that make up well-being.”

  • Positive Emotion: subjective measure, how satisfied/happy you are with your life, self-reported pleasure, comfort
  • Engagement: subjective measure of flow (did time stop/were you completely absorbed), gratification vs pleasure, requires skill, effort, and exercise of personal strengths
  • Positive Relationships
  • Meaning: Belonging to or serving something that is bigger than yourself
  • Achievement: accomplishment for the sake of accomplishment, pursuing mastery

The big picture goal of positive psychology is to increase the amount of flourishing (exercise of the above elements) in our own lives and on the planet.  Flourishing can be used as one measurement of the health of a country, a corporation, a school system, or an individual.  It can be measured, tracked, built upon, and improved upon through exercises and interventions.

One key piece in the research about the “how” of flourishing is the use of your signature strengths and virtues (perhaps 4 or 5 of the 24 measured strengths) in pursuit of the five elements of well-being.

Whew!  I tried by best to break down several texts into the above description… 😉

The Well-Being Theory is the Seligman’s latest answer to the question, “What makes up the good life”?

I dove into that framework to help give you a little of the background of how I’m looking at these next 8 weeks. Obviously the scientific side of “Adventures in Flourishing” is just one piece of the whole.  It does, however, give categories to other pieces I’ll be exploring.

My experience of spirituality and Buddhism will fall under the Meaning Element.  My re-balancing of my active/passive leisure time (also described as pursuit of pleasure vs pursuit of gratification) will fall under the Engagement Element.  The honoring of my values of love and family will fall under the Positive Relationship Element.  And my dedication to the development of a Personal Leadership course falls under Achievement and Engagement and Positive Relationships!


The other piece that was missing from my first post was some level of starting measurement.  How will I know if Adventures in Flourishing improved my own level of happiness or well-being?  I can subjectively report “damn I feel good,” but being the geek that I am about this stuff, I’d like a little more….

I took three base-level measurements.  All of these assessments can be taken for free at http://www.authentichappiness.org.  I plan on taking them again in 8 weeks to see if there is a noticeable difference in my scores!

The Authentic Happiness Inventory

Meaning in Life Questionnaire
(Have to say the results on this one surprised me.  Indicative of being in a low mood this last month? Overwhelmed by all of THE THINGS?  Not sure.  Subjectively I would have told you I feel a strong sense of purpose in my life…)

The Satisfaction with Life Scale

So there we go!  A base level measurement and a Positive Psychology Framework to get us started off on the right foot. 

Do you have a minute?  Head over to the Authentic Happiness Website, take the base level tests that I took, and report back to me in the comments with YOUR scores!  And an update on your engagement commitments if you made them on Monday.

I’ll be checking back in soon.

In the meantime, I’m off to Seattle to teach a workshop for the US Army at a Women’s Retreat.  Wish me luck!



  • Stop Drinking: 4 days Sober. 
  • Stop Hulu.com: 4 days TV free.  (Note: After working until 10 or 11 each night for the last 3 days, I’m realizing I’m just replacing evening relaxation with “getting more of ALL THE THINGS” done, which isn’t necessarily an improvement in flourishing.  Need to examine this as my experiment continues.  Also noticing the pull to watch “crutch” daytime TV is absolutely a distraction method from working on something that seems hard, like diving into website coding that I don’t know how to fix or studying marketing.  Since I’ve made the commitment to not watching TV, I actually have to dive into the hard work…)
  • Write in the Morning: 4 days complete.  Today’s stats… Soundtrack:  America Road Trip by hollypnz on Spotify.  Favorite Song: Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship.  Beverage: Moroccan Mint Green Tea.  What went well: Started later than normal due to breakfast bagels with The Big Man, but still wrote from 9 am to 11 am.

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