There has been a great khuyến mãi written and said about how đồ sộ live The Good Life.
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Yet with more than vãn 8 billion people on this planet, there are probably just as many opinions about what the good life entails.
Positive psychology began as an inquiry into the good life đồ sộ establish a science of human flourishing and improve our understanding of what makes life worth living (Lopez & Snyder, 2011).
We will begin this article by exploring definitions of the good life, before presenting a brief history of philosophical theories of the good life. Then we’ll introduce a few psychological theories of the good life and methods for assessing the quality of life, before discussing how you can apply these theories đồ sộ live a more fulfilling life.
Before you continue, we thought you might lượt thích đồ sộ tải về our three Positive Psychology Exercises for không tính tiền. These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools đồ sộ enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.
This Article Contains:
- What Is The Good Life?
- What Is The Good Life in Philosophy?
- Theories About The Good Life
- Assessing Your Quality of Life
- How đồ sộ Live The Good Life
- PositivePsychology.com Resources
- A Take-Home Message
What Is The Good Life?
The word ‘good’ has a very different meaning for very many people; however, there are some aspects of ‘the good life’ that most people can probably agree on such as:
- Material comfort
- Engagement in meaningful activities/work,
- Loving relationships (with partners, family, and friends)
- Belonging đồ sộ a community.
Together, a sense of fulfillment in these and other life domains will lead most people đồ sộ flourish and feel that life is worth living (Vanderweele, 2017).
However, the question ‘what is the good life?’ has been asked in many fields throughout history, beginning with philosophy. Let’s look at where it all began.
What Is The Good Life in Philosophy?
This tricky question has preoccupied philosophers since the ancient Greeks, given it giao dịch with the how and why of values and ethics, and how đồ sộ live well.
According đồ sộ Socrates
Interestingly enough, the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates never wrote anything down. His student Plato reported his speeches in published dialogues that demonstrate the Socratic method. Key đồ sộ Socrates’ definition of the good life was that “the unexamined life is not worth living” (Ap 38a cited in West, 1979, p. 25).
Socrates argued that a person who lives a routine, mundane life of going đồ sộ work and enjoying their leisure without reflecting on their values or life purpose had a life that wasn’t worth living.
However, he also argued that mere philosophical reflection was not sufficient for a good life. For Socrates, the good life requires self-mastery of our animal passions đồ sộ ensure inner peace and the stability of the wider community. You can see a more detailed explanation of this in the đoạn phim on Plato below.
According đồ sộ Plato
Plato’s view of the good life was presented in The Republic (Plato, 380-375 BCE/2007) and supported the views of his teacher, Socrates. The Republic examines virtue and the role of philosophy, community, and the state in creating the conditions needed đồ sộ live well.
In this dialogue, Socrates is asked why a person ought đồ sộ be virtuous đồ sộ live a good life, rather than vãn merely appear đồ sộ be virtuous by cultivating a good reputation. Socrates answers that the good life doesn’t refer đồ sộ a person’s reputation but đồ sộ the state of a person’s soul.
The role of philosophy is essential because philosophers are educated in using reason đồ sộ subdue their animal passions. This creates noble individuals who contribute đồ sộ a well-ordered and humane society. A person who is unable đồ sộ regulate their behavior will be unstable and create suffering for themselves and others, leading đồ sộ a disordered society.
Therefore, educated reason is crucial for cultivating virtuous conduct đồ sộ minimize human suffering, both individually and socially. For Socrates and Plato, rational reflection on the consequences of our actions is key đồ sộ establishing virtuous conduct and living the good life, both inwardly and outwardly.
For a fuller tài khoản kiểm tra out the Wireless Philosophy đoạn phim by Dr. Chris Surprenant below.
According đồ sộ Aristotle
For Plato’s student Aristotle, the acquisition of both intellectual and character virtues created the highest good, which he identified with the Greek word eudaimonia, often translated as happiness (Aristotle, 350 BCE/2004).
Aristotle believed a person achieves eudaimonia when they possess all the virtues; however, acquiring them requires more than vãn studying or training. External conditions are needed that are beyond the control of individuals, especially a size of state governance that permits people đồ sộ live well.
It was Aristotle’s option that state legislators (part of Greek governance) should create laws that aim đồ sộ improve individual character, which develops along a spectrum from vicious đồ sộ virtuous. To cultivate virtue, reason is required đồ sộ discern the difference between good and bad behavior.
For more on Aristotle’s version of the good life, click out the Wireless Philosophy đoạn phim by Dr. Chris Surprenant below.
According đồ sộ Kant
Immanuel Kant was a Prussian-born German philosopher active during the Enlightenment period of the late 18th century (Scruton, 2001). He is best known for his seminal contributions đồ sộ ethics, moral philosophy, and metaphysics.
For Kant, a capacity for virtue is unique đồ sộ human beings, because the ability đồ sộ resist bodily desires requires the exercise of reason. Kant claims that human reason makes us worthy of happiness by helping us become virtuous (Kant, 1785/2012).
Kant’s argument describes the relationship between morality, reason, and freedom. One necessary condition of moral action is không tính tiền choice.
An individual’s action is freely chosen if their reasoning determines the right course of action. Conduct is not freely chosen if it is driven by bodily desires lượt thích hunger, lust, or fear, or behavioral coercion that applies rewards and punishments đồ sộ steer human actions.
For Kant, individuals should act only if they can justify their action as universally applicable, which he termed the categorical imperative (Kant, 1785/2012). He argued that all our behavioral choices can be tested against the categorical imperative đồ sộ see if they are consistent with the demands of morality. If they fail, they should be discarded.
A virtuous person must exercise reason đồ sộ identify which principles are consistent with the categorical imperative and act accordingly. However, Kant claimed that reason can only develop through education in a civilized society that has secured the external conditions required for an individual đồ sộ become virtuous.
For example, an individual who lives in fear of punishment or death lacks the freedom required đồ sộ live virtuously, therefore authoritarian societies can never produce virtuous individuals. Poverty also erodes an individual’s freedom as they will be preoccupied with securing the means of survival.
For a deeper examination of these ideas view the Wireless Philosophy đoạn phim by Dr. Chris Surprenant below.
According đồ sộ Dr. Seligman
Dr. Martin Seligman is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of positive psychology. For Seligman, the good life entails using our character strengths đồ sộ engage in activities we find intrinsically fulfilling, during work and play and in our relationships.
For Seligman, ‘the good life’ has three strands,
- Positive emotions
- Eudaimonia and flow
Dr. Seligman’s work with Christopher Peterson (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) helped đồ sộ develop the VIA system of signature strengths. When we invest our strengths in the activities of daily living, we can develop the virtues required đồ sộ live ‘the good life’; a life characterized by positive emotional states, flow, and meaning.
Here is a đoạn phim đồ sộ learn more from Dr. Seligman about how cultivating your unique strengths is essential for living the good life.
Theories About The Good Life
Theories about what constitutes the good life and how đồ sộ live it abound. This section will look at some of the most recent psychological theories about what contributes đồ sộ the good life.
Set-point theory argues that while people have fluctuating responses đồ sộ significant life events lượt thích getting married, buying a new trang chính, losing a loved one, or developing a chronic illness, we generally return đồ sộ our inner ‘set point’ of subjective wellbeing (SWB) after a few years (Diener et al., 1999). This is largely inherited and tied in with personality type.
In terms of the Big Five personality traits, those predisposed đồ sộ neuroticism will tend more toward pessimism and negative perceptions of events, while those who are more extroverted and open đồ sộ experience will tend more toward optimism.
According đồ sộ set-point theory, the efforts we make đồ sộ achieve our life goals will have little lasting effect on our overall SWB given we each have our own ‘happiness mix point’ (Lyubomirsky, 2007).
Furthermore, mix point theory suggests that there’s little we can tự for people who have been through a difficult time lượt thích losing their spouse or losing their job because they will eventually adapt and return đồ sộ their previous mix point.
This implies that helping professionals who believe they can improve people’s SWB in the longer term may be misguided. Or does it?
Xem thêm: những đứa con trong gia đình
Other research provides evidence that achieving life goals can have a direct effect on a person’s overall contentment (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2021). Specifically, pursuing non-competitive goals such as making a family, building friendships, helping others in our community, and engaging in social justice activities improve our sense of wellbeing.
On the other hand, pursuing competitive life goals lượt thích building a career and monetary wealth exclusively undermines SWB.
For set-point theory, the good life depends more on innate personality traits than vãn education. For a surprising tài khoản of this, using a practical example, view the đoạn phim below.
Typically, life satisfaction refers đồ sộ a global evaluation of what makes life worth living rather than vãn focusing on success in one area of life lượt thích a career or intimate relationship, or the fleeting sense of pleasure we often điện thoại tư vấn happiness (Suikkanen, 2011).
However, there tend đồ sộ be two dominant theories of what causes life satisfaction: bottom-up theories and top-down theories.
Bottom-up theories propose that life satisfaction is a consequence of a rounded overall sense of success in highly valued life domains. Valued life domains differ from person đồ sộ person. For a professional athlete, sporting achievement may be highly valued, while for a committed parent having a good partnership and stable family life will be super important (Suikkanen, 2011).
Of course, these are not mutually exclusive. For most people, multiple life domains matter equally. However, if we are satisfied with the areas that we value, a global sense of life satisfaction results (Suikkanen, 2011).
Top-down theories propose that our happiness set-point has a greater influence on life satisfaction than vãn goal achievement. In other words, personality traits lượt thích optimism have a positive impact on a person’s satisfaction with life regardless of external circumstances, whereas neuroticism undermines contentment.
The debate continues, and life satisfaction is likely influenced by a combination of nature and nurture as with other areas of psychology (Suikkanen, 2011). You can read an extended discussion of the evidence in our related article on life satisfaction.
So, while life satisfaction is associated with living a good life, it’s not necessarily related đồ sộ education, the exercise of reason, or the cultivation of virtues as proposed by the philosophers mentioned above. For example, a successful financial criminal may be highly satisfied with life but would be deemed a corrupt human being by such lofty philosophical standards.
Meanwhile, the concept of the hedonic treadmill proposes that no matter what happens, good or bad, a person will eventually return đồ sộ their baseline emotional state. For example, if someone gets married, moves đồ sộ a new trang chính, is promoted, loses a job, or is seriously injured in an accident, eventually, they will mặc định đồ sộ their innate mix point (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2012).
This has also been termed hedonic adaptation theory (Diener et al., 2006). It means that no matter how hard we chase happiness or try đồ sộ avoid suffering, ultimately, our innate tendencies toward pessimism or optimism return us đồ sộ our baseline level, either dysphoria or contentment (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005).
If you tend đồ sộ see the glass as half empty rather than vãn half full, don’t be discouraged, because recent research by Sheldon and Lyubomirsky (2021) acknowledges that while we each have a happiness mix point, we can also cultivate greater happiness. We’ve offered some tips in the ‘how to’ section below.
Assessing Your Quality of Life
Defining a high quality of life will differ from individual đồ sộ individual given the variety of personal values.
Nevertheless, assessing the quality of life has led đồ sộ an abundance of international research using quality of life indicators (QoLs) in a variety of scales and questionnaires (Zheng et al., 2021).
Gill and Feinstein identified at least 150 QoL assessment instruments back in the mid-1990s (Gill & Feinstein, 1994). Since then, scales have been refined đồ sộ measure the quality of life in relation đồ sộ specific health conditions, life events, and demographic factors lượt thích age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (Zheng et al., 2021).
Our article Quality of Life Questionnaires and Assessments explains this in more detail and guides you on how đồ sộ choose the best instrument for your clients.
Meanwhile, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has developed the Better Life Index đồ sộ measure how people from different demographics define a high quality of life. You can find out more in the brief đoạn phim below.
How đồ sộ Live The Good Life
How can each of us live the good life today given our array of differences? Below are five steps you can take đồ sộ clarify what the good life means đồ sộ you, and how you can apply your strengths đồ sộ mix goals that will lead đồ sộ greater fulfillment.
1. Clarify your values
Clarifying what is important đồ sộ you helps invest your life with meaning. Download our values clarification worksheet đồ sộ get started.
2. Identify valued life domains
Investing in activities in valued life domains is intrinsically rewarding. Download our valued life domains worksheet đồ sộ find out more.
3. Invest in your strengths
You can find out your character strengths by taking the không tính tiền survey here. Playing đồ sộ your strengths helps you overcome challenges and achieve your goals leading đồ sộ greater life satisfaction. Read our article about how đồ sộ apply strengths-based approaches đồ sộ living well.
4. Set valued goals
Finally, we all benefit when we mix goals and make practical plans đồ sộ achieve them. Try our setting valued goals worksheet for guidance.
5. Ensure high-quality relationships
Healthy relationships with partners, family, friends, and colleagues are essential for living the good life and achieving your goals. To assess the quality of your relationships, take a look at our article on healthy relationships with không tính tiền worksheets.
You can also look at our healthy boundaries article with more không tính tiền resources. Healthy boundaries tư vấn you in living the good life in all life domains, while poor boundaries will leave you feeling unfulfilled.
In short, values-driven engaged activities and healthy, boundaried relationships provide the foundation for human flourishing and what is called the good life.
We have an excellent selection of resources you might find useful for living the good life.
First, take a look at our Meaning & Valued Living Masterclass for positive psychology practitioners. This online masterclass follows a practical process of identifying values, investing in strengths and then applying them đồ sộ living a more fulfilled life.
In addition, we have two related articles for you đồ sộ enjoy while exploring the role of meaning in the good life:
- Realizing Your Meaning: 5 Ways đồ sộ Live a Meaningful Life
- 15 Ways đồ sộ Find Your Purpose of Life & Realize Your Meaning
Next, we have an article explaining the role of human flourishing in living the good life.
- What Is Flourishing in Positive Psychology? (+8 Tips & PDF)
Finally, we have an article on how đồ sộ apply values-driven goal-setting đồ sộ living the good life.
- How đồ sộ Set and Achieve Life Goals The Right Way
We also have worksheets you may find useful sida đồ sộ living the good life:
Our How Joined Up is Your Life? worksheet can help your client identify their interests and passions, assess how authentically they are living their life, and identify any values that remain unfulfilled.
This Writing Your Own Mission Statement worksheet can help clients capture what they stand for, their aims, and objectives. Having a personal mission statement can be useful đồ sộ return đồ sộ periodically đồ sộ assess our alignment with our values and goals.
Finally, this How đồ sộ Get What You Deserve in Life worksheet can help clients identify what they want as well as justify why they deserve a good life.
A Take-Home Message
We all want đồ sộ live the good life, whatever that means đồ sộ us individually. The concept has preoccupied human beings for millennia.
If you currently struggle, which we all tự at different times, we hope you’ll consider trying some of the science-based strategies suggested above đồ sộ steer your way through.
All the evidence we have shared above shows that you can improve your life satisfaction and subjective wellbeing by living in line with your values. But you have đồ sộ be clear about what’s important đồ sộ you.
Values-based living invests your life with more meaning and purpose and is key đồ sộ living the good life.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget đồ sộ tải về our three Positive Psychology Exercises for không tính tiền.
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- Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press.
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- Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2021). Revisiting the sustainable happiness model and pie chart: Can happiness be successfully pursued? The Journal of Positive Psychology, 16(2), 145–154.
- Suikkanen, J. (2011). An improved whole life satisfaction theory of happiness. International Journal of Wellbeing, 1(1), 149-166
- Vanderweele, T. J. (2017). On the promotion of human flourishing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(31), 8148–8156.
- West, T. G. (1979). Plato’s “Apology of Socrates”: an interpretation, with a new translation. Cornell University Press.
- Zheng, S., He, A., Yu, Y., Jiang, L., Liang, J. & Wang, Phường. (2021). Research trends and hotspots of health-related quality of life: a bibliometric analysis from 2000 đồ sộ 2019. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 19, 130.