You are on page 1of 6

c c Sophia Sandhu

Dr. Ansley LaMar


Intro to Psychology
Book Summary
c c

 ccc
c

What exactly is Happiness? Is Happiness when you have millions of dollars or when you

can have control over anything or anyone? According to Wikipedia happiness is a state of mind

or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. Positive Psychology

researchers have done tons of research to figure out how we become happy and in particular the

book ÷ 

 by Dr. Martin E. Seligman has really broken down what happiness is

and how we can successfully achieve it. Happiness is one of the most important aspects of life

and a majority of people overlook happiness and its importance. When we reach true happiness

everything about our life is enhanced, health improves, we have a better chance at getting

promoted, we have more friends, and life is more meaningful.

The past, present and future are three very important states that will ensure happiness if

we are at ease with each state. The way a person feels about their past affects their overall level

of happiness greatly. I want to begin with the past, and some emotions that range about the past

are contentment, serenity, pride, satisfaction, unrelieved bitterness and vengeful anger. These

positive and negative emotions link back to our past. When a person has unresolved issues

steaming from a past it causes depression and it is so much easier to have sad memories verses

happy memories. For example, when I was depressed about my past it was so simple for me to

not be happy and hold on to my past memories and dwell on them. It was almost like I did not

want to be happy. According to Dr. Seligman the only way to change your thoughts about the

past is to address the problem and forgive, forget, or to suppress the memory. It is suggested that

the best option would be to forgive the person responsible for making you so miserable. I also

agree with Dr. Seligman that forgiving is the best option because I personally tried that and it
c c  c

works. There is an effective process that has been put together by Dr.Everett Worthington a

psychologist who has researched forgiveness since 1990. He has developed a five step process

that is called REACH. The REACH process will help a person to forgive the perpetrator. First,

the letter 0 stands for › , recalls the event as calmly as possible andtryto stay relaxed and

focuDo not see the person who is causing you pain as an evil person. Next,c stands for


 . Try to realize why the person did what they did. This is extremely hard to do but a

majority of the time people who hurt other¶s are usually in a state of hurt themselves. The letter

÷ stands for ›   or selfless act of giving to someone else. A person should think of a time

that they were ashamed of something they did and were later forgiven. If another person had the

ability to forgive, then we should try to as well. After that comes G, commit we should write

about the experience or tell a close trusted friend or even write a letter of forgiveness. At last,

comes , H stands for hold, hold onto forgiveness. This is a hard step because memories can

never be erased forever. They are bound to reoccur at some point, but always remind yourself

why you have forgiven. This process is very effective if carried out properly and a real effort is

made to do it. It is not an easy process. Lastly do not believe that your past holds your future.

Our future becomes what we make it.

Moreover, let¶s move to the future. The Future is extremely important because we should

be optimistic about the future and what is going to come ahead for us. Dr. Seligman states that,

³people who give up easily believe the causes of those bad events that happened to them are

permanent- the bad events will persist, are always going to be there, to affect their lives. People

who resist helplessness believe the causes of bad events are temporary.´ I really like the way Dr.

Seligman explains this. It makes me think back to a quote, ³Even in the darkest of times, there is

always a ray of hope´. Also the way we talk reveals if we are optimistic or pessimistic. For
c c  c c c
cc
c
c
example, if a person uses ³always´ or ³´never´ in negative terms, the person is a permanent

pessimistic. Whereas, optimistic people refer to good events in their lives with permanent

characteristics and associate whatever good happened with them.

Furthermore, Happiness in the present is important because being happy in the present

ties to the past and future. If we are unhappy or disturbed with our past it affects how we behave

and act in the present and we are not happy now how are we going to be optimistic about the

future and set goals to achieve. Once we have dealt with the past and are optimistic about the

future there are two components that make up present happiness. First,
 ›, ³pleasures are

delights that have clear sensory and strong emotional components, what philosophers call ³raw

feels´: ecstasy, thrills, orgasm, delight, mirth, exuberance, and comfort.´ states Seligman.

Second is ›  , gratification is activities that we do that we enjoy thoroughly. We enjoy

doing it so much that we become completely preoccupied with it. Gratifications last much longer

than pleasure and we are required to think about it and it challenges us. Also in achieving present

happiness we should take time to savor things in life that we enjoy and sometimes overlook. We

live in an age where technology has sped up the pace of life significantly. We need to stop and

take a deep breath and savor life and it will be even better when we do this with a close friend or

loved one.

In addition to the three realms of happiness I have discussed we should identify our

talents and build on positive strengths. A few to name would be honesty, kindness, courage, and

fairness. Talent is different if you¶re born with speed or a perfect voice you got lucky but it is

something you can work on and improve if you have it but the strengths are something that

anyone can have if you build upon it. For example, honesty and kindness is something that can

never be taken away from you and you will always be praised for. It makes you feel so good
c c  c

when you do the right thing and then you are recognized for it, and not only that it¶s a personal

achievement. I will never forget the day I went to the bank and when I was leaving and I

happened to look down and see a bank envelope. It was a thick envelope with fifty dollar bills in

it. I picked it up and I looked around to see if someone was walking down the block or if

someone was looking for an envelope. There was absolutely none anywhere. I could have taken

the envelope and kept it but all I kept think was I have to find the rightful owner because what if

it was a mortgage payment or someone¶s tuition? Whatever it was for it wasn¶t mine. So I

walked in to the bank and told the manager and they were able to figure out who the owner was

by the amount of money. I was paid a visit a few days later from the man who lost the money he

was beaming and was so happy I returned his money. He gave me twenty dollars which I tried to

refuse but he insisted. I said, ³Sir, it was yours, all I did as return it´. We feel extremely good

when we do these types of things because we choose to return it when we could have easily

pocketed it. Everyone should have a strong sense of morals and virtues.

Additionally, another factor that can truly make us happy is marriage. A good and strong

marriage has countless benefits. According to Dr. Seligman there are three types of love. First is

love of the people who is us comfort, second is we love people who depend on us when they

need comfort, and third is people who up our confidence and help guide us. Now marriage gives

all of the types of love and thus making it successful. Many people believe that a marriage is

something that has been made up by culture and now has become the norm but, we humans are

predisposed to have children. The wedding rituals and extravagance that goes in to weddings has

become a cultural norm by society but there is a need to have children. Also, women who have

balanced sexual relations tend to ovulate regularly and also continue to ovulate when they hit

middle age.
c c  c c c
cc
c
c
Finally, In Summation Authentic Happiness is not exactly something easy to achieve but

it¶s definitely not out of our reach. People have a much better chance of being authentically

happy if we can deal with the demons of our past and have a positive outlook on what is to come

in the future. Once we successfully let go of the past and take the positive that came out of it and

focus on the future we will automatically be in the present. Life is very unpredictable and we will

always encounter hurdles that will hold us back for a little bit, but we need to realize that¶s a part

of life and always try to keep a positive attitude. Being happy does not mean that everything is

going to be perfect; we have to focus on our strengths and keep our head up high. The REACH

process is a very effective way to start the struggle to reach authentic happiness. When we

forgive what happened in the past ad we also forgive the person responsible we will be able to let

go and move in the right direction.

I choose to read this book because Authentic Happiness is something I have yet to find. I

hope to apply the concepts that I have learned to my own life and improve my state of happiness.

As you already know I have applied a form of the REACH process to my life already with your

help and it significantly helped me. I had a huge unresolved issue from my past. My past may

have affected me for a lifetime but it does not have to be a part of my future. Like I said before,

³Even in the darkest of times, there is always a ray of hope´, we have to keep faith and focus on

the positive in our lives. I want to apply this to myself and be happy and help other people

around me be happy. Also I want to be successful teacher in the future. If I want to be teacher I

believe it is very important to be happy and have a positive influence on my students. IF I¶m

miserable I¶m sure it will affect the way I teach and how the students perceive me.
c c  c

Grade: ÷c

c c

I give this book by Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman an A because I feel the way that is book is

broken down into different sections makes it beneficial to the reader. The book is easy to follow

and approaches the issue form two different perspectives that seem to work well together.

Dr.Selgman provides both scientific research and sentimental information at the same time. The

book is a very good self help resource and can truly help people to improve in their lives and be

more happy and positive. This book does not just talk about what happiness is but it talks about

how we can achieve it and different steps we have to take. I believe if a person is really

determined they can be significantly happier with their lives. Also, the book has an assortment of

different example that helps people to understand the concept. The book also provides a

happiness formula and there are clear steps given to reach authentic happiness. Everything is

explained clearly in the book. Moreover the book provides a number of different quizzes to help

determine different thing different things about ourselves and also where we stand. I would

definitely recommend that everyone read this and because we all can improve something in our

lives that cam make us happier individuals. There is an immense amount of valuable knowledge

that can benefit anyone.