Via Brain Pickings, I managed to navigate my way to Dr. Martin Seligman’s 2004 TED talk on positive psychology (above). I’ve been spending a lot of time in this space, as I continue to see the importance of life satisfaction as a critical strategy to avoid overeating.
Seligman’s talk is particularly good for a couple of reasons. One, it points out that life satisfaction is not chiefly about what he calls “Hollywood happiness” … i.e., the pursuit of pleasure.
For Seligman, the three dimensions of life satisfaction include the pleasant life (pursuit of happiness or other positive states), the good life (pursuit of engagement, a la Csikszentmihalyi’s flow), and the meaningful life (using one’s strengths in service of others), where:
life satisfaction = positive emotion + engagement + meaning
He also points out that there is a big difference in relieving misery and building happiness. I think this is key for folks struggling with food issues. Eating real whole foods will certainly assist greatly with the pain of cravings, but it’s really just a foundation from which you can find your own path to happiness and satisfaction.
For more, visit Seligman’s Authentic Happiness page at Penn.