Quality of Life Therapy: How to Be Happy

What the Latest Science Tells Us About How to Build a Life of Meaning, Happiness, and Joy

The Meaningful Life Project™ aims to enhance the quality of life of the general public by sharing what science tells us about how to how to build a life of happiness, meaning, and joy. It further aims to promote science as a vocation in the young and old alike.

It seeks to enhance learning and to make it intrinsically satisfying by translating scientific findings into easy-to-understand language, prescriptions for living, enjoyable games and exercises, and compelling video documentaries of the leaders in the field.

Step One in building a meaningful life, a better life or BEST LIFE for you and your friends and loved ones:

  • Get a physical exam from a primary care physician
  • It is frightening and sad, how many have suffered for years with unhappiness, only to find that a medical condition or medication side effect was responsible!!!!
  • If you fear a psychiatric or psychological disorder, a qualified mental health professional can assess you. Still, as part of their assessment, they will want to talk to your primary care physician about your recent physical exams.

How to Assess Yourself And Get Help For Clinical Depression And Anxiety:

  • In an emergency, you can always call 911 and/or go to the nearest emergency room of a local hospital.
  • Go to adaa.org and take the tests for clinical depression and anxiety.
  • If you are really clinically depressed or anxious, get the dynamic duo of help that really works: 1. research-supported medication—from a psychiatrist expert and 2. research-supported psychotherapy such as Beck’s cognitive therapy that has been proven effective in hundreds of clinical trials around the world. Find a therapist with supervised experience in a research-supported psychotherapy. They should have a great reputation in the community for treating the problem. They should also be able to prove their supervised experience to you with a certificate and actual research studies showing that the approach works… Note: Be wary of nutrition supplements or therapists who claim years of experience and success without research proof for their approach. This can be like taking a seaweed pill or primal scream therapy for pneumonia, instead of a proven antibiotic that starts to work immediately! Not sure what you want to do when you grow up?

Getting Started: Theory and first Techniques

After genetic factors like your temperament which you inherit from your parents—are you a sweetheart, a grump, or something in between, Quality of Life Theory says that your overall happiness is made up of your satisfactions with specific areas of life. That is, happiness is the sum of satisfactions in areas of life you care about. People are given tools for reaching goals and boosting satisfaction in any one of the 16 specific areas of life in order to enhance overall contentment or quality of life.

Here is a Happiness Pie showing the happiness ingredients of someone trying to be happier:

Meaningful Life Project Graph

Your Higher Purposes And Lifetime Goals. Positive Psychology Coaching starts with a quality of life and higher purpose (or goal) assessment. First, we want to see how happy you are related to the general population and which areas of your life need improvement.

Secondly, we also want to know your higher purpose or purposes in life. These are long-term Goals and Values that are really important to you, including career goals, family and relationship goals, and spiritual goals.

We must have some lifetime or long-term goals like the characters played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in the movie, The Bucket List who write down goals to accomplish before they die or “kick the bucket.”

How to Generate a List of Your Most Cherished Needs, Goals, and Wishes: Growth Exercises

Quality of Life Therapy has some cool ways to help you make your own Bucket List and identify your most cherished needs, goals, and wishes. These tools include the Happiness Pie pictured above and Vision Quest (both in the Quality of Life Therapy book along with 212 other exercises available as downloadable and editable Word documents), or the computer-based, Quality of Life Inventory or QOLI® which anyone can take and which may predict job satisfaction and success in college one to five years in advance.

Quality of Life Inventory (QOLI)
Happiness House (.doc)

Stay busy pursuing your goals on a daily basis

Having goals and a purpose in life is essential to happiness. Also essential is a daily plan of activities designed to make our life list happen, to make our dreams become a reality. Recent research suggests that goals that are non-competitive and are service, relationship or hobby oriented may be very important to a life of meaning or happiness.

Happiness Boosting Philosophy of Life

Positive Psychology Coaching never dictates goals or values. Still, in terms of goals, it helps to make meaning or happiness a priority in your life, if only to make you more able to help others. It also helps to cultivate happiness habits that work and avoid all influences that rob you of a sense of optimism and belief in yourself. We never give up on ourselves in Quality Of Life Therapy and Quality of Life Therapy. Finally, it helps to make the leap of faith that “meanings are like buses; there is always another one coming around the corner.” That is, no setback, failure, loss, illness, or disability has to defeat you. Even those paralyzed by terrible accidents have found happiness and ways to engage life and serve others in a happy and fulfilling way. This concept is called meaning optimism. In qolt-ullc, we stay optimistic that we can find meaning and purpose in life no matter what happens to us.

According to Quality of Life Therapy, life should be your lover, something you embrace every day and have fun with. As the play says, “life is a banquet and most of us are starving!” Positive Psychology Coaching helps you dive in and enjoy the banquet of life.

Inner Abundance technique

One of the first techniques in ullc or qoltc is Inner Abundance or Chill Pill Time. You must care for yourself enough to get calm, relaxed, and centered in a way that works for you. With time, you will find a consistent or semi-reliable way to access your center of calm, the calm self, or what some religious traditions call, the God within. This Calm Self response is part of our makeup as much as the Fight or Flight (tend or befriend, freeze, or faint) response. This me time to relax and unwind is needed to de-stress from life, recharge your batteries, set cherished goals, and problem solve about ways to become more satisfied with life, including ways to help or serve others:
Inner Abundance means feeling deeply calm, rested, centered, loving, alert, and ready to meet the challenges of your day and your life after caring for yourself in a thoughtful, loving, compassionate, and comprehensive way. When you do the very best for you, there is a lot more of you available for other people and activities. We must feel centered, calm, and good on the inside, hence the “inner” of Inner Abundance, to serve others or to pursue happiness in any of the areas of life in Quality of Life Therapy. Being good at self-care means putting time, effort, and thinking into what renews you each day and then making time to do it. Above all, Inner Abundance relies on routines, that is, overlearned actions or Happiness Habits that require no thinking.

Finding a Career and Job

Growth Exercises

After Inner Abundance is discussed, Quality of Life Therapy immediately teaches proven and tested pathways to your lifetime goals. That is you will apply the latest in positive psychology (the science of happiness) and to help you fulfill your most cherished needs, goals, and wishes in valued areas of life. Goals related to particular areas of dis-satisfaction such as Spiritual Life, Work, or Retirement are especially important to tackle.

After learning and playing with other positive psychology exercises and strategies for each of your areas of dis-satisfaction, you will be ready for the last part of your Happiness Program. Here you simply re-check your happiness level and progress toward the goals you have set for yourself. If the Happiness Program is working, you’re done (except for tips on relapse prevention so you don’t backslide into habits of un-happiness). If there is a problem, qoltc/ullc wants you to face it directly and fine-tune or re-work your Happiness program until you get the results you want.

String of Pearls Intervention

For a quick improvement in contentment, the String of Pearls intervention is popular and easy to remember: The String of Pearls says that the goal each day is to be mindful of every social interaction; paying attention as one interaction starts, unfolds, stops, and another beings. With each interaction try to do no harm in terms of being surly or rude or ignoring others—Besides doing no harm, try to be kind and responsive in each of your daily interaction. If you are kind, you can judge that interaction as a positive pearl for your necklace for the day. It matters not if others always respond to these pearls of kindness; the pearls are counted even if the other person is too grumpy to accept them.

String of Pearls is meant to become a habit of kindness toward others in every interaction. This principle will become a no brainer, something we do without thinking that will build deep bonds with those we see on a regular basis (see Favor Bank) and will make us feel good about how we treat strangers. String of Pearls will also eliminate guilt from being rude or dismissive to others. As the How Kind and Serve Others tenet say, being kind and decent is the essential fruit of most spiritual practices and is something that will brighten our day, increase our enjoyment and satisfaction with life and ourselves, and make the world a better place for others whose paths we cross.


Additional Growth Exercises:

Consider a Life in Science. You’ll be glad you did!