Are you thinking this is a strange topic for a legally inclined blog? Perhaps it isn’t…
Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine featured an article titled Happiness 101, addressing the field of positive psychology. As described on U Penn’s website Authentic Happiness, positive psychology is the field founded by Dr. Martin Seligman that:
focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions. His research has demonstrated that it is possible to be happier — to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances. Positive psychology interventions can also lastingly decrease depression symptoms.
Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?
Stephanie West Allen has collected many references that promote positivity and the pursuit of happiness and examine the greater success enjoyed by happy lawyers. Bob Sutton (author of the forthcoming book The No Asshole Rule, which I’ll be reviewing in the next few days) has suggested that smiling can make you happier and encouraging others to smile can cut down on asshole behavior.
If you haven’t done so yet, do check out the list of “Lawyers Appreciate…” posts for a positive look at the law and those who practice it.
I invite your comments about the relationship between happiness and your professional success/satisfaction.