The pursuit of happiness is a well known term. Pursuing happiness is also being called the ultimate life goal of a human being. Everyone wants to be happy, but how do you get a happy life?

The Pleasant, the Good and the Meaningful

Happiness is different for everyone. Martin Seligman, a renowned psychologist who has done research on happiness, describes happiness as life satisfaction. According to Seligman, there are three kinds of lives that determine life satisfaction:

  • The Pleasant Life
  • The Good Life
  • The Meaningful Life

The Pleasant Life is about being able to enjoy and value basic pleasures like friendship, the environment and bodily needs. Positively experiencing the present is a central element, while the past is a period to learn from and the future is something to be viewed as optimistic. You should live from day to day and consciously enjoy every experience. Even the little things!

The Good Life is about discovering your strengths and creatively employing them to enhance your life. Are you social, creative or decisive? Do something with it! According to Seligman, there are 24 strengths. If you actively develop them they can evolve to one of the six virtues. These virtues are strongly associated with life satisfaction. So you should improve the things you are good at and in that way you could become happier!

The Meaningful Life is about the search for the deep sense of fulfilment by using your strength for a greater good. It is about sacrificing yourself to be of help for others. Doing something for someone else can give you a strong sense of happiness!

How do I become happy?

Take a second to think about your own values. Are you someone that enjoys life from day to day? Or do you want to utilise your strength to the max? Are you someone that wants to mean something to others? Or maybe you are all three of those! The three kinds of life can exist next to each other and do not exclude each other, but you do not necessarily have to become happy by all three of them.

Take a second to think about what makes you feel good and what you can do to improve it. Do not force yourself to become happy by looking at others! Maybe others become happy by going on a spiritual journey through the jungle to discover themselves, but you will maybe become happy by surrounding yourself with the people you love. Research has shown that people will only become happy living a meaningful life when they were actually searching for it. It is different for everyone!


Take a few minutes to think about which aspects in life you value the most. What can you improve? Pay more attention to becoming aware of positive experiences. Set a goal to develop your strength into a virtue and start taking steps to reach it. Or do something for others by for example volunteering. Or all three of those! In the NiceDay app, register which steps you are taking and how they make you feel.

Tags: Happiness
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Wouter Schippers

Hey, I am Wouter. I'm a NiceDay coach and psychologist. I like to play football and to make electronic music.

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