by Dr. Wendy O'Connor, Positive Psychologist + Life Strategist for Women

Happiness Deconstructed Part 2: Feeling Engaged in Your Life

Now that you've mastered the importance of creating and savoring positive emotions, we move on to our next step in building happiness: engagement. But what is it and why is this an integral piece of the puzzle? Engagement is about being completely absorbed and fully attentive in an activity. One way to look at it is being in a state of flow, which I'm sure you've heard of by now. This is when the activity you're engaged in is so gratifying that you do it for its own sake. It can be a work or personal activity, like a hobby. For example, playing an instrument, dancing, knitting, reading a book, etc. The activity is usually something you love to do or are good at. You might lose track of time or feel like time just flew by. Can you think of the last time you felt engaged? What were you doing, how did it feel, why did you love it?


Engagement isn't only about the flow states we get into. It also includes simply being present. You can be fully engaged in a conversation with someone, or fully present and engaged in a moment in time (watching your children play, watching the sunset, listening to a hilarious joke). When was the last time you were fully present in a small moment in your day?


We need engagement to feel happy and fulfilled. It is the second tool of the six most important components to happiness according to the PERMA-V model. This model, developed by positive psychologist Martin Seligman, outlines the most critical pieces of the happiness pie. And number two is engagement. So, how can we have more of this in our lives? Listen up.


Learn your strengths. Knowing your strengths and bringing them to light in your daily life will provide you with opportunities to naturally create more engaging activities. For example, one of my top strengths is appreciation of beauty and excellence, so making time to get out in nature is an easy (and critical) opportunity for me to feel fully present and engaged in my life. What are your strengths? Hiring a coach to keep you accountable to living in line with your strengths, values, and interests will allow you to create the happiness that you so desire in your life at a MUCH quicker pace.


In addition to strengths you must identify your interests. What hobbies and activities excite you, which ones would you so look forward to if they were on your calendar? What do you enjoy doing with your time? These activities might be easy to identify or they might be something from your distant past. Either way write some ideas down in your journal and set aside weekly (maybe even daily!) time to engage in these activities.


Nothing changes if nothing changes, ladies. In order to be more engaged in your life and reap the benefits of this transformative practice you must create change. Making the commitment on a daily basis to be more present in conversations and activities as well as setting aside the time to do what you love will be a complete game changer for your life fulfillment.


PS If this resonates with you and you're wondering how to really nail this practice message me. I'm always here to answer your questions! wendy@drwendyoconnor.com and make sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook. Make it a great day ladies. :)

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