Life Satisfaction Enhancement

Researchers have spent decades investigating how people become miserable: depressed, anxious, angry, guilt-ridden, and so on. The goal has been to alleviate some of the suffering caused by these states.

But what if you achieve a state of "not particularly depressed"? How do you go beyond "just barely good enough" to "better than well"? What puts people in the top 10% in terms of life satisfaction? It is only recently that a substantial number of researchers have turned their attention to these questions.

Some of the answers are no great surprise. The road to happiness is, in many cases, the opposite of the road to misery. If isolation is a cause of misery, social involvement is generally a route toward happiness. As well, many of the treatment strategies that help to overcome depression (exercise, bright light, a balanced diet) also help nondepressed people feel even better.

Some strategies, however, are less obvious. It appears, for example, that social support is very helpful for people overcoming depression. Once they are no longer depressed, however, additional social support isn't particularly helpful. So what helps? GIVING social support to others.

Happiness enhancement is a specialized type of coaching. Drags on your life enjoyment are identified, and strategies to overcome these are laid out. Then specific strategies designed to enhance enjoyment are described and put into action. We monitor how you feel over time and correct or alter strategies as needed.

This type of work generally begins with weekly sessions, but can progress to less frequent meetings if desired. We typically begin with a set of five to eight meetings, then client and therapist working together decide whether to add additional sessions.