Happiness: New Pathways to Health & success


Dr. Mustafa Nadeem Kirmani
Associate Professor
Amity Institute of Clinical Psychology
Amity University Gurugram

Happiness: New Pathways to Health & Success

There was a time when it was considered that good health leads to feelings of happiness. The current work in medical and clinical psychology has shown the reverse that happier people are healthier. It becomes, therefore, necessary that people should be trained in skills to achieve happiness.

The following section discusses the various strategies to enhance happiness.

Building Positive Emotions

Savoring Technique

Savoring involves bringing conscious awareness to pleasurable momentary experiences, along with the attempt to make these experiences last. Savouring can be increased by

  • Taking time out from everyday activity to savor
  • Becoming more open to experiences that could potentially be savored and
  • Attempting to narrow one’s focus to the positive, pleasurable aspects of life

Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM)

In LKM, individuals are first directed to think of a person that they already hold positive and have compassionate feelings toward. The meditative practice then guides participants to extend those feelings first toward themselves and then toward others radiating first to those closely connected to them and moving out toward all people. This can be accomplished through imagery or phrases.


It is the appreciation experienced by individuals when somebody does something kind or helpful for them. It has been defined more specifically as “a sense of thankfulness and joy in response to receiving a gift, whether the gift is a tangible benefit from a specific other or a moment of peaceful bliss evoked by natural beauty. One is often known as “gratitude journaling”. It refers to the practice of writing about the things, both big and small that one is thankful for. Other important gratitude building exercise is maintaining record of “Three Good Things” in which the individual keeps a nightly journal of positive events and speculates as to their cause and the “Gratitude Visit” in which the individual writes a letter to someone they wish to thank detailing their gratitude and reads the letter out loud to the recipient.

Building Engagement

“Engagement” is marked by absorption, social engagement and flow. Flow refers to the state of complete absorption in a single activity that is challenging, yet appropriate for one’s level of skill. Flow is a state in which time stops for an individual. There are three techniques to build Engagement in an individual. These are

  • Using one’s signature strengths: Signature strengths are positive traits that an individual possesses, celebrates and continually display which includes wisdom, forgiveness, being kind to others etc.
  • Engaging in social connections: Engagement and relationships go hand in hand. Individuals often report that relationships are a primary source of engagement in their lives and experiencing engagement with others is a predictor of relationship satisfaction. One exercise designed to build social engagement is active-constructive responding. Couples and spouses who use more active-constructive responding are more satisfied with their relationships and are less likely to break up in their relationships. Let us see an example of job promotion and active-constructive responding.

  • “That is great news! I am so happy for you! It is because of your sincere and committed efforts! We should go out to dinner and celebrate the occasion!”
    Another technique for increasing social engagement is “acts of kindness”.

  • Building Meaning and Purpose in Life: “Meaning and purpose in life” entails the connection to positive institutions such as families, schools, communities and societies. Meaning in life provides clear goals and values for one to pursue and imbues actions with purpose.


Happiness has become an important pathway to people’s success and well-being. It has become very important that individuals, groups and communities be trained in the skills of achieving happiness. There is a need that the policy makers and Government need to focus on this area and target college youths and employees as it has significant health and social implications.

Amity Institute of Clinical Psychology