Article Archive

April 2019 (6)

March 2019 (2)

February 2019 (18)

January 2019 (3)

December 2018 (7)

November 2018 (2)

October 2018 (4)

September 2018 (1)

August 2018 (2)

July 2018 (2)

June 2018 (2)

May 2018 (8)

April 2018 (3)

March 2018 (4)

February 2018 (2)

January 2018 (6)

December 2017 (1)

November 2017 (9)

October 2017 (8)

September 2017 (4)

August 2017 (4)

July 2017 (4)

June 2017 (1)

May 2017 (3)

April 2017 (4)

March 2017 (1)

February 2017 (2)

January 2017 (1)

December 2016 (5)

November 2016 (3)

October 2016 (5)

September 2016 (7)

August 2016 (5)

July 2016 (2)

June 2016 (1)

May 2016 (2)

April 2016 (8)

March 2016 (16)

February 2016 (2)

January 2016 (19)

December 2015 (7)

November 2015 (30)

October 2015 (47)

September 2015 (39)

August 2015 (33)

July 2015 (59)

This Week's Top Stories

  1. Nail biting: not just a habit
  2. Addiction: Root causes and road to recovery through homeopathic treatment
  3. Anxiety, Panic & Claustrophobia: Case Study, Alison
  4. Reiki: A Natural Healing System for Health and Wellbeing
  5. Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway!
  6. Letting Go of Struggle.
  7. Menopause: Did you know the following Healthy Eating tips may help ease your symptoms?
  8. What is Traditional Chinese Medicine and how does it work?
  9. Understanding and Managing Severe Anxiety
  10. Energy Toxins - Almost impossible to avoid!
Veronica  Grigore

Satisfaction in life: the ultimate algorithm

Posted by Veronica  Grigore

1380 Days Ago

Is there such a recipe that we can follow to increase the likelihood of being satisfied in life generally?

Also known as happiness or being happy, or state of contentment, satisfaction in life is something we all strive to achieve or experience. These notes will focus on activities as a primary source of contentment.

Initially understood as a cumulative sense of pleasure and achievement, satisfaction became the target of the CBT therapy through activity scheduling and behavioural activation. The research and literature refer to satisfaction in life as a combination of pleasurable and meaningful activities. We can therefore define satisfaction as a function of the two experiences, the sense of pleasure and the sense of meaning.

Satisfaction in life = sense of pleasure + sense of meaning

What follows from here is that if we want to increase satisfaction in life we have to work towards increasing both senses of pleasure and meaning.

Unfortunately, there is a trick upon its sleeve in that these two senses work together like 'a fluid in a container'. The more pleasure we experience, the less meaning we have in life. The more meaningful activities we engage with the more we compromise on our sense of pleasure. Any over-investment in one or the other will disrupt the satisfaction. Otherwise it would be true that people who pursue drugs will be the most satisfied. Indulging oneself in pleasurable activities and living the life of hedonism does not seem to guarantee satisfaction or happiness.

Although pleasure and meaningfulness go together there is a great deal of evidence to suggest ways in which they differ:

As pleasure is a short lived feeling, no wonder that we need more and more in order to feel contained. Eating cakes, chocolate, having a cup of tea/coffee, being in the sunshine, buying something, drinking are short lived pleasurable activities. When these are used in moderation, there is no need to change things. The problem arises when they are used as a way of coping with negative feelings. Not rarely we find ourselves comfort eating when under stress. Buying clothes has become more and more an unhealthy style of coping, if its costs outweigh the benefits. When we find ourselves booking a holiday on the immediate return from one, maybe it is time for us to consider and make changes about the way we live our lives.

Engagement with meaningful activities will lead to more prolonged feelings, which are more powerful and intense. They are linked to one's values in life and normally take time, effort and investment: being a good mother to the children, having success in career, being loyal to family members, being creative, being responsible and so on. However these investments are not guaranteed and are often accompanied by unhappiness and other negative feelings: hurt, anger, disappointment.

As the list of pleasurable and meaningful activities is idiosyncratic, specific to the individual it is impossible to compile a comprehensive list that we could simply tick.

From my clinical experience, people who describe themselves as engaged primarily in meaningful activities do a lot of thinking, think more about their past and future, put pleasurable activities on hold. Similarly people engaged primarily with pleasurable activities tend to procrastinate with important matters in life.

The moral of these notes is that pursuing satisfaction in a short lived way tends to compromise on the general satisfaction in life as an important ingredient is missing. At the same time an over-investment in meaningful activities to the detriment of pleasure evokes in us the same general dissatisfaction. And to conclude this line of argument it seems that we are better off having meaningful activities punctuated by pleasurable ones, which is nothing but an investment with benefits short and long term.

Veronica  Grigore

Article written by Veronica  Grigore  - Brighton

I am a cognitive behavioural therapist (CBT therapist) specialised in the treatment of depression and anxiety related problems. I have thousands of hours of clinical experience of working in NHS. I am also reaching out to people who do not have a disorder or suffer from a mental health problem, but... [read more]

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

View Profile

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

© Find a Private Tutor Ltd, 2019 / View our Privacy Policy / Website by Simon Hix.