There are three types of happiness.

Giving us three ways to aim our self-care! Plus a few plugs for some upcoming opportunities and a lesson about not always following our brain.

Two characters from How I Met Your Mother jump up and down on a bed in celebration as one sprays a champagne bottle.

The three types of happiness*

*except to be sciencey this is called “subjective well-being”

Preparing for a recent lecture on happiness, I learned that researchers in positive psychology divide happiness into three sources of subjective well-being.

Why is that so fantastic? Well, imagine this crap scenario: There is only one successful path to happiness, and it’s inaccessible to you. Wow, you would be… well, SOL.

Here is a summary of the types, examples, and causes. (Adapted from:

What does this mean for self-care?

When I saw this table, I noted the parallels with self-care. Just like there is no one way to do self-care, there is no one way to pursue happiness!

This breakdown explains how we need to target our self-care to particular forms of well-being and, at the same time, why certain forms of self-care are less effective for us than others.

For example, I outlined how I fit self-care into daily life in a recent post. I included my why for a lot of those choices. Sharp eyes might have noticed that many of my choices are designed to limit specific negative experiences (anger, being rushed, anxiety). I was doing less, at that moment in my life, to experience positive emotions. This was a conscious choice to prioritize reducing negative affect as a base for my wellness. I’ve since moved into a phase where I am focusing more on experiencing positive emotions (calm, joy, excitement, contentment). I’ve noticed this allows me to be more grateful for what I have – my life satisfaction feels higher too.

Looking at these forms of happiness, do you think it might be helpful to prioritize one over the others, with your self-care?

What else is new around here?

I am involved in lots of cool opportunities that deserve a little plug! First, I’ll be part of the JCCAP Future Directions Forum in July in Regina, SK. If you are an early career researcher in psychology, check it out. We are planning a lot of cool self-care and work/life balance-related content. Second, RESOLVE SK and USask are cohosting a continuing education opportunity for mental health clinicians to build capacity in Indigenous intercultural competence. I’ve been learning from and working with an Indigenous Advisory Committee on this project and it’s been deeply meaningful. Still practicing rest here – I recently read a novel that was so good I easily worked in multiple 15-min breaks in my work day to wind down and read some. (Darynda Jones’ A Bad Day for Sunshine).

Last, I have been experimenting with the mantra, “Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I should.” My brain loves presenting many fantastic ideas, which is great but also a starting point for doing too many things. I am practicing allowing the ideas to flow through me without committing to them.

In self-care solidarity,


P. S. There will be a mail out coming soon just for grad students about the potential launch of something just for you. Stay tuned!