This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007


Relationship between life satisfaction, grit, happiness and sukha: An exploration into similarity between concepts in Positive psychology and Indian thought

Kamlesh Singh & Shalini Duggal — IIT Delhi, Delhi


The concepts of Enduring level of Happiness and Life Satisfaction as given in Positive Psychology appear to have a close relationship with the Buddhist notion of Sukha. Enduring Happiness described by Positive Psychology is contrasted with momentary bursts of positive feelings (Seligman, 2002). It refers to a more general level of happiness and for the purpose of this study was assessed using the General Happiness Scale. (Lyubomirsky & Lepper, 1999). The notion of Sukha also appears to have a close relationship with the concept of Life Satisfaction as measured by the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985). The SWLS measures one’s evaluation of satisfaction with life in general. According to Ekman, Davidson, Ricard, Wallace, (2005), Sukha, described in Buddhist tradition refers to “an enduring trait that arises from a mind in a state of equilibrium and entails a conceptually unstructured and unfiltered awareness of the true nature of reality. Buddhists believe that the radical transformation of consciousness necessary to realize Sukha can occur by sustained training in attention, emotional balance, and mindfulness, so that one can learn to distinguish between the way things are as they appear to the senses and the conceptual superimpositions one projects upon them”. Thus, the path to the attainment to Sukha as stated above seems to be through perseverance. In this respect, there seems to be a correlation between Grit, which refers to the character strength of perseverance described in Positive Psychology. The concepts of Grit, Happiness and Life Satisfaction are significantly positively correlated was found through using sample of 254 undergraduate students of Technology.

This study helps us draw some important inferences regarding the underlying similarity of concepts in Positive Psychology and Indian thought as elucidated here through references to Buddhist Literature.

Email the author, Ms. Shalini Duggal Jha, at