In Search of the Meaning of Happiness through Flow and Spirituality

By Christy Teranishi Martinez and Crista Scott.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 11, 2014 $US5.00

The present study examines the relationship between flow, spirituality, and happiness across diverse activity settings. One hundred and forty-five participants (71 female, 74 male) completed a survey assessing the activity setting (artistic/athletic/academic), the nine dimensions of flow (Jackson & Marsh’s Flow State Scale, 1996), spirituality (Hatch, Spring, Ritz, & Burg’s Spirituality Involvement and Beliefs Scale-R, 2006), and subjective happiness (Lyubomirsky & Lepper’s Subjective Happiness Scale, 1999). Hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that participating in athletic activities, having balance between challenge and skills, and being more spiritual contributed to greater happiness. Spirituality was the greatest predictor of happiness over and above the level of flow and the activity setting. If spirituality enriches meaning making, findings suggest that engaging in a meaningful activity may be more important to finding happiness than the type of activity or level of engagement.

Keywords: Flow, Spirituality, Happiness, Well-being

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, May 2014, pp.37-49. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 11, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 462.599KB)).

Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez

Associate Professor, Psychology, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA, USA

Through her research, Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez has found that we develop our identities over time and across contexts of family, school, peers, work, and neighborhoods. She emphasizes the importance of experiential learning and teaches international study abroad courses in Guanajuato, México, the Sacred Valley, Peru, and Japan. She is strongly committed to broadening students’ horizons so they have a heightened understanding of the importance of multiculturalism and diversity in our society. She promotes the teacher-scholar model, integrating her research interests focused on positive psychology, flow, and intimate partner violence into the courses she teaches. She balances her family, work, and healthy lifestyle with the love and support of her husband, Daniel, and by running on the beach with her baby, Hayden, and her dog, Goldilocks.

Crista Scott

California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA, USA

Over the past five years, Crista Scott has focused on athletes’ flow and happiness through her undergraduate and graduate research. For her Master’s thesis, she investigated the impact of nature and distance on runners' flow and overall well-being. As a passionate runner, she advocates for outdoor physical activity to enhance well-being. She plans to pursue her Ph.D. to continue her research on how nature impacts physical and mental health. In her free time, Crista blogs on her health and wellness website,, and is developing an online healthy eating cookbook.