(Available in free full text) Studies conducted in various contexts and with varied populations have found expressive writing enhances physical and psychological wellbeing. This pilot intervention study countered the predominantly quantitative evidence by adopting a qualitative methodology, exploring the experience of using positive emotions in expressive writing. Participants (n = 10), who all had previous experience in expressive writing, were asked to select one of ten positive emotion cards (PECs) each day for three days. Participants were then asked to write expressively through the ‘lens’ of their chosen emotion. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and experiences were evaluated using Thematic Analysis. The results identified two main themes that compared the experience of expressive writing both with and without the PECs. The first theme, Processing (without the PECs) contained three sub-themes: sense of relief, habitual perspective and reactive to experience. The second main theme, Progressing (with the PECs) contained three different sub-themes: sense of direction, changed perspective and interactive with experience. This study found that, for expressive writers, positive emotions may function in three ways: to relate to others or self-expand, to move past challenges cognitively or change unconstructive perspectives, and finally as a way to interactively link or ‘bridge’ from the written subject matter to constructive action, thus breaking cycles of reactive writing and rumination. Implications of the study on the practice of expressive writing and its potential as a positive psychology intervention (PPI) are discussed.
What drives a person to become successful? That question fuels the research of psychologist Angela Duckworth. The 2013 MacArthur Fellow learned that grit is the best sign. Duckworth joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss her new book, "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance."
Margarita Tarragona's insight:
"GRIT" = perseverancia y pasion a largo plazo. Angela Duckworth habla de c'omo esto predice el 'exito.
(Available in free full text) Background With the increasing quality of smartphone cameras, taking photos has become ubiquitous. This paper investigates how smartphone photography can be leveraged to help individuals increase their positive affect.Methods Applying findings from positive psychology, we designed and conducted a 4-week study with 41 participants. Participants were instructed to take one photo every day in one of the following three conditions: a selfie photo with a smiling expression, a photo of something that would make oneself happy and a photo of something that would make another person happy.Findings After 3 weeks, participants’ positive affect in all conditions increased. Those who took photos to make others happy became much less aroused. Qualitative results showed that those in the selfie group observed changes in their smile over time; the group taking photos to improve their own affect became more reflective and those taking photos for others found that connecting with family members and friends helped to relieve stress.Conclusions The findings can offer insights for designers to create systems that enhance emotional well-being.
Sustained engagement in mentally challenging activities has been shown to improve memory in older adults. We hypothesized that a busy schedule would be a proxy for an engaged lifestyle and would facilitate cognition. Here, we examined the relationship between busyness and cognition in adults aged 50-89. Participants (N = 330) from the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study completed a cognitive battery and the Martin and Park Environmental Demands Questionnaire (MPED), an assessment of busyness. Results revealed that greater busyness was associated with better processing speed, working memory, episodic memory, reasoning, and crystallized knowledge. Hierarchical regressions also showed that, after controlling for age and education, busyness accounted for significant additional variance in all cognitive constructs—especially episodic memory. Finally, an interaction between age and busyness was not present while predicting cognitive performance, suggesting that busyness was similarly beneficial in adults aged 50-89. Although correlational, these data demonstrate that living a busy lifestyle is associated with better cognition.
(Available in free full text) From the increasing number of people living in urban areas to the continued degradation of the natural environment, many of us appear to be physically and psychologically disconnected from nature. We consider the theoretical explanations and present evidence for why this state of affairs might result in suboptimal levels of hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing by reviewing the large body of research on the mental health benefits of connecting with nature. The advantages of contact with nature as a potential wellbeing intervention are discussed, and examples of how this research is being applied to reconnect individuals to nature and improve wellbeing are given. We conclude by considering the limitations of, and proposing future directions for, research in this area. Overall, evidence suggests that connecting with nature is one path to flourishing in life.
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