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Positive Psychology
Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose was summed up in 1998 by Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: "We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise, which achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving individuals, families, and communities. We provide resources we believe will help you attain a better understanding of what it takes to be happier in your business life.We think it follows that if you understand what it takes to be happy. Then you should implement these practices in your business and lifestyle. We believe business is good but, good business is better!
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Happiness As a Teen Linked to Better Love Life in Adulthood

Happiness As a Teen Linked to Better Love Life in Adulthood | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
Depression in young adulthood can put intimate relationships at risk in midlife.

 

As a young adult, did you experience symptoms of depression or expressions of anger? If you are in your 30s, how is your perceivedstress level now? If you are in your 40s, and struggle with intimateromantic relationships, a new study suggests that untreated depression and anger in earlier chapters of your life can impact the quality of your love life decades later.

 

In 1985, researchers from Canada began a study to identify how emotional and psychological experiences in high school affected people over the next three decades as they evolved through various stages of life. The University of Alberta study found that depression and anger in early life creates a ripple effect that can impact interpersonal relationships into middle age. 

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Science-backed ways to feel happier

Science-backed ways to feel happier | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! Even as children, we’re taught to recognize and celebrate feelings of happiness—and it’s no wonder. Not only is happiness one of the most positive emotions we can experience, but being happy is also the key to a fulfilled, healthy life. Plus, cheeriness is linked to living longer, how hard we work, physical function as we age, and an improved immune system, among other health benefits.

While it’s hard to define (especially since it varies from person to person), some experts describe happiness as “a combination of life satisfaction and having more positive emotionsthan negative emotions,” while others view it as consisting of three parts: feeling good, living a “good life,” and feeling part of a larger purpose. There’s also a distinct difference between short- and long-term happiness: The former is a fleeting feeling, while the latter applies to how we describe our own lives.

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While some factors that affect happiness might be outside of our control (such as genetics or certain life circumstances), there are always actions we can take to amp up our own good feelings. To smile wider, be more satisfied with life, and feel altogether better—both in the present and the future—try introducing any (or all!) of these practices into your life.

1. Spend time outside.
Enjoying time al fresco is a great way to put some pep back in your step. Living near green spaces is associated with better mental health, and even just looking at images of nature scenes can stimulate the parts of your brain associated with happine . . . .

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Things to give up if you want to be happy…

Things to give up if you want to be happy… | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
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3 Simple, Small Acts of Kindness That Can Make Someone's Day

3 Simple, Small Acts of Kindness That Can Make Someone's Day | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

It’s the small, everyday things that can make or break a day for us.

While we celebrate the role models who inspire thousands (in person or on Facebook!), for most of us everyday moments—a stranger jostling us in the shops, a car cutting us up at a light, someone pushing in front of us in line at the post office—can upset us out of all proportion.

But the flip side is that we can also be disproportionately pleased by the small actions of a stranger.

On a bad day recently, rushing down the road in Chiang Mai, Thailand, late for an appointment, I dropped my bag and things spilled all over the road. I looked at my possessions spread out in the dust beneath me and held back tears.

As I stood there, a Thai woman, tending a food cart at the side of the road, walked over and carefully helped me pick everything up. Then she smiled at me, patted my hand, and walked back to her stall.

This small act of kindness from a stranger reminded me to be kind to myself in turn, and I took a breath before continuing with my day, lighter in heart and mind.

Be that stranger. Here are three small acts of kindness you can carry out today.

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That Simple : )

That Simple : ) | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
catrocketship:
“I better make some time for exercise tonight. Feel wintry soul toots brewing.
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This Seemed Like The Worst Parenting EVER. Then I Kept Looking And... Holy Cow.

This Seemed Like The Worst Parenting EVER. Then I Kept Looking And... Holy Cow. | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
What you see below isn’t child abuse. It’s actually an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that two parents blessed their young daughter with. The girl in these pictures is Tippi Benjamine Okanti Degré. The French girl was born in 1990 and she spent her childhood in Namibia. Tippi grew up alongside wild animals like cheetahs and lions, and she spent her time hunting with tribespeople instead of playing tag with classmates. Her childhood was stunning:
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Experts urge US to measure, pursue our happiness

Experts urge US to measure, pursue our happiness | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
A panel of experts thinks the U.S. government should be more in touch with Americans' feelings.

 

By gauging happiness, there'd be more to consider than cold hard cash when deciding matters that affect daily lives, according to a report this week from the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the government.

 

The panel of economists, psychologists and other experts assembled by the academy recommended that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness.

 

"You want to know how people are doing?" said panel chairman Arthur Stone, a professor of psychology at New York's Stony Brook University. "One of things you may want to do is ask them."

Asking how people feel can be as important as how much they are spending, Stone said.

 

For example, economists have something they call the "misery index" which adds the unemployment and inflation rates, but doesn't include how people feel. If you want to know misery, the question to ask is "how much suffering is going on," he said.

 

The panel suggests a series of questions to measure daily happiness and general well-being, asking how often you smiled, were stressed, laughed or were in pain. Example questions ranged from a simple yes-no "Yesterday, did you spend time with friends or family?" to a more complex 1-10 rating for "Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?"

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Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Understanding Emotional Intelligence | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
What really matters for success, character, happiness and lifelong achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your EQ — not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by convention...

 

Emotional Intelligence or EQ for short has become interchangeable with interpersonal skills.  As a leadership coach, I am often hired to help executives increase their EQ.   Research shows that EQ is a skill and can be increased. 

There are many models and assessments on the market that measure EQ.  Genos International is unique in that they have defined the seven fundamental skills you must have to be emotionally intelligent.  They define EQ as a set of skills that defines how effectively you perceive, understand, reason with and manage your own and others’ feelings. These skills are important at work, as feelings and emotions are an inherent part of workplace activities at all levels.  Below is Genos’s EQ definition of each skill and the benefits of using them in the workplace.

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How To Give Effective Praise - Joseph Lalonde

How To Give Effective Praise - Joseph Lalonde | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
Who doesn’t like being praised for a job well done? No one that I can think of. It gives you that boost of confidence. Puts a little pep in your step. Brings a smile to your face. If it’s done properly.

 

I know you don’t want to give that kind of manipulative praise. You want to give effective praise. Praise that warms the heart of others.

How can you do this?

To be honest, this is an area that I struggle with. Just ask my wife. She’ll tell you.

But here are some tips and tricks I’ve been trying to implement on giving effective praise.

As the Zig Ziglar quote says Be Sincere: People can detect when you’re not being sincere. When you’re giving praise, make sure it’s coming from the heart. It’s honest. It’s what you actually feel.

 

Praise the person to other people: Share your praise of the person with their coworkers or friends. Build them up and let them know how awesome the person is. People talk and it will get back to the person you were praising. What’s sweeter than hearing your boss, friend, or spouse was talking you up to others? I don’t think there is.

 

Give praise in public: Similar to the previous tip, praise the person in public. Once again you’re validating the person in front of others. People appreciate this. . . . 

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» Five Strengths for Greater Happiness - Character Strengths

» Five Strengths for Greater Happiness - Character Strengths | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

The science of positive psychology has revealed several character strengths that are particularly connected with higher levels of happiness. Over and over again studies show these five strengths might be considered “the happiness strengths”:

ZestHopeGratitudeCuriosityLove

Are you high in any of these character strengths? According to research by the VIA Institute, over 75% of people have one of these strengths in their top 5.

Looking to boost one of these strengths? No problem. There are plenty of tips to go around and research studies are revealing good benefits for people that focus on boosting these strengths. Here are some activities to get you started:

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We're Past the Point Where Money Can Buy Happiness

We're Past the Point Where Money Can Buy Happiness | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
Our obsession with "keeping up with the Joneses" makes us richer but less satisfied.

 

Money really can’t buy you happiness, according to a new study—at least, not after a certain amount. 

 

In a paper published in PLOS ONE, economists Eugenio Proto from the University of Warwick and Aldo Rustichini from the University of Minnesota looked at the relationship between Gross Domestic Product and self-reported life satisfaction across European countries. They found that while life satisfaction increased with the average income across poorer countries, it reached a peak and then began to fall as income increased across richer countries. After the $36,000 per capita mark it’s all downhill, and any extra dollars won’t help to warm your miserable, rich heart.

 

“The probability of reporting the highest level of life satisfaction is more than 12 percent lower in the poor countries with a per capita GDP below 5,600 USD than in the counties with a per capita GDP of about 15,000 USD," the authors reported. That’s unsurprising: It’s hard to be happy when your income can’t meet your basic needs.

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How does Thanksgiving actually make us feel?

How does Thanksgiving actually make us feel? | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

Thanksgiving can mean a lot of things, from the usual turkey feast to more idiosyncratic and potentially stressful traditions like a Black Friday campout or a death-defying deep fry. The holiday varies from person to person and family to family, causing real problems for anyone who wants to contemplate the True Meaning of Thanksgiving. Has the national celebration of football and shopping overtaken the giving-thanks part of it all? Is Thanksgiving kind of a downer? How would you even know?

Luckily, we don't have to guess. We've got psychology.

For answers, we turn to a sub-discipline called positive psychology, which deals primarily in questions of happiness and well-being. It's produced a number of studies on exactly how Thanksgiving makes people feel, and for the most part, the news is good. It’s also more nuanced than you might expect: the discipline has largely moved past generalizations like the "holiday blues," which posited a widespread jump in depression between Thanksgiving and New Years. A battery of recent studies have challenged that assumption, tracking well-being on a day-to-day basis and finding fascinating subtleties in the competing feelings associated with the holiday season.

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Positive psychology is mainly for rich white people | Mind the Brain

Positive psychology is mainly for rich white people | Mind the Brain | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

Positive psychology gurus and coaches give lots of advice about how we should lead our lives. Their threat is that if we don’t follow their advice, we will not only be unhappy, we risk sickness and death.

 

When Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking  Has Undermined America was published outside of the United States, the book was retitled Smile or Die. The publisher was concerned that non-native English speakers might not understand the play on words in the original title. I think the retitling is actually more apt in capturing the message of positive psychology: buy our advice, buy our books, attend our workshops or die.

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Happiness and health go hand in hand

Happiness and health go hand in hand | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
Happiness is contagiously healthy and research is now confirming and explaining why that’s true.

 

Here are five strategies, which are supported by current research, for finding happiness where you are:

• Place spiritual happiness above material happiness: Because happiness has a spiritual rather than material source, it’s much easier to find in qualities and ideas than in places and things. Looking for and finding the good in ourselves and others is truly satisfying — and healthy. Challenge yourself to find some good in everybody, every day.

• Focus on the positive: Optimism is a choice, and you can make it moment by moment. Looking for and finding good can create happiness where it may seem scarce. Almost 2,000 years ago, Paul had this advice for the fledgling Christian church at Philippi:

“Summing it all up friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (Philippians 4:8)

 

• Live in the moment: Find an activity that restores your soul and allows you to put down your burdens. For many of us that might be interacting with our pets. For others it’s a sport that refocuses thought from larger worries to the immediate physical challenge. For others it might be art and the joy of creativity. Then there’s the restorative power of natural beauty. Go watch a sunset, and stay until the show’s over.

• Embrace friends and family: Longevity research shows that people who purposefully develop and maintain positive relationships with friends and family lower their risk of cognitive decline and live longer. Sometimes this means forgiving friends or family who have hurt you. The daily interplay of unconditional love between friends and family restores soul and body. . . .

 

 

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Creating Happiness: Challenging Destructive Thoughts -

Creating Happiness: Challenging Destructive Thoughts - | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
Are you happy?  Does happiness seem elusive with an here-today-gone-tomorrow appearance in your life?  The truth is that searching for happiness is a pointless quest.  It’s simply not out there.  But, don’t let that dissuade you from your desire to be happy!  The good news is that you can createRead More...

 

Here’s how to challenge destructive thoughts in order to move closer to your goals.

 

1.  Pay attention to your thoughts.  Last week I used the example of weight loss as a goal.  The goals you are setting should be small and attainable.  You may find yourself thinking that such small steps will never lead to the accomplishment of a larger goal.  You may think that with such small steps it will take too long to achieve anything noticeable. Listen to yourself think!  What are you telling yourself about your small goals?  What are you telling yourself about the likelihood of accomplishing your ultimate dream?

2.  Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.  When you find yourself thinking that you will never achieve your goals, immediately banish the thought and imagine how you will feel when you DO reach your goals!

3.  Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the positive thoughts come naturally.  Yes, I’m serious.  You have to have control over your thoughts–and you CAN have control over them!  But, you probably don’t currently have control and it will take lots of practice before you do.  Embrace it and get to practicing!

Homework for this week:

Keep doing the 3 mindfulness practices from week one.  Keep your dreams in the forefront of your mind.  Work on the goal(s) you set in week 3.  Pay attention to your thoughts.  Replace each destructive thought with a positive one.

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How Positive Thinking Builds Your Skills, Boosts Your Health, and Improves Your Work - James Clear

How Positive Thinking Builds Your Skills, Boosts Your Health, and Improves Your Work - James Clear | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

What Negative Thoughts Do to Your Brain

Play along with me for a moment.

Let’s say that you’re walking through the forest and suddenly a tiger steps onto the path ahead of you. When this happens, your brain registers a negative emotion — in this case, fear.

Researchers have long known that negative emotions program your brain to do a specific action. When that tiger crosses your path, for example, you run. The rest of the world doesn’t matter. You are focused entirely on the tiger, the fear it creates, and how you can get away from it.

In other words, negative emotions narrow your mind and focus your thoughts. At that same moment, you might have the option to climb a tree, pick up a leaf, or grab a stick — but your brain ignores all of those options because they seem irrelevant when a tiger is standing in front of you.

This is a useful instinct if you’re trying to save life and limb, but in our modern society we don’t have to worry about stumbling across tigers in the wilderness. The problem is that your brain is still programmed to respond to negative emotions in the same way — by shutting off the outside world and limiting the options you see around you.

For example, when you’re in a fight with someone, your anger and emotion might consume you to the point where you can’t think about anything else. Or, when you are stressed out about everything you have to get done today, you may find it hard to actual start anything because you’re paralyzed by how long your to–do list has become. Or, if you feel bad about not exercising or not eating healthy, all you think about is how little willpower you have, how you’re lazy, and how you don’t have any motivation.

In each case, your brain closes off from the outside world and focuses on the negative emotions of fear, anger, and stress — just like it did with the tiger. Negative emotions prevent your brain from seeing the other options and choices that surround you. It’s your survival instinct.

Now, let’s compare this to what positive emotions do to your brain. This is where Barbara Fredrickson returns to the story.

What Positive Thoughts Do to Your Brain

Fredrickson tested the impact of positive emotions on the brain by setting up a little experiment. During this experiment, she divided her research subjects into 5 groups and showed each group different film clips.

The first two groups were shown clips that created positive emotions. Group 1 saw images that created feelings of joy. Group 2 saw images that created feelings of contentment.

Group 3 was the control group. They saw images that were neutral and produced no significant emotion.

The last two groups were shown clips that created negative emotions. Group 4 saw images that created feelings of fear. Group 5 saw images that created feelings of anger.

Afterward, each participant was asked to imagine themselves in a situation where similar feelings would arise and to write down what they would do. Each participant was handed a piece of paper with 20 blank lines that started with the phrase, “I would like to…”

Participants who saw images of fear and anger wrote down the fewest responses. Meanwhile, the participants who saw images of joy and contentment, wrote down a significantly higher number of actions that they would take, even when compared to the neutral group.

In other words, when you are experiencing positive emotions like joy, contentment, and love, you will see more possibilities in your life. These findings were among the first that proved that positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options.

But that was just the beginning. The really interesting impact of positive thinking happens later…

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John Michel's curator insight, February 12, 9:04 AM

Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.

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The Top 10 Insights from the “Science of a Meaningful Life”

The Top 10 Insights from the “Science of a Meaningful Life” | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
The most surprising, provocative, and inspiring findings published this past year.

 

The research we cover here at the Greater Good Science Center is often referred to as “the science of happiness,” yet our tagline is “The Science of a Meaningful Life.” Meaning, happiness—is there a difference?

 

New research suggests that there is. When a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology tried to disentangle the concepts of “meaning” and “happiness” by surveying roughly 400 Americans, it found considerable overlap between the two—but also some key distinctions.

Based on those surveys, for instance, feeling good and having one’s needs met seem integral to happiness but unrelated to meaning. Happy people seem to dwell in the present moment, not the past or future, whereas meaning seems to involve linking past, present, and future. People derive meaningfulness (but not necessarily happiness) from helping others—being a “giver”—whereas people derive happiness (but not necessarily meaningfulness) from being a “taker.” And while social connections are important to meaning and happiness, the type of connection matters: Spending time with friends is important to happiness but not meaning, whereas the opposite is true for spending time with loved ones.

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7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
7 practical ways to keep dry when another's moody raincloud threatens to drench you.

 

If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. – Mary Engelbreit

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

 

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

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Teach happiness in schools: expert - Northern Advocate - Northern Advocate News

Teach happiness in schools: expert - Northern Advocate - Northern Advocate News | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

Teaching happiness skills to school pupils should be part of the national curriculum, a University of Canterbury researcher says.

But a Northland principal says schools already have enough social responsibility.

Dr Annie Soutter wants more done to promote wellbeing in New Zealand schools given our high rates of youth depression and suicide.

"In schools, what I've found is how students think or feel tends to be a separate part of the school experience."

Academic achievement, attendance and sporting prowess took precedence over emotional wellbeing, she said.

Okaihau College principal Alan Forgie said he wasn't enthusiastic about introducing "happiness skills" to the curriculum.

"I'd like to see that we offer a rounded education, and you can focus on things like that to the detriment of everything else."

Okaihau had staff trained in looking out for kids who were likely to harm themselves, he said.

And peer support programmes made sure new students knew where to turn if necessary.

But the curriculum was already full.

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You Can Create Your Own Luck Here's How!

You Can Create Your Own Luck Here's How! | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
Failed actors rarely give career advice. "The advice business is a monopoly run by survivors," writes David McRaney of You Are Not So Smart. The chefs who failed don't have a line out the door of t...
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EQ - The key to success!

EQ - The key to success! | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

Our mental state plays a part in every thought, every decision we make – emotions have the ability to control us if they feel a threat or an emergency.

 

EQ is twice as important as IQ and technical skills combined.

However in schools throughout the world in the last decade it has been found that IQ is constantly rising and the EQ is consistently decreasing. There is the mistaken perception that children need technical skills to succeed.

 

Parents in general have bought this lie and left parenting to the schools and have declined to interact with their children because of the emphasis on skills. But lets not blame the parents as we have all been schooled in a system that has lied to us about the results that we will get from it.

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Happiness Means Creativity: One Company's Bet On Positive Psychology

Happiness Means Creativity: One Company's Bet On Positive Psychology | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

Cultivating a more positive outlook is a better way of boosting creativity than indulging a tortured genius, according to consultant psychologist and professor Neil Frude who has begun working with ad organization Havas Worldwide London to provide "positive psychology" training to the agency’s staff.

 

It’s all about creating a virtuous circle.

"There is a strong relationship between employee happiness and a workforce that is productive, creative, and flourishing," he says, pointing to lab studies designed to test creativity after participants have been made more and less happy, which shows creative levels improve when people are happier.

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John Michel's curator insight, December 3, 2013 10:29 AM

Build happiness and well-being among staff and an organization will benefit from a more emotionally intelligent workforce: people who not only understand their own and other people’s emotions but can more effectively manage their own and other people’s emotions, too.

David Hain's curator insight, December 4, 2013 6:44 AM

"When times are tough, there can be a tendency to focus most on what needs improving. What I’ve been trying to do is create a more positive framework for feedback within the agency--taking time to ask what’s good that’s been achieved today and to recognize and bolster employees and colleagues," Russ Lidstone, CEO, Havas Worldwide

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Want to get happy? Write Three Good Things Once a Week. - Seven Story Learning

Want to get happy? Write Three Good Things Once a Week. - Seven Story Learning | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it

Common sense tells us to “be thankful” and “think positively,” but these vague suggestions can be difficult to interpret into regular practice.  Peer-reviewed research in the growing field of positive psychology is providing specific, evidence-based insights for application.

 

In a landmark study, the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Martin Seligman, the thought leader behind positive psychology, found that people who wrote down “Three Good Things” daily for just one week benefited from improved happiness and decreased depressive symptoms for period of six months.

 

“For one week, participants were asked to write down three things that went well each day and their causes every night for one week. In addition, they were asked to provide a causal explanation for each good thing.”

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Immunology: The pursuit of happiness

Immunology: The pursuit of happiness | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
Researchers have struggled to identify how certain states of mind influence physical health. One biologist thinks he has an answer.

 

At the time, it was nothing more than a quirky sideline. But his latest findings have caused Cole — now a professor at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of California, Los Angeles — to wonder whether the exhilaration and sense of purpose that he felt during that period might have done more than help him to find homes for unloved pieces of art. It might have benefited his immune system too.

 

At one time, most self-respecting molecular biologists would have scoffed at the idea. Today, evidence from many studies suggests that mental states such as stress can influence health. Still, it has proved difficult to explain how this happens at the molecular level — how subjective moods connect with the vastly complex physiology of the nervous and immune systems. The field that searches for these explanations, known as psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), is often criticized as lacking rigour. Cole's stated aim is to fix that, and his tool of choice is genome-wide transcriptional analysis: looking at broad patterns of gene expression in cells. “My job is to be a hard-core tracker,” he says. “How do these mental states get out into the rest of the body?”

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» The New Science of Smiling (It’s More Powerful than You Think) - Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

» The New Science of Smiling (It’s More Powerful than You Think) - Mindfulness and Psychotherapy | Positive Psychology | Scoop.it
There is strong evidence that shows that smiling more and even laughing not only creates positive activity in the brain, but makes us happier and positively affects those around us.

 

Smiling is something almost all of us could do a bit more often. Past science shows that smiling – especially the kind of smile that involves the muscles around the eyes – creates a specific type of brain activation that’s connected to being in a happy mood. More recent research shows that even adopting this kind of smile, known as a “Duchenne smile” leads to lower heart rate levels and quicker recovery from stressful activities. Resilience and positive brain activity are maybe good reasons to grin a bit more in our lives, but there’s even a better reason.

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