Personal transformation - Deepstash

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Is positive psychology all it's cracked up to be?

Personal transformation

The term “positive psychology" was coined by Abraham Maslow in 1954. Martin Seligman used this term to promote personal change through the redemptive power of devotional practices like counting your blessings, gratitude, forgiveness, and meditation.

It is expressly designed to build moral character by cultivating the six virtues of wisdom, courage, justice, humanity, temperance, and transcendence.

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3 kinds of happy lives
  • The pleasant life: you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can. This has hardly any contribution to lasting fulfilment.
  • The life of engagement, where you find a life in your work, parenting, love and leisure.
  • The meaningful life: knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you.
Habits Of Supremely Happy People
  • They surround themselves with other happy people.
  • They cultivate resilience.
  • They appreciate simple pleasures.
  • They devote some of their time to giving.
  • They get immersed in activities that bring joy.
  • They nix the small talk for deeper conversations. 
  • They make a point to listen. 
  • They look on the bright side.
  • They make exercise a priority.
  • They listen to good music.
  • They spend time in nature.
  • They laugh a lot.
Positive psychology: the "science of happiness"
Positive psychology: the "science of happiness"

The "science of happiness" was born as a result of Martin Seligman's (the father of positive psychology) endeavour to approach psychology beyond the idea of restoring normality in individuals and to look at happiness and contentment as ways to not only restore normality, but also to prevent and protect as well as potentially cure.

Positive psychology has three main areas: Generation of both short and long term healthy pleasures, joy obtained through the connection with others and happiness that comes from a meaningful life.

The plasticity of the brain

Neuroscience research demonstrates the power of positive psychology:

  • Studies showed that repetitive negative thinking causes one pattern of brain activity, while positive thoughts can produce another.
  • Practices such as gratitude, mindfulness, and physical activity can change certain pathways within the brain.
  • Medication can also stimulate or suppress brain activity. Martin Seligman found a combined treatment plan of medication and therapy can help patients recover sooner.
Positive psychology strategies

Positive psychology treatments focus on four fundamental areas:

  • Strengths: Finding one's inner strength and resilience.
  • Quality of life: Goals and achievements should be underpinned by meaning and purpose.
  • Hope: Ensuring a positive attitude when faced with life's trials and knowing that they have the support to cope.
  • Wellbeing: A sense of environmental mastery, full engagement with the world, and personal satisfaction.
Positive Psychology's New Approach
Positive Psychology's New Approach
  • Due to its fleeting and fickle nature, our levels of happiness cannot be gauged, measured or rated accurately.
  • While earlier psychology focused on the bad apples, emphasizing on psychopathology, a relatively new approach to psychology is positive in nature, and focuses on psychological health.
  • Positive psychology’s newer avatar focuses on the various virtues, meaning, resilience and well-being.
Four Types of Well-Being

To address the disconnect between happiness and deeper levels of satisfaction, researches proposed a model that characterizes people as falling into one of four well-being types.

  1. Optimizing one’s positive emotions, and denying the reality of their negative experiences.
  2. Feeling unhappy seeing the complexity of the world around them, and neglecting the positive aspects.
  3. Having a generally negative view of themselves and the world.
  4. Having a generally positive and empathetic view of the world.
The Real Meaning Of Happiness

Being happy means more than feeling good. True happiness comes from handling challenging and adverse situations, while collaborating and building lifelong bonds with the people in our lives.

A collective thinking process, where the good of all is considered leads to a level of happiness that cannot be attained by being selfish or self-concerned.