Articles by Aren Cohen
Aren Cohen is a learning coach working with students in New York City. Aren is also writing a book on the positive psychology of fathers and daughters based on her MAPP capstone research with the longitudinal Harvard Grant Study of Adult Development.
All of us can learn from paragons of strengths. The film, Selma, about Martin Luther King Jr. and the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, is an opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate the virtue of open-mindedness and judgment.
The character strength of Open-mindedness or Judgment becomes a sticky one precisely because it straddles a boundary between character and questioning ethics. Open-mindedness seems to stem from compassion and a sense of tolerance and receptivity. Conversely, judgment implies logic and rationality, as well as a determination that one option is superior to another.
In the second article in her series on comfort, Aren Cohen considers the expression “creature comforts.” A phrase originally intended to highlight the material possessions and luxuries that provide us with comfort, Aren explores how it works the other way around. Comfort can make us fully realized beings. Comfort can make us happy and brave creatures.
The first of a series of articles, Aren Cohen investigates the notion of Comfort and why it is a complex and relatively under-examined idea in positive psychology. Does experiencing comfort open the way to contentment, interest, and love? How does offering comfort soothe or console? Does comfort stem from attachment? What role does comfort play for children learning new things? Come explore this multi-faceted word.
Recently, I took a wonderful vacation with my husband to Argentina and Brazil. Since I had been busy before our departure, I had done only minimal research on site-seeing or dining. I happily entrusted myself to Andre and embraced his “go with the flow” approach to travel. I would like to share some thoughts on the VIA Strengths I found amplified on our trip. For the sake of brevity and relevance I will focus on the following eight.
One of my favorite YouTube videos, called “Free Hugs,” shows a young man, then a group of people, standing in a mall in Australia offering free hugs. Why did I wake up this morning thinking about “Free Hugs?” First, I read an op-ed piece in the New York Times with the fact that “more people live alone now than at any other time in history.” Second, I watched the amazing HBO movie about a woman named Temple Grandin who invented a “squeeze machine” for herself.
As an educator, one of the talks I was most eager to hear at the IPPA World Congress was the presentation titled Geelong Grammar School’s Journey with Positive Education. The Geelong Grammar School is Australia’s largest co-educational boarding school, and as its website now says, it is the world leader in Positive Education.
Is music positive psychology? Music is not a solitary thing. Musical tastes not only become a mark of personal identity, but they also help create social bonding and cohesion. Music is indeed both primal and powerful, thus the potential it has to serve positive psychology is awesome.
All of us have this constant monologue of chatter running in our head. How do our perspectives and languages habituate our inner monologue? This inner monologue sometimes is great and sometimes it is lousy. How best can we train our inner voices to be more loving, more supportive, more friendly, more forgiving, and more productive?
“Thou Shalt Not Envy” is the 10th commandment Moses brought down from Mount Sinai. Envy certainly gets a bad name everywhere you look. Nonetheless, it is part of the human condition. Does envy have a place in the world of Positive Psychology? Are there ways that can envy can benefit humanity?