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On Sunday morning at the IPPA World Congress, I heard Barbara Fredrickson give a keynote address about a fundamental challenge of our time, helping people build healthy habits. She suggested that finding enjoyment in healthy behaviors can create an upward spiral. Liking leads to wanting. Wanting affects the spontaneous thoughts that pop up in peoples’ minds. Those thoughts lead to small choices that affect health. Imagine my amazement when I saw her positivity spiral in action in the airport food court just a few hours later.
When I facilitate workshops on character strengths, I find that many people immediately focus on the bottom of their lists where their weakest strengths are. We are hardwired with a negativity bias, after all, and it is not a bad thing to want to improve. I frequently get asked, “How can I develop my strengths?” I respond, “Pretend that you have them. Act ‘as if’ you are kind, or forgiving, or curious.“
We all have our own little bubbles of fear resting deep within us. Our relationships with our children take us back to these bubbles. I am beginning to recognize my reactions as based on these fears and to forgive myself for being human, so I can embark on the journey to change. I am reconnecting to my own goodness and beginning to embrace the parts of me that want to love unconditionally and accept non-judgmentally.
Engage in change on your own terms: an invitation to a TEDx talk.
Get your Netflix queue ready. Fire up the On-Demand services of your cable TV. Because it’s time for an annual PPND tradition since 2009, the positive psychology movie awards! These awards go to films that offer some of the best portrayals of key themes in positive psychology. 2014 was a very strong year for positive psychology movies. Here are the winners:
Self-compassion is a way of relating to ourselves kindly, as we truly are, flaws and all.
This article contains an invitation to the Saturday party at IPPA on June 27 to benefit programs for hospitalized children by Soaring Words.
I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, but I found myself thinking about some of the stories long after I read them. I especially enjoyed the stories by individuals who personally experienced mental health disorders. They described the essential features of their recoveries, some of which are completely unexpected. Each story, whether by a therapist or a patient, is well-written from a personal perspective and reads like a mini-novel.
Got 15 minutes a day to become a happier and more compassionate person?
There’s now a website for that.
Greater Good in Action, an exciting new online resource is now live, offering dozens of science-based exercises to boost personal well-being.
When Open-Mindedness is used well, people can be extraordinarily adept at problem solving and able to make critical decisions clearly and with solid reasoning. They can be excellent leaders who bring objectivity to situations that might otherwise be ambiguous or highly slanted. But this strength can also be underused, leading to snap judgments, or overused, leading to decision paralysis. How do we use it to just the right degree?
As a mother, I knew what was best for him, I told myself. I could not trust his teenage judgment. But something deeper prompted me to question my reasoning. Did I fear knowing his goals in case they were different from mine? Was I running away from the possibility that his ideals of success would not measure up to societal standards? Would I be able to face it if they didn’t? I slowly began to see myself hiding behind the guise of motherhood.