Articles in Awe
At a recent workshop at Esalen in Big Sur, experts from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center “explored the roots of personal happiness and offered concrete, science-based approaches to boosting happiness in one’s self and others.“
Some people might be scared by a thunderstorm while others might be awed. In those moments, the person with the strength of Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence is able to transcend ego and instead be moved to an awareness of the vastness and amazement that the world has to offer. Time slows down. In such moments a person may feel drawn to future opportunities for using this strength.
When they want to feel more loved, valued, respected or connected, most people give away their power. They ask (or want) others to be different, which means someone else’s behavior determines how happy they will be.
What do happier people do?
Earlier this month I got together with several of my colleagues to share ideas about using the VIA Character Strengths at work. We shared stories about seeing the same strength displayed in different ways in different people. Take Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence. Here are three stories about this strength manifesting in different ways in different lives.
Just as the possibilities beyond the horizon are endless, so too are our potential ways of interacting with the world. The challenge is to embrace the sweet density and obscurity of life, recognize the meaning in the rawness of experience, and acknowledge that through reflection we may never catch up. What we decide now matters. If we have to play the game, we might as well play it beautifully, see what we can learn, try to make things better and easier for one another and enjoy the ride as much as we can.
Slowing down re-energizes us and allows us to nurture ourselves so that we can enjoy what we are doing in the moment we are doing it. It allows us to connect with people, rather than just check in. It opens us to awe and wonder, and it lets us play and discover the beauty that exists all around us.
Two weeks ago, I gained first-hand experience of Hurricane Sandy, the largest hurricane to hit New York City in a long time. In the midst of subways being shut down and businesses being closed for days on end, there was no rush to get things done. No rush to be anywhere. I simply felt like I had time. That brought to mind the research by Melanie Rudd, Jennifer Aaker, and Kathleen Vohs concerning the question, “When do people feel as if they are rich in time?”
Christopher Peterson died yesterday. We’ve been touched by the shock wave going through the world-wide community surrounding his generous and productive life. Resilient people get comfort by remembering. So let’s share our memories to keep the picture of Chris vivid in our minds.
Can going to the movies make you a better person? It depends on the type of positive emotions the film elicits. At last week’s IPPA World Congress, I was captivated with Lindsay Doran’s presentation on “Hollywood and Happiness.” After thirty years in the industry, she thought she knew everything there was to know about movies. That was until she met Martin Seligman.
For twenty years my dear friend Ann and I have been watching the Oprah Winfrey show, so it seemed appropriate that we watch Oprah’s last show together. Through the power of storytelling and television, Oprah brought to life many lessons taught by positive psychologists around the world. She used her final show to share her greatest lessons from 25 years of the Oprah show. Here they are…