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Positive Relationships

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Ed Diener commented during the July 22, 2008 IPPA conference call that most of positive psychology has emphasized what’s within the individual. We have had the same observation that the original framework for positive psychology included relationships only indirectly. Positive relationships contribute to positive experiences. Love, kindness, fairness, and social intelligence are positive traits. Positive institutions are held together by positive relationships. At the Global Well-Being Forum in 2007, Martin Seligman suggested that we expand the framework to include Positive Relationships directly as a major pillar of the Live Well-Lived.

Christopher Peterson has a three-word summary of positive psychology: “Other people matter.”

In his YouTube presentation on Why is Psychology Good? (about minute 9), Martin Seligman commented that the answer to the question, “How do extremely happy people differ from the rest of us?” is that they are extremely social. He cautions that the data is correlational not causal, and that the kind of happiness indicated is The Pleasant Life of cheerfulness and ebullience, rather than The Engaged Life or The Meaningful Life. But this result does support the importance of positive relationships to positive psychology.

PPND Articles on Relationships

By John Yeager:“I’ve Got a Name” – The Power of Positive Salutating
By Aren Cohen:What is Love Anyway?
By Giselle Nicholson:The Meaning in Mother’s Day
By Margaret Greenberg:Using the ‘L’ Word in Business

Love and the Capacity to Love

By Dave Shearon:Other People Matter
By Lucy Ryan:Advice from the Tribesman: Too Simple for the World?
By Cassie Robinson:Let’s Talk About Sex
By Sulynn:How Do You Share Positive Psychology with Strangers?
By Amy Donovan:Positive Psychology: Party of Two
Other resources for Relationships

Bowlby, J. (1979, 2005). The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds. (Routledge Classics). 2nd edition. London, England: Tavistock.
Dutton, J. (2003). Energize Your Workplace: How to Create and Sustain High-Quality Connections at Work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Dutton, J. & Ragins, B. Eds. (2007). Exploring Positive Relationships at Work: Building a Theoretical and Research Foundation (Lea’s Organization and Management). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Goleman, D. (2006). Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. New York: Bantam Books.
Gottman, J. & Silver, N. (2000). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Gottman, J. Making Marriage Work

Gottman, J. & Gottman, J. (1997). Raising an emotionally intelligent child. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Gottman, J. & DeClaire, J. (2001). The relationship cure: A 5 step guide to strengthening your marriage, family, and friendships. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. New York: Penguin Books.

Happiness activity 5 is Nurturing Social Relationships (pp. 138-149).

See Kathryn Britton’s review of this book.

Myers, D. G. (2004). Human connections and the good life: Balancing individuality and community in public policy. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.). Positive Psychology in Practice. pp. 641-657. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Myers, D. (1993). The Pursuit of Happiness: Discovering the Pathway to Fulfillment, Well-Being, and Enduring Personal Joy. New York: Harper Paperbacks.

Peterson, C., (2006). A Primer in Positive Psychology New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Chapter 10, pp. 249-274, is titled Positive Interpersonal Relationships.

Rath, T. (2007). Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without. New York: Gallup Press.
Reis, H. T. & Gable, S. L. (2003). Toward a positive psychology of relationships. In C. L. Keyes & J. Haidt (Eds.), Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived, pp. 129-160. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Psychology. 277-287. New York: Oxford University Press.

Part VI, Interpersonal Approaches, includes chapters on relationship connections (Harvey, Pauwels, Zickmund), Compassion (Cassell), Forgiveness (McCullough & Witvliet), Gratitude (Emmons & Sheldon), Love (Hendrick & Hendrick), Empathy and Altruism (Batson, Ahmad, Lishner & Tsang), and Moral Motivation (Schulman).

Vaillant, G. (2003). Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development. New York: Little Brown.

Vaillant, G. (2008). Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith. New York: Broadway Press.

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