Welcome to the summary for February, 2007 on Positive Psychology News Daily.
February saw both the seriousness of groundhog’s day and the lightness of Valentine’s day. Similarly, on PPND, we covered both the seriousness of goals and the lightness of love. More than anything, though, February was the month of discovering how to increase positive emotions.
Positive emotions were highlighted in the following articles:
- Positive Priming by Elizabeth Peterson (2-26-07): Priming your environment for happiness and success (Langer) and priming using words (Bargh)
- Visualizing Happiness by Derrick Carpenter (2-22-07): Visualizing is the same to your brain as actually doing (Kosslyn), for the most successful effect, focus on visualizing the process (Taylor and Pham), visualizing can help move you toward your goals (Locke), and visualizing can move you toward values that make you happier (King).
- School that Rocks by Christine Duvivier (2-21-07): One superintendent candidate calls for schools that rock, meaning two components: a strong adult-child relationship (benefits: Berry, Vaillant), and increased challenge – and resulting joy – in sports and arts (Csikszentmihalyi).
- Flourishing with the Positive by Doug Turner (2-15-07): How can we change the tone of an organization from toxic to positive? This article provides the “meeting opening” questions to do so and highlights the research of going from languishing to flourishing (Fredrickson and Losada). “I noticed that by beginning each meeting with the positive the tone of the rest of the meeting changed completely.”
- “I’ve Got A Name” – The Power of Positive Salutating by John Yeager (2-10-07): “The elements of names, the ‘Mikes’ and the ‘Caitlins’ and the ‘Murphies’ and the ‘Mitchells,’ are not unique, but they stand for and indicate persons who are unique and uniquely valuable.”
- Living in the “No Regrets Zone” by Caroline Miller (2-9-07): Leave your regrets behind! Current self-conceptions are largely determined by feelings about the past and anticipation about the future. (Markus and Nurius), well-being is increased when progress is made toward meaningful, challenging goals in the present, and that are correlated with one’s best possible future self (Ryff), rumination is an indication of psychological adjustment (Martin and Tesser).
- How to Bake a Flow Cake by Gloria Park (2-8-07): Ingredients needed for flow: balance between challenge and skill, clear goals, and unambiguous feedback (Csikszentmihalyi). After that, focus on the process, not the outcome, and mix well.
- Meet the Press: Anxiety and the Negativity Bias by Sherri Fisher (2-4-07): Looking at the opposite of positive emotions, this article examines how the media may manipulate and create anxiety (Restak). The human brain is not very good at estimating how it will feel about future events, there is an optimal amount of choice which results in decisions, beyond which maximizing occurs and anxiety increases (Schwartz, Kahneman Gilbert). Restak suggests that the media stays at this optimal point of anxiety, and an example of Turner Broadcasting is given.
- Create Your Own “Happy Hour” – Serve 3 for 1 Gratitude by David Pollay (2-2-07): Try the 3 For 1 Gratitude Stop whenever you receive one piece of good news, think about three things you are grateful for. This exercise combats our tendencies to dismiss good things (Seligman) and to remember bad things more than good things (Baumeister). This exercise increases our sense of savoring which makes for happier and more successful people (Bryant). Recognizing good things can better our lives: inducing gratitude can increase positive emotion (Watkins), focusing on the positive in a 3-to-1 ratio to the negative can create more successful business teams (Fredrickson and Losada), couples that respond in a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative have happier and longer marriages (Gottman), and couples that respond enthusiastically to each other report more satisfaction (Gable).
“Love, love, love!“
- “Other People Matter” by Dave Shearon (2-17-07): A case study in Paragon Mills Elementary School demonstrates the meaning of the phrase “other people matter” (Peterson).
- Love & the Capacity to Love by Margaret Greenberg (2-14-07): “Love is a robust correlate of life satisfaction” (Peterson and Seligman) and the coaching technique of asking about love using the Wheel of Life.
Goals, goals, goals.
- From Ashes to Beauty by Guest Author Debbie Swick (2-21-07): A habit is a frequent repetition of the same act (and this includes a suprising definition relating to crystals!). How can you change your habits, such as for Lent, by instead of breaking an old habit instead creating a new habit? Swick suggests creating a new habit around your particular character strengths because using strengths in a new way creates more happiness (Peterson and Seligman).
- Happy Rewards for Goal-Seekers by Nicholas Hall (2-6-07): How can we reward ourselves along the way to our large goal? Little rewards for our little goals? Yes. Using the three pathways of Pleasure, Engagement, and Meaning (Seligman), Hall creates a reference chart for immediate rewarding of in-process goals.
- Create New Habits: Self-Regulation by Senia Maymin (2-1-07): If you want to create a new habit for yourself, one of the best things you can do is practice self-control. In a new summary of research, scientists have found that self-regulation can act as a muscle! (Baumeister et. al.) Muscles can be trained to get stronger over time. If you practice self-regulation in your posture, you may improve your exercise habits. If you practice self-regulation through regular exercise, your study habits may improve! If you practice self-regulation in managing your bank account, you may grow better eating habits. Increasing your brain’s ability to effortfully override thought or action leads to increased abilities to override future thoughts and actions (Hall).
Two articles on positive psychology intersecting with decision-making and with global policies:
- On Making a Choice by Kathryn Britton (2-7-07): Britton describes Schwartz analysis of decision-making research and reminds us of Simon’s use of the term ‘satisfiers’ in setting up some suggestions on how to make it simpler for a person to make an important choice.
- Measuring the Value of a Dollar by Giselle Nicholson (2-13-07): Nicholson proposes some positive psychology measures to analyze the dynamics of micofinance. Nicholson describes microfinance as an effective route towards poverty reduction and highlights the work of Yunus as she describes her upcoming research project in Jordan.
Thank you very much to February commentators:
Master-Reality.ru, David J. Pollay, Chris, SharpBrains, Bill Lile, Gloria Park, John Yeager, Giselle, Sulynn, Kathryn Britton, Jeff, Dana, Margaret, Betsy Donahue, Debbie Swick, Editor S.M., Educational Discourse, Marcial Losada, Caroline Miller, Greg, Elona, Doug Turner, daves, debbiecohen, Sherri Fisher, Dave Shearon, Lola Rokni, Dawn, Christine Duvivier, Paul G Cognata, Jennifer A. Gosk, Senia.com, Debbie, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Thank you for reading and enjoy March!