Home All Highlights March 1-17, 2007 on PPND

Highlights March 1-17, 2007 on PPND

written by Editor S.M. 19 March 2007

Senia Maymin is the founder and editor-in-chief of PositivePsychologyNews.com. She was the series editor for the Positive Psychology News book series that recently published the first book, Resilience: How to Navigate Life's Curves. (Bio, Articles)

Here is the bi-weekly update for the first half of March 2007

  • Create New Habits: The GOOD Constraints by Senia Maymin (3-1-07): Maymin argues that since people tend to make most decisions automatically, that you can create your personal best GOOD constraints (like “I eat chocolate only on weekends,” “I go to the gym M-W-F”) to counteract the natural automatic decision-making.  Maymin draws on research by Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky, Gary Klein, Sheena Iyengar, Mark Lepper, Barry Schwartz, and Jonathan Haidt. 
  • A Daily Dose of Awe and Gratitude by David J. Pollay (3-3-07):  Pollay says, “For twelve years I have begun my day with the same positive ritual.  I wake up and head for the nearest window.  I open the curtain and look outside.  I begin by observing something in the environment that fascinates me…. The second step of my morning ritual focuses on gratitude.  I say everything for which I am grateful.” Pollay draws on research by Jonathan Haidt, Christopher Peterson, Martin Seligman, Philip Watkins, and Huston Smith.
  •    In the News

  • Positive Psychology, Party of Two by Amy Donovan (3-3-07).  In her inaugural article on PPND, Donovan suggests doing positive psychology exercises with another person! Donovan suggests that many positive exercises can be adapted, and in particular, examines the Three Blessings Exercise and Savoring in this context. Donovan draws on research by Christopher Peterson, Martin Seligman, Ed Diener, Tracy Steen, Nansook Park, and Barbara Fredrickson. 
  • Barry Schwartz Meets the Buddha: How Mindfulness may Resolve the “Paradox of Choice” by Jordan Silberman (3-4-07): Silberman suggests a new technique for battling the “too much choice” syndrome.  He suggests mindfulness in the moment and describes, “Attending only to the present environment and the present moment may prevent people from ruminating about desirable attributes of the options they didn’t choose. Anticipated regret may be avoided for obvious reasons; mindfulness involves attention to the present rather than the future. Finally, mindfulness may prevent hedonic adaptation.” Silberman supports his argument with research by Schwartz, Brown and Ryan, Gunaratana, Johnston et. al., Hanh, Lyubomirsky et. al., Thera, and Tolle.  
  • Tell Me Something Good: Applying Validated Positive Psychology Interventions by Sherri Fisher (3-5-07): Fisher examines why popular positive exercises such as the Three Blessing Exercise, Gratitude Visit, and Using Strengths in a New Way work.  Fisher suggests several underlyng themes: happiness and intentional activities, hope through pathway and agency – i.e. goals and actions, self-efficacy and resilience, self-regulation, and self-determination.  Fisher references Seligman, Lyubomirsky, Snyder, Bandura, Baumeister, and Deci and Ryan.
  • A Theological Position in Positive Psychology by Nicholas Hall (3-6-07): Drawing on Robert Wright’s concept of “nonzero,” Hall suggests that Wright’s win-win scenarios are similar to thoughts by Aristotle and Plato about the highest Good of mankind.  Hall summarizes the “natural laws” of several fields, and draws some inferences on theology.
  • The Power of Stories by Kathryn Britton (3-7-07): Britton writes about telling stories in order to “help you live a good life.” Britton describes one way of using stories to convey positive psychology concepts: “Bandura’s belief that people learn from role models whose behavior they wish to emulate has evolved into serial dramas, long-running radio or television dramas that exemplify desired behaviors that contribute to local social goals.” Britton draws on Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi, bandura and a host of literature.  Finally, Britton invites readers to contribute to a positive canon. 
  • Praise and Performance by Gloria Park (3-8-07): Park reflects on her experience as a competitive ice skater and as a skating coach to suggest how to give useful praise. park writes, “Through [Ericcson and Charness’] research, they found that deliberate practice is one strategy to attaining peak performance. Deliberate practice involves skill-focused goal-setting, intense involvement in structured training sessions, self-monitoring of process outcomes, and receiving feedback.” Park further advocates the research results of Carol Dweck, “Praise that is focused on effort rather than ability, is sincere rather than disingenuous, and is specific rather than general, appears to contribute to enhanced performance.”
  • The Gratitude Cruise by Caroline Miller (3-9-07): Miller describes research on counting blessings versus burdens, “Emmons and McCullough confirmed in their 2003 paper what many already suspected — counting blessings in daily and weekly diaries resulted in higher well-being, both among college students and adults with neuro-muscular disorders, and that counting burdens or listing neutral topics didn’t help at all with subjective well-being.”  Miller shares other research and suggests ways to build more gratitude into a day, ending with, “May you use sirens, stop signs and sunsets in new and powerful ways today to induce more gratitude and see the many kindnesses those around you are constantly doing for you and others!”
  • Alice in “Performance” Wonderland – Non-Zero Challenges the Red Queen by John Yeager (3-11-07): Yeager discusses a recent article by John Cortlett, in which Cortlett calls out The Red Queen Effect.  Yeager writes, “The Red Queen says to Alice that “it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place.  If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”  This sounds very familiar in keeping up with the today’s “speed of life.”” Yeager suggests at least two counterbalances to this phenomenon – seeking flow and seeking win-win situations.  Yeager draws on research by Seligman, Kohn, Wright, and Csikszentmihalyi.
  • The Minding Life by Aren Cohen (3-12-07): Cohen proposes a fourth life beyong Seligman’s three of pleasant life, engaged life, and meaningful life.  Cohen proposes “the minding life,” a term based on Harvey et. al. that Cohen summarizes as “the life we live because our lives are lived with other people.”  Cohen elaborates on Peterson and Seligman’s character strengths, “The three strengths of humanity: love, kindness and social intelligence, all relate to how we mind other people.  However, minding is more important than just humanity.  When we mind others we put them into our consciousness and our memory.  We extend them beyond the life they lead, and when they mind us they give us life beyond ourselves.”
  • Retrospective Visualization by Giselle Nicholson (3-13-07): Nicholson takes the mantra “Try. Fail. Try again. Fail better.” to a new level.  Nicholson describes an exercises she uses in the evenings, “I then go through my day step-by-step and think about all of the good and not-so-good things that happened. For things that didn’t go so well, I precisely visualize how they might have gone better. Without feelings of regret, I imagine the specific results that I want that weren’t realized that day. By intentionally creating better endings or rehearsing more effective actions, I am setting myself up to fail better next time.” 
  • Creating a Bridge b/t Competencies & Strengths by Margaret Greenberg (3-14-07): Greenberg discusses how corporations attempt to prescribe desired behaviors in an employee and call these prescriptions competencies.  Greenberg argues for a simpler method of measuring great employees, and investigates the difference between competencies and strengths.  Greenberg quotes Rath, “Simply put, the most effective way to make a competency program work is to set measurable outcomes, then let people’s talents [strengths] lead the way.”  In closing, based on advising corporations, Greenberg concludes with her “three L’s” suggestions.  Greenberg also draws research by Clifton and Buckingham and Ancona and others.
  • Responding Well by Doug Turner (3-15-07): Turner says, “In the end, responding well to any challenge means getting real about what is happening and then choosing to adopt the strength and perspective that comes through positive interventions like the ones discussed here.  He describes his family’s personal and real journey in which he gets called “Mr. Positive Psychology,” and realizes that the way the family responds well may include exercises such as “Positive Explanatory Style,” “Positive Portfolio,” “Three Blessings Exercise,” and “Best Future Self Exercise.”  Margaret, in the comments, also suggests that they enjoy their upcomign vacation with “Savoring!”
  • So What Should Leaders DO? by Emma Judge (3-16-07): Judge answers the question, “what should a leader do differently?” Judge draws on research on psychological capital by Luthans, Youssef and Avolio to suggest that leaders need to assess their own levels of positive constructs and measure items such as efficacy, hope, optimism and resiliency.
  • Applying Positive Psychology to Education by Dave Shearon (3-17-07): Shearon in advance of a presentation to superindentants with Bill Roberton suggests two techniques to help schools.  Shearon suggests Greenberg’s technique above for focusing on strengths rather than a 24-page list of competencies and Judge’s technique for measuring the already existing levels of efficacy, hope, optimism and resiliency in a school.



Your local PPND authors are also making appearances at CARNIVALS!  A online carnival (sometimes called a blog carnival) is like an introduction party that a website hosts – so it’s one website that’s themed say neorphilosophy or positive thinking that decides to point out to its readers a bunch of articles on those themes.  (As an author, it’s a way for completely new readers to get a sense of your articles).  Here are the two recent carnivals our authors have participated in!  Enjoy!

  • Neurophilosophy carnival (3-19-07) (works from Firefox, not IE).  Authors participating: Aren Cohen, Derrick Carpenter, David J. Pollay, Amy Donovan, Senia Maymin, Kathryn Britton
  • Carnival of Positive Thinking (3-19-07). Authors participating: Doug Turner, David J. Pollay, Senia Maymin, Derrick Carpenter, Kathryn Brotton, Giselle Nicholson, Amy Donovan

(How to participate in a carnival if you’re an author).


Gloria Park and Senia Maymin’s articles are in process of being translated and re-published here by a psychology website in Russia.

Finally, Monsieur David J. Pollay’s article was picked up by and re-published here in the Good News Network.  Congratulations!


Image: Newspaper box with dog courtesy of Shanan

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1 comment

Sherri Fisher 21 March 2007 - 6:32 am

Thanks, Senia, for being a tireless leader in the field of Positive Psychology. This site is a wonderful resource thanks to your vision and leadership. Merci!

🙂 Sherri


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