First Some Facts…
Five years ago on January 1, 2007, Senia Maymin published the first article on PositivePsychologyNews.com: What is Positive Psychology? That first article has been followed by nearly 950 articles written by more than 80 authors. Senia’s first article has been accessed 19,732 times and still tends to be read by 1 to 20 people per day. In fact, very few of the articles are time sensitive, continuing to be useful long after originally published. After a few more numbers about the site, we’ll give recommendations from some of the PPND authors along with their reasons for suggesting that people take another look.While many voices are from the USA or the UK, others come from Australia, New Zealand, China, Malaysia, Canada, and Holland, helping us explore different viewpoints from around the world. Thanks to the teams assembled by Timothy So and Margarita Tarragona, many PPND articles have been translated into Chinese and Spanish — see the links at the top of the page. Another language version is under discussion, but we won’t preannounce it here. We are happy to work with groups that want to make selected content available in other languages.
Readers have posted 7,670 comments. Some of them praise the article, some correct it or argue with it or slam it, some add information that could itself be an article.
The site has had over 834,000 unique visitors and nearly 1,950,000 pageviews. Nearly 5800 people subscribe to get email versions of the articles.
Our most accessed article is Aren Cohen’s humorous discussion of writing thank-you letters for wedding presents, Thank You Notes and Positive Psychology. Originally published on December 8, 2008, it continued getting an occasional hit until suddenly it took off, going from 3000 total hits on August 1 2010 to 104,000 hits today.
Two collections of articles have been published as books with lovely illustrations by Kevin Gillespie: Resilience: How to Navigate Life’s Curves and Gratitude: How to Appreciate Life’s Gifts. We have plans for a third on positive relationships. Perhaps we’ll get it done in 2012.
Angus Skinner recommends Unhappiness is Part of Life (July 2008) because it emphasizes that positive psychology, from its earliest days, was never lop-sided. And it links back through centuries to Burton who in the 17th century wrote probably the messiest and most humorous book in the English language, The Anatomy of Melancholy. Happiness and unhappiness were not invented in 2000 anymore than sex was invented in 1963, which as Larkin wrote, was a little late for me.
Marie-Josée Shaar recommends Does Sleep Really Matter? (June 2009) because the importance of good sleep is severely under-estimated. As a result, sleep deprivation is at the root of a lot of the lifestyle challenges we face today. This article starts to unfold some of the many impacts of sleep deprivation, with the hope that people will take good sleep habits more seriously.
Amanda Horne recommends Little Drops of Quiet (April 2010) because she likes Jenny Fox Eades’ quotation which formed the title of the article: “We can all find moments throughout the day to create little drops of quiet. It changes the quality of the day and it changes the quality of our relationships.”
Christine Duvivier recommends Myths of Education: Bottom Students Are Not Hardworking, Motivated, or Bright (January 2009) because it celebrates the unlikely, unsung, underdog hero.
Senia Maymin recommends her article with Margaret Greenberg, Changing the Questions at Work (January 2009) because it shows that the answers are not always there. Sometimes the questions are the important part.Elaine O’Brien recommends Medical Wellness In Action: Exercise is Medicine® (July 2011) because Positive Exercise Practices (PEP) help lift us up and are an important part of leading us to better health and well being through our life span. She recently attended a meeting at the UN on Physical Activity and Non-Communicable Diseases. We can increase public health by embracing healthier lifestyles. We also need to harness health care as preventative, rather than the current model that is primarily sick care. PEP can help improve our comprehensive health, quality of life, minds, and hearts.
Jeremy McCarthy: The Defenders of Negativity (October 2011) because it elicited a great discussion in the comments which continued in other articles as well.
Louisa Jewell: Folding Fitted Sheets and Female Happiness (October 2010) because it seems that women stress about too many things, and we deserve the time to take care of ourselves.
Emily VanSonnenberg: Resolving New Year’s Resolutions (Jan 2011) because it shows that our experience in life is our choice. We can set intentions and work toward goals that align with the experiences we want to create while alive.
Ryan Niemiec: Ten Principles of Character Strengths (May 2010) because there is significance in continuing to widen our views of our character strengths as it’s all-too-easy to take them for granted and be “blind” to who we are and what we are expressing.
Steve Safigan: Self-Kindness: A Healthier Alternative to Self-Esteem? (October 2010) because self-compassion has nearly all of the benefits of self-esteem without the downsides. Being kind to ourselves is most beneficial when we need it the most, when we’ve failed in some way and self-esteem has taken a hit.
Sulynn: Piety, a Character Strength (July 2009) because piety is an ancient virtue that underlies civility, is found in both Chinese and Greek traditions, and plays an unseen part in virtually every human relationship. Piety transcends logical reason. It is an interpersonal strength that seeks to promote another’s welfare without concern for what is fair. It is absolutely essential to a well-functioning society. We could do with more piety in the world.Orin Davis: Reverse Engineering Positive Psychology because we need to know ourselves well enough to capitalize on the insights of others and apply them to ourselves effectively. It is not enough just to do what works for others, because we are not those others; we must do what works for ourselves by incorporating the knowledge and experience of others.
Aren Cohen: Be The Little Engine That Could because in many ways it has become the mission statement of my practice. Teaching parents and students how and why mindsets and goal setting are important is essential for our collective success, and I find that this article is a great introduction to those concepts using a familiar children’s story to which we can all relate.
Kathryn Britton: Powerful Questions to Ask at a Job Interview because Alan Foster’s 6 questions are still so relevant to people seeking employment that will allow them to live and thrive.
PPND authors have reviewed more than 70 books and referenced more than 400. Some books are by luminaries in the positive psychology field, including Todd Kashdan, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Barbara Fredrickson, Martin Seligman, and Tal Ben-Shahar. Some are about applications in particular contexts, such as Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness and Atul Gawande’s Better.
PPND authors have also published books.
David Pollay wrote The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Respond to People Who Dump on You, and How to Stop Dumping on Others. For a quick preview check out his October 2007 article, The Law of the Garbage Truck™ or Margaret Greenberg’s article, Get in the No Garbage Trucks! Zone – An Interview with Author David J. Pollay.
Caroline Miller wrote Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide, the first book to emerge from the MAPP program at Penn. Emiliya Zhivotovskaya wrote the review.
When Sherri Fisher, John Yeager, and David Shearon wrote SMART Strengths – Building Character, Resilience and Relationships in Youth, they incorporated some of the ideas they had worked out on PPND. Christine Duvivier wrote the review.
Ryan Niemiec, who has written articles about positive psychology Oscar awards for movies, has written Positive Psychology At The Movies: Using Films to Build Virtues and Character Strengths. Derrick Carpenter wrote the review.
Marie-Josée Shaar and Kathryn Britton recently published Smarts and Stamina: The Busy Person’s Guide to Optimal Health and Performance. Louisa Jewell wrote the review.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the first 5 years and come back for more. We’d love to hear in the comments what you most enjoy about the site and what else you’d like to see in the years to come.
The Positive Psychology News Series:
Books written by PPND Authors in the first five years:
Books written by PPND Authors later:
5th birthday cake courtesy of ntr23
Thank You Note supplies and Sleeper courtesy of Kevin Gillespie
I think God… courtesy of Amanda Horne
Human choreography courtesy of James
Perfectly folded sheets courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski
Tailoring to fit courtesy of Jay Tamboli