Positive psychology

Favorite quotations, etc.
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conwy
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Positive psychology

Post by conwy » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:25 pm

In a recent visit to a certain website, which shall remain unnamed, I stumbled upon a full set of audio Harvard lectures entitled 'Positive Psychology' given by professor Tal Ben-Shahar.

They've really been growing on me, to the point where I now put one on every early weekday morning when I'm still waking up and in my "I wanna curl up and die" state of mind.

Keen to hear people's thoughts on positive psych - good and bad.

Personally I love the stuff. Don't care whether it's true or false, it just makes me feel great about being alive!

Campitor
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by Campitor » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:54 pm

I've read and heard lectures on the effects of positive psychology and how you can "fool" yourself into being in a more positive or energetic state; there seems to be enough evidence of a beneficial effect. I think the behavior/mood modification potential is similar to a daydream or memory that makes you sad, angry, or happy - the effect on mood is real but temporary.

I think the challenge is making a habit of the positive affirmations so you keeping "fooling" yourself into whatever emotional set point you desire. Mileage may vary. I highly doubt someone with bipolar disease will cure themselves on positive thoughts alone. And just a reminder that psychology is a soft science.

In my personal opinion, I believe the beneficial effects of looking at a glass as half-full will outperform whatever benefits may be derived from the glass is half-empty approach.

ducknalddon
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by ducknalddon » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:34 am

My understanding is it isn't about positive thinking, that stuff has largely been debunked now.

It's more about flourishing and living a good life although the cynic in me wonders whether the American Psychological Association is trying to extend it's customer base to the whole population.

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FBeyer
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by FBeyer » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:46 pm

PosPsy emerged when some 'weirdo' suddenly asked the question: What really makes people happy as opposed to what people think makes them happy? The emerging outrage from the psychological society was non-trivial, it was deemed the stupidest thing they'd ever heard about... Clearly psychology is supposed to be about how to treat people who are ill, once people are back to baseline, they are on their own.

PosPsy is not about polyanna BS but about the 'rigorous'[1] approach to answering the question: what truly makes people happy. Which is why some of their findings seem trivial and some seem so controversial.

The Virtues In Action (VIA) test is really interesting, and so is Rashid & Anjum's list of things to do that correspond to your personal virtues: http://www.viacharacter.org/blog/ways-u ... strengths/

[1] LOL rigorous psychological research...

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jennypenny
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by jennypenny » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:40 pm

Harvard Med School article on the secret to happiness ... https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the ... 7100512543 . Basically says that you should learn to let things go and stay socially connected. Has anyone ever seen a similar study done on introverts specifically?

To the OP: those talks can help, but as others have said there are very specific actions you can take. If you never go beyond 'fake it till you make it', all that happens is that faking it becomes an ingrained habit.

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Re: Positive psychology

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:26 pm

I went to a talk from a buddhist nun a couple of days ago speaking on the subject of happiness from within

It was absolutely compelling and convincing.

She discussed how most avenues people seek happiness from are misguided. Whether it be from your job, your relationship, your reputation or your love of certain activities eg the outdoors. She made the point that any of those things can lead to pain if taken to the extreme - eh endlessly canoeing in the wilderness without stopping, endless sex etc. She made the point that other methods of happiness cannot bring you pain. And something which has the potential to give you pain is not the true pursuit of happiness. She described all of these things as momentary relief of some other pain or discomfort - eg intimate relationship as relief from loneliness, food as relief from hunger, boredom etc,

She went on to discuss how true happiness comes from a form of meditation, not just meditation in the sense of sitting there thinking about nothing. But a mindful meditation in each and every moment. Where you direct your thoughts towards virtuous notions. For example instead of focussing on yourself all the time (which the vast majority of people do 24/7) focus your thoughts on other people and making their life and situation and comfort better. Also to focus on banning on negative behaviours from your life. etc. There were quite a number of things.

I found it truly inspiring and compelling. I bought the book there and will read it. Its all very rational and logical. Without any knowledge of Buddhism I followed a similar approach to my life for a couple of months a few years back, without as much structure, but similarly a focus on external kindness and generousness, and found I hit a natural high for a sustained 2/3 month period with very elevated levels of happiness. Almost like being on drugs. I think it takes quite a bit of discipline to focus your thoughts this way but it definitely provides for an engaged way of living. And once you kick start it , then it becomes easier.

I want to bring quite a bit of focus to these things as my new years res rather than just focusing on task oriented goals like I usually do.

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FBeyer
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by FBeyer » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:24 am

The Book? What's the title of The Book?

Have you never heard of mindful meditation before, or did she speak of a certain type of mindful meditation?

thrifty++
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by thrifty++ » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:10 pm

@Fbeyer - no I had never heard of mindful meditation before. Not the way she described it anyway.
The book is called How To Transform Your Life by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.

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BadHorse
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by BadHorse » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:35 am

thrifty++ wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:26 pm
For example instead of focussing on yourself all the time (which the vast majority of people do 24/7) focus your thoughts on other people and making their life and situation and comfort better.
iirc that's also the final conclusion to the Dale Carnegie classic "How to win friends and influence people".
It's also at the heart of old fashioned "good manners/good breeding". E.g. you don't go to a party just to enjoy yourself and talk to the people you want to talk to. You go there and take active responsibility for all guests having a good time, no-one being left out of conversation etc. Reading old books on 'proper manners' really opened my eyes to how selfish and self-absorbed, almost boorish, many people are (myself often included, unfortunately).

It makes me wonder if in the modern western individualist culture, our relentless quest for individual happiness actually makes us less happy.

Farm_or
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by Farm_or » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:23 am

"Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit." Hosea Ballou

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jennypenny
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by jennypenny » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:44 pm

Infographic from the Mayo Clinic about flipping a switch to make ourselves happier. Interesting that they imply that focusing makes us happy, as compared to the discussion in the meditation thread.

I did like the idea of wishing someone well before judging them.

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FBeyer
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by FBeyer » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:44 pm

jennypenny wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:44 pm
Infographic from the Mayo Clinic about flipping a switch to make ourselves happier. Interesting that they imply that focusing makes us happy, as compared to the discussion in the meditation thread.

I did like the idea of wishing someone well before judging them.
Well wishing as a meditation form is known as Metta by the way. Just in case someone wants to check it out. It might have been a matter of 'when the student is ready, the master appears' but sitting on my ass and doing nothing but wishing other people well has actually changed the way I interact with people on a daily basis.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Positive psychology

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:38 pm

I don't know if this is a good idea for people who already err on the side of dopey, optimistic, the sun will come up tomorrow functioning. I need the form of meditation that helps with not spacing out on the bus and missing your stop, even though you just told yourself to NOT do that again when you got on the bus. You have to first notice that there are other people on the bus, or planet, with you before you either judge or wish them well in the moment.

The terrible therapist my "ex" and I saw prior to our break-up gave us the assignment of keeping a gratitude journal. My "ex" delegated the task to me, but then both he and the terrible therapist told me that I did it wrong because I chose to assign numerical ratings to my measure of daily gratitude. So, I do not believe this to be a practice in alignment with rational functioning.

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