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Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 10:40 PM

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Resonant GuideUpdate: Wikipedia Entry : POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY

Positive psychology emphasizes what is right with people rather than what is wrong with them. The focus is on positive subjective experiences, cognitive constructs about the future, and the capacity for courage, aesthetic sensibility, creativity, perseverance, altruism, tolerance, and wisdom at the individual and group levels. "Every year, prestigious medical journals are filled with studies, showing a connection between your health and your outlook on life. Apparently, people with positive outlooks recover from surgery faster, have less heart disease, suffer less pain when they are ill, catch colds less frequently, and live as much as 10 years longer..."

On the week of November 26, 2003, The Infinite Mind, a weekly public radio series produced by Lichtenstein Creative Media presented Optimism [audio], examining the art and science of "keeping your sunny side up." Guests included; Dr. Martin Seligman, Dr. Lisa Aspinwall and Dr. Christopher Peterson

"You have -- within you -- the fuel to thrive and to flourish,
and to leave this world in better shape than you found it.
Sometimes you tap into this fuel -- other times you don't.
But the sad fact is that most people have no idea
how to tap into this fuel or even recognize it when they do.
Where is this fuel within you?
You tap into it whenever you feel energized and excited by new ideas.
You tap into it whenever you feel at one with your surroundings, at peace.
You tap into it whenever you feel playful, creative, or silly.
You tap into it whenever you feel your soul stirred by the sheer beauty of existence.
You tap into it whenever you feel connected to others and loved.
In short, you tap into it whenever positive emotions resonate within you."

-The Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Michigan

Some of the most prominent people in the field:

Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Martin's current mission is to transform social science to work on the best things in life - virtue, positive emotion, and positive institutions - and not just on healing pathology. He also director of the Positive Psychology Center, a not-for-profit organization located at the University of Pennsylvania. Part of its mission is to define positive psychology, understand it scientifically and help build fulfilling lives and thriving communities.

Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D., is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina. Barbara is also the Principal Investigator at The Positive Emotions & Psychophysiology Lab. Barbara has a new theory, called the "broaden-and-build model." It asserts that positive emotions broaden people's modes of thinking and action (unlike negative emotions, which narrow an individual’s momentary thought-action repertoire). Over time, this broadening of the possible responses to life events creates an "upward spiral," which builds the individual's strength and character, solidifies social bonds, and supports health and well-being. The theory illuminates how transient positive emotions can yield lasting effects, transforming people into more creative, resilient, socially integrated, and healthy individuals. Her research shows that positive emotions reduce heightened cardiovascular activity following negative emotions and build people's psychological resilience.

Lisa Aspinwall, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology at The University of Utah. Aspinwall says studies show that optimists are actually more able to perceive and integrate negative information, modifying their behavior to avoid danger, problems and risks. She was editor of "A Psychology of Human Strengths: Fundamental Questions and Future Directions for a Positive Psychology" declared "Outstanding Academic Title" by Choice magazine.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., is an Professor in the Department of Psychology, Positive Psychology Laboratory at the University of California, Riverside. "Many people believe that, when they become depressed, they should try to focus inwardly and analyze their feelings and problems in order to gain self-insight and find solutions. Contrary to such beliefs, my research suggests that repetitive and self-focused rumination about the implications of one's depressive symptoms actually appears to maintain those symptoms and impair one's ability to solve problems." She is also the author of "The How of Happiness."

Study Shows Brain Activity Influences Immune Function
While earlier studies have linked emotional and physical health, as well as brain activity and affective style, Davidson says now they have established a direct link between brain activity and immune function.
Martin E.P. Seligman touts positive psychology at Smithsonian program
'To build qualities for human flourishing' is his vision for the science.
Redefining the Good Life: a New Focus in the Social Sciences
Psychologists Lead Movement to Shift Scholars' Attention Away From Societal Ills and Toward Studying What Works
Where happiness lies
Social scientists reveal their research findings in the realm of positive psychology.
Mind Over Matter in Illness
From the news site for the cognitive sciences -- neurology, psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, linguistics, biology, sociology, anthropolgy and more.
Positive Psychological Assessment : A Handbook of Models and Measures
A primer for practitioners and researchers striving to incorporate assessment of human strengths, resources, and fulfillments into their work.


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