Martin Seligman theory about positive psychology
Positive psychology takes a different approach to human issues compared to other forms of psychology. One of the founding fathers of positive psychology Martin Seligman helps bring out a clear picture of how positive psychology develops. His description of authentic happiness may not be what is reasonable to people. His relation to happiness and health shows that individuals who are viewed to be physically healthy may not be necessarily happier than those who seem physically unhealthy (Seligman, 2015). His argument is that physical health may not necessarily be a determinant of happiness. My knowledge before enlightenment by Seligman was that people who exercise and keep fit tend to be happier than those who seem unfit. I love exercising and being at the gym and consider myself to be physically healthy. In my view, my fitness contributes to my happiness to a given level. However, it is evident that that may not necessarily be the case for other individuals.
I often enjoy the warmer weather, and when I am in this type of climate, I feel happy and realized. As positive psychology proposes, cold weather leads to the development of depression, which I could attest to due to my experience with regions characterized by cold weather. Therefore when I compare the various experiences, I have had in both types of whether I would prefer being in the warm weather. It is evident in the experience I had when I moved to North Dakota a cold region where I would feel miserable. In positive psychology, there is the need for various virtues that help define an individual and in my case, the virtues I hold describe my way of finding fulfillment in my daily life.
Careers are often an aspect of our lives where it is necessary to find fulfillment. As Seligman asserts, it is necessary that we mold our careers into what we love doing, and the six virtues are necessary for ensuring that this happens. They will help in developing a sense of belonging with our chosen careers other than just doing it for the sake of the pay. It is in such instances that any individual who loves the career path that he or she takes that it is easier to deal with stress levels in life and avoid conditions like depression.
Authentic happiness by Seligman
As Seligman recommends people need to work on developing their happiness and it is where he brings in the issue of authentic happiness (Seligman, 2015). It may not be easy always to be happy, but it is necessary that one works towards developing a sense of genuine happiness in life. Stressful events will always be present, and it is not guaranteed that one will not go through such. It is, however, necessary that people identify their limit especially regarding stress and go for activities that help in reducing their levels of stress thus generating authentic happiness. Character strengths and virtues are also important aspects of positive psychology, which mainly help in self-awareness and the improvement of personal accomplishments. I took the test from the positive psychology center to help me in identifying my top strengths. According to the test, my top five strengths were fairness, equity and justice, the capacity to love and be loved, leadership, kindness and generosity and modesty and humility.
I would say that the strengths clearly describe who I am because they depicted my particular strengths and virtues. However, their order was a surprise to me because what I would have had as the first strength was not what the test brought out. I would take my top strength to be fairness and equality followed by kindness and generosity; love would have been the third, modesty and humility fourth and leadership as the fifth. I believe that the above sequence describes me better that what come out through the test.
Happiness and well-being are also concepts in positive psychology, which in the class dealt mainly caring for children while applying the concepts of happiness and well-being. It is the work of parents to provide their children direction and the opportunity to inculcate happiness and well-being within and in their lives. It is however not healthy if there is room for too much choice as Dr. Ilona Boniwell describes. Parents will always wish happiness for their children but in many cases do not help their children learn how to develop happiness from a young age (Tedx Talks, 2013). Children will need to assist in identifying what choices to go for, and in making decisions to settle for a particular thing other than going for everything, which may cause unnecessary distress and pressure for them. The comparison is also dangerous according to Dr. Boniwell (Tedx Talks, 2013). The only thing that can result from comparison especially to a person who seems ahead of us in one aspect of the other is a negative frame of thinking and therefore unnecessary distress. It is, therefore, necessary to be satisfied with what we have and know that in life, we can never be at the same level but there will be people better than we are, and there will be those who are behind us.
I believe that how one's life turns out often stems from their mind and consequently the brain. It was interesting to learn that the older we get, the thinner our mind becomes. It was a new a surprising concept for me. However, experts recommend the use of meditation in maintaining the health of our brains. Meditation is a form of therapy, which helps keep the mind at ease thus ensuring that the rest of the person remains calm (Winston, 2017). The clinical application of psychology also offered a point of insight. There was a picture demonstration that depicted positivity and negativity not only in our lives but also in society as a whole. It is always easy to notice happiness in other people because they will easily express happiness. However, sadness becomes a matter that people will want to hide from others. It is the reason why one will smile even when sad to avoid being questioned concerning the problem.
Positive psychology also talks about sources of happiness, and it was interesting to identify that many of the positive emotions individuals experience are fifty percent inherited and the individual has the power to increase these levels by ten to fifteen percent in the course of his or her life. An integration of positive psychology into the class also presented an interesting part of the course for me. It offered an opportunity for practicality and the chance for people to voice their strengths and learn how to apply these strengths in various organizations. It was also the opportunity to identify how one can integrate their strengths into their life to deal with their fears and incorporate these concerns to a level where they are not points of distress.
I find the class to be interesting so far and the information applies to all aspects of life. It offers the basis for generating happiness in one's life thereby living a fulfilling one. I appreciate how everything we learn and practice continues to build on my overall life happiness and gives me guidelines on how to be genuinely happy. It also provides the right platform for learning how to care not only for ourselves but other people in our communities because they too have an influence on our daily lives. The class continues to enlighten me on numerous personal issues I did not know about. It is helping me learn more about whom I am and different aspects in my life that affect my overall well-being in one way or the other. It gives me the opportunity to identify which part of my life needs adjustment, what needs to remain as it is and any new things I need to introduce to continue influencing my positivity. I believe it is the best opportunity to get my life on track and work towards self-fulfillment.
Seligman, Martin. (2015, June 30). Martin Seligman Authentic Happiness Discussion. Retrieved January 28, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Em-VqtpNrgg
Tedx Talks. (May 20, 2013). Educating for Happiness and Resilience. Dr. Llona Boniwell at TEDxHull. Retrieved February 17, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbC18wFkHNI
Winston, Diana. (2017). The Practice of Mindfulness. Retrieved February 20, 2017 from http://www.allmeditate.com/mindfulness-videos-youtube/
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