Love, thanks

I’d like to
Express
How much love
Thanks
I wouldn’t be
If it weren’t
For all it took
Here and there
I think of
How it was!
I take that
Forward and
Express
How much love
Thanks

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Person-Centered and Reality Therapy

Person-centered therapy puts great emphasis upon the relationship between the therapist and the client. Carl Rogers himself theorized that the necessary conditions for change depended upon the quality of the relationship between therapist and client. This is accomplished in therapy through the therapist presenting themselves as being genuine, or congruent (Corey, 2013). The next way the therapy is applied is through a therapist’s unconditional positive regard for the client. By showing the client that they legitimately care about their well-being, the relationship deepens. There are no judgments placed upon the client; it is important that the therapist accepts the client just as they are. The greater the level of care and accepting between these two people, the greater the chance that the therapy will be successful. Another aspect of the process is to accurately understand the client’s experiences and feelings as they are related to the therapist. The point of this is to get the client to feel closer to themselves, in the hope that they will be able to recognize and do something about the incongruities they identify (Corey, 2013). There are no techniques in particular for this form of therapy; what is of greatest importance is that the therapist remains engaged deeply with the client, and that they feel as safe and well-regarded as possible in their attempts at undoing the incongruity that they are experiencing (Corey, 2013). This form of therapy is certainly a positive approach to managing crisis in a client’s lives. The unconditional positive regard that a therapist shows for a client may be above and beyond the kindness shown in any of their other relationships. In this environment a client should feel completely free to express, recognize, understand, and to work towards resolving the blockages in their life.

            The key concepts of reality therapy include its view of human nature. Reality therapy states that we are not born “blank slates” that are impressed upon by the world (Corey, 2013, p. 336). Instead, we are born with five needs that motivate our lives. These needs are survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun (Corey, 2013). Of these needs, to love and feel a sense of belonging are of prime importance. Generally, people who enter reality therapy have no one to relate to, or have great difficulty relating to the people who are in their lives (Corey, 2013). Choice theory is central to the workings of reality therapy. Choice theory states that what we do in life is behave, and that the vast majority of the time what we do is chosen. Total behavior is a component of choice theory that tells us all behavior is made from four parts: acting, thinking, feeling, and physiology. When talking about symptoms, choice theory would say it would be more accurate to describe someone as depressing, rather than being depressed. This switches a client from being passive to active in their role of experiencing (Corey, 2013). Reality therapy focuses on poor relationships, or the absence of a relationship, within a client’s life. The therapist would ask the client to reflect on how their choices of behavior may affect their relationships. The emphasis here is on what the client can, in fact, control themselves: their behavior. By emphasizing choice and responsibility, a client is made aware that they are the one in charge of how they act. By changing these behaviors a client will learn that the consequences also change. Differing from therapies such as psychoanalysis, reality therapists act as themselves within therapy, and reject the idea of transference (Corey, 2013). All of this works to empower the client to understand their behavior, and to choose to make different decisions in the future. Reality therapy would certainly be applicable in a multicultural approach. The therapist shows respect for the client by aiding them in figuring out how well their current behavior is working for them and the people they are in relation with. The therapist is not telling the client how their behavior is or is not beneficial, but instead they are leading them to make their own conclusions about what their behavior is bringing them.

References

Corey, G. (2013). Clinical and Counseling Psychology. Mason: Cengage.

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Anxiety and Children: Causation and Treatment

Anxiety is a feeling that is experienced throughout the life cycle. The well-adjusted individual will come upon anxiety, and work to alleviate the feeling; hopefully, learning something in the process and creating the ability to avoid a similar situation in the future. Unfortunately, childhood anxiety is a real problem that is commonplace in today’s society (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014). A child who experiences a traumatic event, abuse, or perhaps a scary situation may become predisposed to developing an anxiety disorder that could last as they learn and develop. Children who develop these disorders are seen to have more serious versions of anxiety disorders than older individuals. As opposed to a child who experiences a regular amount of anxiety, and adjusts, a child who has developed an anxiety disorder exhibits specific traits. These negative traits include being irregularly timid and irritable, overly shy in front of people, fearful of new situations, they sleep poorly, and often feel as though they are not good enough in their endeavors. A child with a high amount of anxiety often learns to cope with these feelings by becoming overly reliant on parents and family for support (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014). Experiencing these emotions this early in life may cause a condition that, if not dealt with, could cause problems throughout the formative years and into adulthood. It is of great importance that causal factors are identified, and corrective treatment paths are laid out to support these youths.

The most common form of childhood anxiety takes the form of separation anxiety (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014). Past health studies have shown it occurring in rates between 2 and 41 percent of children studied. Traits that children experiencing separation anxiety exhibit are similar to those of the other anxiety disorders, as well as a focus on a lack of self-confidence, apprehension, and a tendency to immature for their age. They feel easily discouraged, worry excessively, and cry comparatively easy to others their age. Anxiety over detachment from major figures in their lives is the essential feature of this disorder. Many times, a stressor from the child’s past is seen to trigger the disorder: such as the death of someone who was close to them, or a beloved pet. When actually separated from the figures in their lives, these children become distracted by thoughts of their parents becoming ill, or dying. Children who experience separation anxiety as a disorder often go on to developing other anxiety disorders if not treated effectively (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014).

Factors that cause anxiety disorders to arise during childhood have been studied and identified. Genetic predispositions are thought to be one cause, as well as social and cultural factors. An example of this would be a study by Potochnick and Perreira (2010) that found immigrant Latino youths were at a higher risk for anxiety and depressive disorders. Many studies have focused on the influence of parenting types, family stress, and belonging to a minority family as factors for the causation of anxiety disorders in youths (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014). Children suffering from anxiety disorders will often become highly sensitive, which will make reacting negatively to situations an increasingly common affair. As a result, they may become more upset, more frequently, by small disappointments. As this process continues, a child may find it increasingly difficult to calm down, compounding the problem. Overly anxious children also show a modeling effect of a parent who is overanxious and protective. By sensitizing a child to perceived dangers and threats in the world, a parent may show a lack of confidence in a child’s ability to handle themselves; this may act to reinforce a child’s belief in their own inadequacy (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014).

Although chronic anxiety does in some cases progress later into life, causing maladaptive disorders, typically it does not. One cause of the alleviation is more and varied experiences in social settings such as school. When a child begins to make friends and succeed at tasks that they are given, their self-concept and esteem improves. Teachers who are aware of children who are struggling with anxiety can also play a beneficial role by aiding them in having successful experiences that aid in alleviating anxiety. In addition to this, there are also biological and psychological treatments that are available for children (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014).

Psychopharmacological is a big word for drugs for mental disorders. These drugs are becoming more widely used for treating anxiety in children than they have in the past. Using these drugs is a delicate decision, as the symptoms of anxiety disorders also arise in other disorders, of which medication would not be the correct solution. A careful diagnosis is required to ensure that these drugs are correctly implemented. It is this writer’s opinion that drugs not be used to treat anxiety in children, and that psychological treatment is instead used.

Behavior therapy is another treatment that is available, and is often put into use in school settings. These therapies often include assertiveness training, which help in learning beneficial coping strategies and desensitizing them to their anxious behaviors. Positive reinforcement is seen to provide a benefit to children in learning to cope with their fears. Behavioral treatment for children is best used on a case by case basis. The use of real-life situations has been shown to be more effective a treatment than having a child imagine a situation (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014). The use of cognitive behavior therapies has also been shown to reduce anxiety in youths. By teaching children about how to identify the feelings they are experiencing, and beneficial ways to deal with them, marked improvements have been made in children experiencing elevated levels of anxiety (Butcher, Hooley, & Mineka, 2014).

One other interesting therapy approach is what’s called the FRIENDS program for preschool-aged children (4-7 years). This program addresses five areas of social and emotional learning: 1) developing a sense of self, 2) social skills, 3) self-regulation, 4) responsibility for others, and 5) prosocial behavior (Barrett, Fisak, & Cooper, 2015). This system goes above and beyond what traditional cognitive therapy has focused on. As opposed to focusing primarily on strategies that reduce current symptoms, the FRIENDS program has a dual focus. While working to reduce current symptomology it also promotes protective factors to prevent the onset and progression of any future disorders; this is done with a focus on resilience and well-being. In a study of 31 children diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, a study done by Barrett, Fisak, and Cooper (2015) showed a significant decrease in anxiety and shyness, and improved resiliency, as a result of completion of the treatment.

There will be events in children’s lives that will cause anxiety, there is no preventing that. By attempting to shield one’s child from the world may only make matters worse, possibly creating a separation anxiety disorder. Although these events mat transpire, there are methods available to aid in the development of resilient coping techniques. Cognitive therapy has been the go-to treatment in child anxiety treatment, and a new program entitled FRIENDS is now being shown to be even more effective. By facing life’s challenges alongside their children, parents and teachers alike are capable of aiding in the creation of beneficial outcomes to alleviate the pain, fear, and discomfort caused by a child experiencing an anxiety disorder.

 

References

Barrett, P., Fisak, B., & Cooper, M. (2015). The treatment of anxiety in young children: results of an open trial of the fun FRIENDS program. Behaviour Change, 231-242.

Butcher, J. N., Hooley, J. M., & Mineka, S. (2014). Abnormal Psychology. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

 

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Simple Tools of Great Value

A member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and a psychiatrist for fifty years, David Hawkins was also a world-renowned researcher into the nature of consciousness. Several of his books focus on theories of the different states of consciousness a person is able to experience, as well as how to ascend to high states of being while transcending lower levels.

Towards the end of the book I’m in, Hawkins describes how it is easy to get caught up in the vast library of knowledge available on spiritual studies. He goes on to say that while valuable information does arise from deep research, it often ends up being an interference. To move towards spiritual ascension he believes it is really only necessary to know and apply a few simple tools. The efficacy of these tools is empowered through the consistency of their use.

To be useful, the tool must be simple, and brief; perhaps consisting of only a single concept. He points out that spiritual evolution is not the consequence of knowing about the truth, but the willingness to become the truth.

*It must be noted by me at this point that I wholeheartedly support the choosing by intuition, and attraction, a spiritual teacher, teachings, or a school to which one feels aligned. Whatever that source may be.

From the list below, one could pick a primary tool, plus a few others, but many are not needed. Hawkins discusses how simple tools applied consistently will result in tremendous results.

  1. Be kind to everything and everyone, including oneself, all the time, with no exception.
  2. Revere all of life in all its expressions, no matter what, even if one does not understand it.
  3. Intend to see the hidden beauty of all that exists.
  4. Forgive everything that is witnessed and experienced, no matter what.
  5. Approach all of life with humility and be willing to surrender all positionalities and mental/emotional arguments or gain.
  6. Be willing to forego all perceptions of gain, desire, or profit and thereby be willing to be of selfless service to life in all its expressions.
  7. Make one’s life a living prayer by intention, alignment, humility, and surrender. True spiritual reality is actually a way of being in the world.
  8. Accept that by spiritual declaration, commitment, and surrender, knowingness arises that provides support, information, and all that is needed for the entire journey.

Phew! Easier said than done, am I right? ^_^ Certainly these are valuable ideals to reach for, if one were so inclined. I’d love to hear of anyone’s own simple tools, or rules that they live with!

Best wishes to all,

JP

Reference:

Hawkins, D. R., M.D., Ph. D. (2006). Transcending the Levels of Consciousness. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.

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The Effects of Mnemonics on Memory Recall

From the time that we are very small we begin to use mnemonics. We may not be aware that they are what we are using, but they aid us in the process of learning and remembering just the same. The earliest mnemonic I can remember using was Roy G. Biv. This is what is known as an acronym mnemonic. It stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; the colors of the rainbow. Without this memory tool, it would not be as easy to remember the colors (or the correct order of the colors) contained within a rainbow. A mnemonic itself is a tool that we use to expand the capacity of our memory by linking the material we are trying to learn to something that is easy for us to remember (Cacioppo & Freberg, 2013). These tools have been in use since the times of the ancient Greeks, who were the first to begin using them as a means to improve memory. The Greeks realized that a large amount of information could be condensed down in to one letter via the process of chunking; this is how an acronym works. The Greeks came up with several types of mnemonics that we still use today. Another would be the method of loci, wherein you visualize yourself walking through a familiar place. As you walk through, you visualize items to be remembered in specific places. To remember these items one need only take the same trip through the familiar location (some practice may be necessary for accurate results!) (Weiten, Dunn, & Hammer, 2015). These two methods are great for remembering a sequence of colors, or not forgetting your grocery list, but are mnemonics of use above and beyond these relatively simple examples? Just what sort of effect does the use of mnemonics have on memory? This research paper will set out to answer this question through a look at several mnemonics that are used in interesting settings to provide a benefit that extends beyond groceries.

Sometimes I’ll hear a song that will get stuck in my head for days. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine the use of music, or a melody, as a mnemonic device. Musical mnemonics are often believed to help children and adults in learning new information. In an attempt to lend scientific credibility to this belief, a team of researchers set out to discover whether they could use musical mnemonics as a means of aiding patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in remembering written song lyrics (Deason, Simmons-Stern, Ally, Frustace, & Budson, 2012). The experiment studied both patients who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, as well as healthy older adults. The experiment consisted of written song lyrics that were presented to both groups. Both healthy older adults, and those with Alzheimer’s, were broken down in to two groups. One group was show the song lyrics while they were read out loud in a normal voice. The other group was shown the song lyrics while they were being sung. After the test, the subjects went back to their daily lives for one full week. At the end of the week the patients were brought back in and tested to see how well they remembered the lyrics. The findings were quite interesting! Both groups that were sung the lyrics remembered them better than those who did not. However, the healthy older adults who were sung to only remembered the lyrics slightly better than the group of healthy older adults who were merely read to. The group of Alzheimer’s patients who were sung to remembered the song lyrics considerably better than the patients who were spoken to. This shows that the use of the musical mnemonic had more of an impact on the Alzheimer’s patients than it did on the healthy older adults (Deason et al., 2012). Using musical mnemonics as an aid for memory recall for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is a possibility following this experiment. Through further research it may be possible to determine to what extent it can help with memory recall. This is exciting news to the patients, and families of the patients, that are dealing with this tragic disease.

Learning biology can be a difficult task. But what if you are trying to learn biology in English, and it isn’t your native language? This was the task that students at Malaysian Matriculation Colleges faced when M.P. Yeoh (2015) conducted her research. The students were having difficulty remembering the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis. The purpose of the experiment was to see if a mnemonic would aid the students in remembering the facts, and also remember them in the right order. The mnemonic that was used was a song from “The Sound of Music,” except the lyrics to the song were replaced with the reactions of photosynthesis. Two groups were formed, one that would learn the song and lyrics, and the other which would not. As expected, the group that was taught the musical mnemonic responded to more questions correctly than the group that did not learn the song. While studies of this nature had been done prior to Yeoh’s research, there had not been one that investigated the use of mnemonics on students who were speaking English as a second language. Yeoh notes that biology is a “wordy” subject that can be difficult for those learning it in a language that is not their own (Yeoh, 2015, p. 387). This study shows the usefulness of mnemonics for those who are learning a subject in a language that is not their own. What could easily be a daunting task is made easier through the use of mental tricks such as the song and lyrics that are used in this example.

Teaching students is an admirable, and often times difficult, pursuit. This profession can be made exponentially more difficult when students with learning disabilities are in the classroom. How are we to best aid those students that learn at a different pace? A team of researchers set out to learn what sort of mnemonics work best in a social studies classroom, in regards to students who have learning disabilities (Hall, Kent, McCulley, Davis, & Wanzek, 2013). They found that several types of elaborations (a visual mnemonic) aided students in recalling information learned in the classroom. The first type of elaboration used is an acoustic elaboration, which aid students in remembering people, places, or events that have difficult to remember names. An acoustic elaboration is a visual image that would connect the people, place, or event that needed to be remembered with the important information regarding the subject. The teacher would then discuss how the image connects the information. A symbolic elaboration is similar to an acoustic one, however the image would contain a symbol as opposed to an acoustic keyword. Instead of finding a keyword in the image, a symbol would be identified. The last type of elaboration the researchers studied is a mimetic elaboration. These are interaction on pictures that represent facts without the use of a symbol or keyword. The research conducted showed that when these visual mnemonics worked best a teacher created a visual elaboration picture, and explained it to the students. Once this had been done several times, the students were given information and asked to try and come up with a picture of their own as an elaboration. This helped to solidify the information in their minds. The idea is that when a question is asked regarding the information in question, the elaboration image is pictured in mind. This aids with memory recall. The elaborations were found to aid students in this social studies class with their memory recall. By branching out and studying the effects of elaboration mnemonics perhaps their use could be expanded to encompass more disciplines, and aid those with learning disabilities in new and interesting ways (Hall et al., 2013).

College and university are a step-up in difficulty from grade school. Information is often taught at an accelerated pace. In order to take in and recall all of the information that is being presented, sometimes a mnemonic may be of use. Gregory Kenneth Laing (2010) conducted a study to determine the effects of mnemonics on learning for accounting students during their freshman year at university. Laing discusses how previous research in the field of mnemonics shows that its greatest use is in accelerating the rate that new information is learned and recalled. The study that he conducted tested two acronyms that the students would use to remember accounting equations. There was a control group in place that was not taught either acronym, as well. What was found was that both of the mnemonic devices aided the accounting students in recalling the equations, with one working slightly better than the other. Laing concluded from his research that the acronyms aided in the student’s formal reasoning skills, and that the use of mnemonics has a practical application for more varied tasks than just accounting (Laing, 2010). Given the success that these students seem to have through the use of mnemonics, the question arises why not use more and more such techniques to further benefit the students’ learning? Laing notes that the use if mnemonics as a strategy to increase memory recall is not a replacement for traditional verbal or written learning. He placed heavy emphasis on the importance of discussions, and thinking, about subjects. The use of mnemonics are an exercise in rote learning, Laing continued, and although they are beneficial in aiding memory recall and learning, they are not a substitute for other forms of teaching (Laing, 2010).

The most prevalent form of mnemonic that we as a culture use are acronyms and abbreviations. The media uses acronyms all the time to simplify organizations and teams. Good examples would be the NBA, NHL, or PGA for sports organizations. Many companies such as GM, IBM, and the NSA use acronyms to shorten their lengthy titles. When we go to a physician and see their title on the door we don’t think twice (after the first couple visits) as to what the letters mean (LPN, RN, PA, Dr.). Airports often use acronyms to shorten the lengthy names of other airports. When checking a bag, the identification tag is much more likely to read LAX than Los Angeles International Airport (Wubbolding, 2015). Counseling also makes extensive use of acronyms. Arnold Lazarus put forth BASIC I.D. to identify the seven modes of human functioning. The B stands for behaviors; A for affect; S for sensory complaints; I for imagery or fantasies; C for cognition such as attitudes, values, and beliefs; I is for imagery, and the D stands for drugs and the health of the client in question. Looking back on BASIC I.D., that does not seem like an easy learning tool. Truthfully, it is not easy. In order to remember and make sense of the information, a person must spend time studying the meaning behind each letter. Only after learning the concept to a degree does the aid of the acronym become apparent. This is an important concept to grasp. Although mnemonics may be of use for remembering facts, they work best when they are combined with knowledge gained through reading, writing, and discussing topics (Wubbolding, 2015). Of all the acronyms discussed in Wubbolding’s (2015) article on mnemonics, my personal favorite was one used in the field of mindfulness. Daniel Siegel created the acronym COAL, which stands for being curious about what is happening, remaining open to what is happening, accepting what is taking place in the now, and maintaining a loving stance towards the experience. The fact that acronyms and abbreviations are so deeply ingrained in our culture shows how good they are at aiding us in memory recall.

The connotation of the use of mnemonics seems to be for simple matters, such as PEMDAS, which is taught in math classes to signify the order of operations. However, the use of mnemonics is far greater than that, and perhaps they have the potential of even further use. Mnemonics have been shown to aid memory recall in those with serious debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. This could provide the basis for some form of treatment in the future, or relief from loved ones when the patient remembers something they previously could not. Another use for musical mnemonics is in aiding students who are learning a subject that is in a language that is not their native tongue. Research has shown that learning a song and lyrics that pertain to information that is being taught aids in the recall of the information. Students with learning disabilities also benefit from the use of mnemonics. Pictures that represent topics being taught can aid a student in re-constructing information that was taught in class. After a teacher provides a visual elaboration, a student may then also be given free rein to create a visual mnemonic of their own, further solidifying the learning process. Students of all kinds benefit from the use of mnemonics. Accounting students at the college level have shown improvement in their grades through the use of acronyms that simplify complex equations. Acronyms and abbreviations are the most common form of mnemonics. We see and hear them every day, though we may be so accustomed to them that we don’t even notice! I set out to discover what sort of effect the use of mnemonics has on memory recall. What I’ve found is that mnemonics aid us in simplifying information, and this in turn makes it easier for us to recall that information. The use of mnemonics stretches far and wide, and aids people of all backgrounds. There is significant room for further analysis on the use of mnemonics. Though studies have been conducted on their use in classrooms, the subjects that have been tested have been rather narrow. Perhaps mnemonics have a particularly beneficial effect on those learning a second language, or maybe acronyms will aid a boy or girl on a sports team remember a set of plays. While the use of mnemonics aiding memory recall is well documented, there are still many areas that they may be of use that have been not yet been investigated.

References

Cacioppo, J. T., & Freberg, L. (2013). Discovering psychology: the science of mind. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage.

Deason, R. G., Simmons-Stern, N. R., Ally, B. A., Frustace, B. S., & Budson, A. E. (2012). Music as a memory enhancer: differences between healthy older adults and patients with alzheimer’s disease. Psychomusicology: music, mind, and brain, 175-179.

Hall, C., Kent, S. C., McCulley, L., Davis, A., & Wanzek, J. (2013). A new look at mnemonics and graphic organizers in the secondary social studies classroom. Teaching exceptional children, 47-55.

Laing, G. K. (2010). An empirical test of mnemonic devices to improve learning in elementary accounting. Journal of education for business, 349-358.

Weiten, W., Dunn, D. S., & Hammer, E. Y. (2015). Psychology applied to modern life. Cengage Learning: Stamford.

Wubbolding, R. W. (2015). Acronyms and abbreviations in ct/rt. International journal of choice theory & reality therapy, 14-17.

Yeoh, M. P. (2015). Musical mnemonics to facilitate learning of matriculation biology: light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis. Pertanika journal of social sciences & humanities, 375-389.

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The Main Tenets of Positive Psychology

Abstract

Positive psychology is a relatively new area of study within psychology. This article will identify what the main tenets are within the study. Weiten et al. (2015) defines positive psychology as a movement that focuses on individuals’ strengths, and how they can become successful in their lives. Gratitude for what one has, and savoring of one’s experience rank high in importance. Setting goals, and monitoring one’s progress towards goal achievement, are important routes towards well-being. A person’s resilience towards events that occur in their life predict overall wellbeing. All of these factors combine to create a study of how to enhance the human experience.

Keywords: Positive, psychology, gratitude, resilience, achievement

The Main Tenets of Positive Psychology

Within the study of psychology there is a branch that has distinguished itself as being concerned with the strengths humans possess, and how they can become more successful (Weiten, Dunn, & Hammer, 2015). Positive psychology (PP) was introduced in 1998, when a man named Martin Seligman became the president of the APA (Weiten et al., 2015). Up until this point, the study of positive qualities of the human experience had been done outside of mainstream psychology (Weiten et al., 2015). Seligman proposed a shift in the paradigm of the psychological community as a means of moving away from the negative language it had been associated with. As PP became better defined, specific terms formed the backbone of the initial research, and became the main tenets from which research would grow from. Maiolino and Kuiper (2014) believe that gratitude has been shown to correlate with well-being, and that a person’s ability to enhance their positive experiences, or savoring, will also have a positive effect. Leontopoulou (2015) sees goal setting as a meaningful path to well-being, as it makes a person focus on their efforts to move towards the goals they set. Resilience, and the ability to recover, also help to make up the backbone of where PP has come from.

Gratitude may be defined as the ability to recognize and focus on the good things in a person’s life, and being thankful for them (Weiten et al., 2015). Maiolino and Kuiper (2014) conducted research that showed that individuals who spent more time paying attention to the feeling of gratitude in their lives reported fewer symptoms of depression. Higher levels of gratitude are associated with indicators of positive well-being; aspects such as life satisfaction, and positive affect (Maiolino & Kuiper, 2014). A person may experience an added benefit from the feeling if they are able to articulate it to the party in which they feel gratitude for. If a person is feeling thankful for a good deed they have received, they would add to the positive affect of gratitude by expressing the feeling towards the person for whom they feel grateful (Maiolino & Kuiper, 2014). Expressing this feeling will also strengthen social connections with others. It is important to note that expressing gratitude seems to extend the amount of time that a person feels positive emotions regarding a subject (Weiten et al., 2015).

We have all taken a moment in a positive experience to stop, and pay attention to what is happening. This strategy, known as savoring, is defined as the process of enhancing a positive experience through the use of different “cognitive and behavioral strategies” (Maiolino & Kuiper, 2014, p. 558). An example of this might be after having a positive experience, a person relates what had happened to family and friends. This process prolongs the amount of time a person receives satisfaction from a positive experience, increasing the overall affect the experience ends up having. Savoring can also be explained by the use of a well-known quote: “enjoying the journey is more important than arriving at the destination” (Weiten, et al., 2015). Research on a person’s ability to savor positive experiences has been shows to reduce depression symptoms and negative emotions, while raising the amount of positive emotions and making a person feel more relaxed (Weiten et al., 2015).

Leontopoulou (2015) sees goal setting as one of the main routes to well-being. This strategy helps a person to move in the direction of meaningful life goals, and achievements (Leontopoulou, 2015). Seligman originally included goal setting in his model of PP because he believed that people needed goals and challenges in their life to have feelings of competence and mastery (Leontopoulou, 2015). By creating goals for oneself, a person is self-regulating; this may lead them to avoiding negative scenarios, as well as staying in line with what they believe to be enhancing their own well-being. Leontopoulou (2015) notes that research has shown that matching up goals with one’s developing interests and values is linked to greater overall well-being. Related to goal setting is the feeling of hope. Hope refers to a person’s expectations that their goals may actually be achieved (Weiten et al., 2015). Having a hopeful outlook on one’s experiences has a positive effect not only on their goals, but on their overall well-being. A person who remains hopeful of their situation tends to believe that they will be better off in the future. This may lead them to be better prepared for situations they may face, and maintain a positive outlook on their goals (Weiten et al., 2015).

Throughout life, everyone comes across challenges, bumps in the road, and character building situations. The ability to recover, and often prosper, following one of these events is referred to as a person’s resilience (Weiten et al., 2015). Research done on resilience often focuses on major threats to a person’s well-being. Accidents, war, natural disasters, and family issues are all prominent courses of research (Weiten et al., 2015). These incidents are seen as damaging, sometimes even life threatening, to the individual. Despite the negativity surrounding these events, there are those who come out the other side psychologically resilient (Weiten et al., 2015). Resilience is a factor that anyone may use to their advantage; it is not a trait, but a way of coping with negative situations (Weiten et al., 2015).

While the study of PP is still relatively knew in comparison to many branches within the field of psychology, there is already a great amount of research showcasing its viability. By focusing on the positive aspects of the human experience, PP sets itself apart from other areas of inquiry. The use of gratitude, savoring, goal setting, and resilience all correlate towards an increase in a person’s overall sense of well-being. These main tenets within the field are a good base from which to build off of in the future. Research continues to be conducted, and other areas of PP, such as flow, mindfulness, and spirituality, continue to provide a glance at how one may foster a positive experience (Weiten et al., 2015).

References

Leontopoulou, S. (2015). A positive psychology intervention with emerging adults. European Journal of Counselling Psychology, 113-136.

Maiolino, N. B., & Kuiper, N. A. (2014). Intergrating humor and positive psychology approaches to psychological well-being. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 557-570.

Weiten, W., Dunn, D. S., & Hammer, E. Y. (2015). Psychology applied to modern life. Cengage Learning: Stamford.

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Tossed in the Sea

If it happened it was meant to be
Now I’m stuck, I can’t grab hold the key
When I pass it really hurts to see
Please let go and see that I’m set free

Oh and I suppose I brought this all on myself
Waiting on the edges hoping to come off the shelf
Please pick me oh what an awful sales pitch
Gotta find a way to drag myself out this ditch

If you get the feeling somethings wrong
Follow your intuition and be strong
Don’t you ever try and play along
Best to turn away and say so long

Oh and I suppose I brought this all on myself
Waiting on the edges hoping to come off the shelf
Can’t pretend behind it all I don’t care
Good intentions every morning I swear

Everybody told me just let go
I told them all there’s someone there I know
I thought that there was meaning far below
Another opportunity to grow

Oh and I suppose I brought this all on myself
Waiting on the edges hoping to come off the shelf
I can read your thoughts, can you read mine?
Written on my eyes, the clearest of signs

If it happened it was meant to be
Clearing out the attic of debris
Letting go and loving is the key
Toss those jealous feelings in the sea

Sunset

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