Category Archives: Positive Psychology

Your happiness depends on it.

There are such simple, wonderful concepts here. Including the 3 to 1 positivity ratio in your life can make it so much better.

Tony

Thriving Under Pressure

Most people fight against what brings them despair instead of openly receiving what brings them joy.

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Shift your focus. Change your life.

Consciously accept the good that already exists in your life.

Your health. Your freedom. Your vision. Your voice.

Accepting what is does not lower the bar.

Quite the opposite.

Acceptance opens your eyes to all the favour that exists in your life.

Your hope. Your creativity. Your community. This moment.

And it’s that good feeling that motivates you to strive for more of what’s right for you. Instead of fighting against what’s wrong for you.

Begin by accepting what is.

Moment by precious moment.

Your happiness depends on it.

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 Applying this Post in Everyday Life

  1. The 3 to 1 positivity to negativity ratio is one way of applying this post in your everyday life.
  2. Specifically, each time you criticize something about yourself (or any area of your life)…

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Give Yourself More Credit for Doing These Things

There are some really nice positive ideas here. What seem like little things often count plenty in the big picture.

Tony

Our Better Health

Let’s do a roll call: who here has been giving themselves a hard time lately? If this is you, it’s time to cut yourself some slack! You may not realize it, but there are countless things you accomplish every day that are absolutely praiseworthy.

No, really! If we don’t give ourselves credit for the small stuff, how can we feel comfortable patting on ourselves when we accomplish something massive?

The next time you start doubting yourself and your capabilities, reflect on this list as a reminder of all that you do that is right as rain. And give yourself some credit – you really deserve it.

1. Catching Some ZZZs

Getting enough sleep every night is not an easy feat! Whether we’re a working parent of triplets or someone who is struggling with managing their anxiety levels, the fact that we get as many ZZZs as we can is a…

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Is Happiness a Choice?

This is a wonderful explanation of happiness and our own experience of it. I subscribe to Positive Psychology.

Check out my Page – Positive Psychology – What’s it all about? for more details.

Tony

Thriving Under Pressure

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The Happiness Question

Have you ever wondered why some people remain upbeat and positive despite the chaos that surrounds them while others are utterly miserable even in good times?  What explains the difference between these two groups of individuals?

Are happy people just lucky people born happy? And unhappy people born miserable?  Or is happiness a choice we make day by day, moment to moment?

The answer to this question is mixed. On one hand, 50% of happiness is predetermined by biology (e.g., inborn temperament) while the remaining 50% is influenced by life circumstances and intentional activities.

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The Happiness Formula

As stated above, research indicates that approximately 50% of happiness is genetic (e.g., temperament), 10% is life circumstances (e.g., income), and 40% is intentional activities (e.g., daily exercise, meditation, forgiveness).

Though we may have little control over genetics and/or life circumstances — we do have personal agency when it comes…

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The Surprising Secret to Healthy Aging

Really good information in this.

 

To read more on lining your head up straight, check out my Page – Positive psychology – What’s it all about?

Tony

Our Better Health

You probably know that exercise and diet are important when it comes to aging well. But there is something else you control that can help you along: a positive attitude.

Research shows more and more that your approach to life may be just as important in making your “golden years” your best years.

Aging: It’s in Your Mind

Growing older brings with it some natural changes (think those creaky knees). But folks who see good years ahead and who don’t accept stereotypes about aging — such as you’re less useful — may actually live longer.

And there’s science to back that up.

One study found that thinking positively about getting older can extend lifespan by 7.5 years. And that’s after accounting for things such as gender, wealth, and overall health. Some 660 women and men in Ohio joined this study, and they were monitored for more than 20 years.

If…

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5 ways to hold optimism — and reap health benefits – Harvard

As regular readers know, I feel very strongly about positive psychology. I stumbled across it some years ago and it certainly moved my life to a higher plane. You can read more about it at the end of this post. In the meantime, I wanted to share this nice write up from Harvard Health Publications.

A growing body of research indicates that optimism — a sense everything will be OK — is linked to a reduced risk of developing mental or physical health issues as well as to an increased chance of a longer life.

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One of the largest such studies was led by researchers Dr. Kaitlin Hagan and Dr. Eric Kim at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Their team analyzed data from 70,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, and found that women who were optimistic had a significantly reduced risk of dying from several major causes of death over an eight-year period, compared with women who were less optimistic. The most optimistic women had a 16% lower risk of dying from cancer; 38% lower risk of dying from heart disease; 39% lower risk of dying from stroke; 38% lower risk of dying from respiratory disease; and 52% lower risk of dying from infection.

Yes, you can acquire optimism.

Even if you consider yourself a pessimist, there’s hope.Dr. Hagan notes that a few simple changes can help people improve your outlook on life. Previous studies have shown that optimism can be instilled by something as simple as having people think about the best possible outcomes in various areas of their lives,” she says. The following may help you see the world through rosier glasses: Continue reading

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7 Reasons positive emotions are good for your heart – Infographic

While the holiday season is a joyous time it can also bring about its own set of stressors. Thought this little infographic might be a nice reminder.

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Happy holidays!

Tony

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Optimism may reduce risk of dying prematurely – Harvard

Having an optimistic outlook on life—a general expectation that good things will happen—may help people live longer, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Based on prospective health data from the Nurses Study in 2004, it found that women who were optimistic had a significantly reduced risk of dying from several major causes of death—including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection—over an eight-year period, compared with women who were less optimistic.

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The study appeared online December 7, 2016 in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Continue reading

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This One Shift Will Change The Way You See Yourself (& Others!)

growth-mindset

Here is another round of fine information on personal growth with a positive mindset.

To read more on positive psychology check out:

Positive Psychology- What’s it all about?

How to harness Positive Psychology for you – Harvard

Practice positive psychology to improve your health

How you can benefit from a positive view on your life – WSJ

Tony

Our Better Health

  • The Challenge: We often assume our abilities and behaviors cannot (or are too hard to) be changed.
  • The Science: You are, indeed, capable of change! It’s all about the way we look at it!
  • The Solution: Cultivating a growth mindset can create positive change and new opportunities in your life!

We are often taught from a young age and through a variety of influences that ability is fixed. Either we’re smart or we’re not.  We’re athletic or we’re not. We’re artistic or we’re not. And certainly, we all differ to some extent in the types of things that seem to come more naturally to us.

Sometimes we’re standing in our own way

The problem is, this way of thinking can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if a young child does poorly on a math test and thinks “I failed this test because I’m not good at math,” she is…

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5 Ways Hope Improves Your Success

Our Better Health

The Challenge: We all want to find inner peace and perform at our best -how can we do it?
The Science: Hope is a little-known secret to getting ahead and improving well-being! 
The Solution: Implementing a hopeful mindset in life gives you 5 serious advantages!

Psychologists have proposed lots of different vehicles to success over the years. Grit, conscientiousness, self-efficacy, optimism, passion, inspiration, etc. They are all important. One vehicle, however, is particularly undervalued and underappreciated in psychology and society. That’s hope.

Hope often gets a bad rap. For some, it conjures up images of a blissfully naïve chump pushing up against a wall with a big smile. That’s a shame. Cutting-edge science shows that hope, at least as defined by psychologists, matters a lot.

Here are 5 reasons hope gives you a serious advantage:

Hope Gives You Willpower

Why is hope important? Well, life is difficult. There are many…

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8 Everyday Activities That Increase Your Mental Health

I love the simplicity of this. Truly the best things in life are free.

When I bought my apartment, one of the major selling points was the fact that it overlooks Lake Michigan. My east view gives me sunrises every morning. Truly food for the soul.

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To read further on positivity, check out PHow to harness positive psychology for you – Harvard.

For more on number three – stress, check out Super tools for handling stress.

Tony

 

Our Better Health

Which of these uncomplicated activities to you do most days?

Do these most days and it will help protect your mental health.

1. Dwell on the positive

Positive memories could be used as a way to help boost mental well-being, new research finds.

People in the study were asked to focus on positive social memories.

Participants focused on their own positive feelings from that memory as well as on the positive feelings of the other person.

The results showed that people felt socially safer and more positive and relaxed after the exercise.

At the same time feelings of guilt and fear were reduced.

2. Drink some tea

Tea is both calming and can make you feel more alert.

It improves cognitive performance in the short-term and may help fight Alzheimer’s in the long-term.

Finally, it is linked to better mental health.

I’ll raise a cup to that!

From: Tea: 6…

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Positive Psychology – What’s It All About?

Here is a wonderful little animation on Positive Psychology.

It’s only a couple of minutes long but could change your life. The unique element in positive psychology is that it isn’t about what is wrong with you, but what is right with you.

Want to read more posts on Positive Psychology?

How to Harness Positive Psychology – Harvard

What is Positive Psychology?

How You Can Benefit ro a Positive View on Your Life – WSJ

Breaking Down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic

Positive Happy People Suffer Less Pain

Tony

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The Benefits of Optimism

If you always see the brighter side of things, you may feel that you experience more positive events in your life than others, find yourself less stressed, and even enjoy greater health benefits.

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This is not your imagination.

I have written time and again about the benefits of a postive mental outlook. Check out the following to read further:

How You Can Benefit From a Positive View of Life – WSJ

How to Become a Positive Thinker

How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard

These are just a sample. Search out Positivity in the SEARCH box at the right for more.

Tony

Our Better Health

Staying positive can improve stress management, productivity, and your health

By Elizabeth Scott, M.S.   Stress Management Expert    April 02, 2015.

Do you know someone who seems to always have a smile and a positive thought? Or are you yourself one of those people who is full of optimism? Hardships are seen as ‘learning experiences’ by optimists, and even the most miserable day always holds the promise for them that ‘tomorrow will probably be better.’

If you always see the brighter side of things, you may feel that you experience more positive events in your life than others, find yourself less stressed, and even enjoy greater health benefits.

This is not your imagination.

Researchers like Martin Seligman have been studying optimists and pessimists for years, and they have found that an optimistic world view carries certain advantages.

The Benefits of Optimism

Superior Health

In a study of 99 Harvard…

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How You Can Benefit from a Positive View on Your Life – WSJ

Regular readers know that I have embraced the theory of positive psychology. I have written a number of posts on the benefits of a positive point of view. You can find an index of them at the end of this post.

Meanwhile, I was thrilled to see Elizabeth Bernstein’s piece in the Personal Journal of Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal entitled “It’s Healthy to Put a Good Spin on Your Life.”

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In a study of a large number of adults in their mid to late 50’s researchers found that “when people displayed higher levels of agency, communion and redemption and lower levels of contamination, their mental health improved. They consider good mental health to be low levels of depression and high levels of life satisfaction and psychological and social well-being.”

They explained the four keys to good mental health as follows:

• Agency—Did the subjects feel able to influence and respond to events in life, or did they feel battered around by the whims of external forces?

• Communion—Are the people connected to others or disconnected?
• Redemption—Did the subjects take a negative experience and find some positive outcome?
• Contamination—Did they tell narratives of good things turning bad?”

I would like to point you to a post I wrote in May of 2011 called Super Tools for Handling Stress.

In it I quoted Maggie Crowley, Psy.D., a Health Psychologist at the center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness at Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group.

Dr. Crowley listed the following as maladaptive coping strategies:

*Demand our circumstances be different
*Devalue ourselves and others
*Demean/blame ourselves and others
*When the above fail to work, do we choose another strategy?
*Or, do we double our ill-conceived efforts and feed our downward spiral.

She said that we needed something to shift our mental gears out of the stressful/fearful response that triggers that damaging cascade of negative emotion. She suggested the following activities that set off the parasympathetic approach:

*Practicing appreciation
*Making choices that are positive
*Using constructive language
*Employing our strengths and personal power.

I think there is a great similarity between the four keys to good mental health mentioned in the Journal and the points made by Dr. Crowley in dealing with stressors.

Regarding positive psychology, I have found it answered a lot of questions for me. If you are interested you can explore it in the following posts:
What is Positive Psychology?
How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard
Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic
11 Ways to Become a Better, More Positive You
How to Become a Positive Thinker
7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive
Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain

Tony

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How to Be More Optimistic

Reframe your frustrations. Researchers at the University of Kent in England found that people who strived to see the positive side of things that went wrong – rather than venting to friends about what went wrong, or blaming themselves for small failures – were happier and more satisfied at the end of the day.

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To read further on positive thinking, check out my posts:
What is Positive Psychology?
Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic
How to Become a Positive Thinker
Positive Thoughts To Dwell On
How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard
Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain

Tony

 

Our Better Health

Perspective is everything, and you can learn to change a negative outlook.

By Colleen Oakley      WebMD Magazine – Feature Reviewed by Patricia A. Farrell, PhD

Think happy thoughts. Find the silver lining. Look on the bright side.

Rolling your eyes yet? Alexandra Hruz is. She’s a 27-year-old self-proclaimed pessimist who lives in Chattanooga, TN. “When people are overly optimistic, it’s much easier to be let down by circumstances,” she says. “I don’t think the world is going to end tomorrow, but I also don’t like to hang my hopes on things working out on their own, simply by the power of positive thinking.”

But experts say positive thinking has serious benefits that go beyond a perky attitude. According to a recent study from the University of Pittsburgh, women who expect good things to happen have a 30% lower risk for heart disease.

Optimism was also linked to a…

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Weathering the Storm

The key to resilience is thinking more flexibly and learning to increase your array of options. The psychologist Martin Seligman advocates disputation, in which you think of your mind as a courtroom where negative thoughts are instantly put on trial.

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You can rebut these thoughts, and you should. Now you’re acting as your own defense counsel, throwing at the court every bit of evidence you can think of to prove the belief is flawed. The bad thought is no longer a lock, and it dies amid the doubt.

I think one of the most important concepts I know is that we also learn from negative feedback.

Tony

Our Better Health

Failure destroys some people. Others rise from the ashes, only to come back stronger. A guide to surviving tough times.

By Bruce Grierson,       published on May 1, 2009       last reviewed on December 18, 2014

In September of 2008, Philip Schultz, a humble and plainspoken fellow, crossed the hardwood floor and slid in behind a temporary lectern in the Center for Well-Being at The Ross School in East Hampton. It was commencement day for the eighth-grade class. Some students recognized Schultz, who was giving the address, as the father of eighth-grader Eli. He was a local poet.

Schultz told the students he hadn’t learned to read until he was 11. By then, he’d been held back a grade and was a permanent member of what the other kids called the “dummy class.” Teachers just didn’t know what to do with a kid like Phil Schultz—who…

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The Emotion Which Has a Wonderful Protective Effect on Mind And Body

Our Better Health

How this feeling could protect you against depression and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Positive emotions, especially the feeling of awe, have been linked to lower levels of inflammatory cytokines by a new study.

The research suggests that the positive feeling from enjoying the beauty of nature or getting lost in a painting or symphony can actually help protect the body against heart disease, arthritis, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Dacher Keltner, one of the study’s authors, said:

“That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions — a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art — have a direct influence upon health and life expectancy.”

Across two different experiments, 200 people reported their emotions during the day, including the extent to which they felt:

  • amusement,
  • awe,
  • compassion,
  • contentment,
  • joy,
  • love
  • and pride.

Their cheeks were also swabbed…

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