Tag Archives: Positive Psychology

Happy Thanksgiving!

Being thankful is what today is all about. I think it is important to remember that gratitude is very much a too two way street. When we express it we get as well as give.

Here is what Harvard had to say about gratitude in an early post on Positive Psychology:

“Express gratitude. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have — from a roof over your head to good health to people who care about you. When you acknowledge the goodness in your life, you begin to recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside yourself. In this way, gratitude helps you connect to something larger than your individual experience — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”

Enjoy your turkey today.

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Tony

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9 Ways You Can Improve Your Mental Health Today

neuroplasticity-aging-neuroscinecneews-publicSimple stuff here. You can make your life better today if you start integrating some of these into your daily doings.

I have written about positive psychology a number of times here:

Harvard on How to Harness Positive Psychology for you

Practice Positive Psychology to Improve Your Health

How You Can Benefit From a Positive View of Life WSJ

POSITIVE PEOPLE SUFFER LESS PAIN

Tony

Our Better Health

Sure, diet and exercise help. But so does opening up to a friend.

Oct 27, 2015     Patricia Harteneck, Ph.D., MBA

Mental health is much more than a diagnosis. It’s your overall psychological well-being—the way you feel about yourself and others as well as your ability to manage your feelings and deal with everyday difficulties. And while taking care of your mental health can mean seeking professional support and treatment, it also means taking steps to improve your emotional health on your own. Making these changes will pay off in all aspects of your life. It can boost your mood, build resilience, and add to your overall enjoyment of life:

Tell yourself something positive.

Research shows that how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel. When we perceive our self and our life negatively, we can end up viewing experiences in a way…

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How the 80/20 Rule Can Help Improve Your Health and Life

This is a wonderful organizing principle that you can apply to so many areas of your life.

In terms of your health, I love the idea that you work on getting healthier and get past the superficial idea of losing weight. If you live healthy,  you won’t need to lose weight.

Eat less; move move, live longer.

Autumn Walk

Tony

Our Better Health

Chris Freytag      03/14/2015       National fitness expert, speaker, contributor to Prevention magazine, author of several books and fitness DVDs

Okay, short history lesson – don’t let your eyes glaze over. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s also called the law of the vital few and was originally called The Pareto Principle. It started way back in the early 1900s when Vilfredo Pareto discovered that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the people. Am I making you feel like you are back in school? Stay with me!

Soon people saw how this rule played out in business. More often than not, 20 percent of your customers lead to most, or 80 percent, of your sales. Today the 80/20 rule has all sorts of cool interpretations.

To use the 80/20 rule for business, you focus on the 20 percent…

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Do You Fall for the ‘Nocebo Effect’? 5 Ways to Stay Positive for Better Health

If we’re lucky, we learn something every day. Today I learned about the ‘nocebo effect.’

Regular readers know I am a big fan of positivity. To read further, check out

7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive

How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard

Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain

What is Positive Psychology?

pills

Tony

Our Better Health

Scientific studies confirm that a placebo (a dummy medication or procedure) can genuinely benefit a person’s health. But its sinister cousin, the “nocebo effect,” creates expectations of harm, which can lead to seriously negative health consequences.

A patient’s expectations of a treatment clearly influence the way it works. The authors of a 2012 German study note that vulnerable, ill, or injured patients are highly receptive to negative suggestion. A participant in one drug trial developed dangerously low blood pressure by “overdosing” on what he thought was an antidepressant—only when he learned that it was an inert substance did his blood pressure return to normal. (Conversely, the power of positive suggestion may explain some of the success of complementary therapies—from herbal remedies to homeopathy). The more strongly a patient believes in the treatment, the more likely it is to be effective. Here are some ways you can put this knowledge to…

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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.

optimism

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.

optimism
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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What are the Top Habits of Healthy, Happy, Productive People? – Infographic

I have to tell you that when I stumbled across this infographic on Pinterest, I was amazed. There is so much good information in this, I can hardly believe it. I hope you will promise yourself to dig into it and read and evaluate every little point. This is like a full course on being healthy, happy and productive. In a word – POSITIVE.

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I have no doubt that if you study this infographic and adopt its positive practices, your life will change for the better. I know because I began the practice of positive psychology several years ago and my life has never been better.

Here are some posts on living a positive life:
What is Positive Psychology?
Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic
How to Become a Positive Thinker
Positive Thoughts To Dwell On
7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive
How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard
Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain

Tony

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An Optimistic Outlook May Be Good for Your Heart

“There’s a lot of psychological research linking pro-social behaviors to better health,” she said. “Gratitude, for example, has been linked to lower impulsivity, higher salaries, better sleep and stronger relationships. And this strikes me as yet another study that reinforces an intuitive knowledge that probably most people have that our mind and body are linked.”

Regular readers know how strongly I feel about living a positive life. Here are some previous posts:
Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic
How to Become a Positive Thinker
7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive
How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard
Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain
What is Positive Psychology?

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Study of more than 5,100 adults found a strong correlation between the two.

Accenting the positive may be good for your heart, with a large study suggesting that optimistic people seem to have a significant leg up when it comes to cardiovascular health.

“Research has already shown a link between psychological pathology and poor physical health,” said study lead author Rosalba Hernandez, an assistant professor in the school of social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “So we decided to look at whether there’s also a link between psychological well-being and good physical health.

“And by looking at optimism as a measure of psychological well-being, we found that after adjusting all sorts of socio-economic factors — like education, income and even mental health — people who are the most optimistic do have higher odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health, compared with the least optimistic,” she added.

Hernandez…

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Breaking down 8 Barriers to Positive Thinking – Infographic

Sometimes we can get in our own way when it comes to health and happiness. This infographic shows some excellent examples of common everyday mistakes that put in front of our own well being as well as the antidote for each.

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To read further on positivity, check out: How to Become a Positive Thinker, Positive Thoughts To Dwell On, 7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive, How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard, Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain, What is Positive Psychology?

Tony

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9 Self-Care Essentials To Add To Your Life

Time spent experiencing nature is extremely restorative. Visually feasting on the beauty and wonder of nature, placing our feet on the earth, our body in water, and breathing in fresh air is a great act of kindness towards out bodies and minds. If you find time outside healing and pleasurable, make time for it as often as possible.

I think that is one of my greatest joys in bike riding. I get out and experience Chicago’s Lakefront with its trees, birds, squirrels and views.

Some Fall color on the Lakefront last month with the city as a backdrop.

Some Fall color on the Lakefront last month with the city as a backdrop.

To these essentials, I would add including the sight of a body of water in your life. Check out my post on Blue Mind for more info. It’s no accident that the most expensive property has a view of the water.

Tony

Our Better Health

BY TRISH ALLAN   NOVEMBER 10, 2013 

There’s been a long-held belief that people are worthy of respect when they put others before themselves. People have often evaluated their own worth (and the degree to which they deserve value in society) by their ability to contribute and place the needs of others before themselves.

Along with this belief is the idea that self-care is self-indulgent. However, we can only sustain physical health and emotional health when self-care is a priority. (This is true for both women and men, despite some old-fashioned gender stereotypes!) When your needs are met, and self-care is a non-negotiable priority, you can come to the world as the best version of yourself; fully nourished and ready to nourish those around you.

In fact, giving yourself permission to take care of yourself is probably the best thing you can do for the people in your life. Not…

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8 Obstacles to Positive Thinking – Infographic

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Regular readers know that positivity is integral to my blog as well as my life. Here are some further posts on the subject: Hw to Become a Positive Thinker, Positive Thoughts To Dwell On, 11 Ways to Become a Better, More Positive You, 7 Exercises That Train Your Brain to Stay Positive, What is Positive Psychology? How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard, Some Super Tools for Handling Stress.

Tony

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11 Ways to Become a Better, More Positive You

Our Better Health

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

Life can be very challenging. With constant demands being placed on our time, it can feel like life is happening to us, not for us. We can get caught up and allow other people and events to run our day, sometimes missing out on opportunities for ourselves.

But, there is a solution to this ever increasing problem – the power of positivity. Consciously making a decision to become a better, more positive version of yourself can and WILL transform your every day life.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is where growth happens.  With your continual willingness and practice you’ll begin to see more evidence of change. Making gradual small changes in your habits will create big positive ripples down the road. Soon enough…

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How to Become a Positive Thinker

Being a positive thinker is not about ignoring reality in favor of aspirational thoughts. It is more about taking a proactive approach to your life. Instead of feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, positive thinking allows you to tackle life’s challenges by looking for effective ways to resolve conflict and come up with creative solutions to problems.

happiness

To read further on positive psychology check out: Positive Thoughts to Dwell On, Positive, Happy People Suffer Less Pain, What is Positive Psychology? How to Harness Positive Psychology for You – Harvard.

Tony

Our Better Health

By Kendra Cherry      Psychology Expert

During a busy day, it can become all too easy to focus on the negative. You might feel tired, overworked, and stressed out by all of the conflicting demands on your time. As a result, negative thoughts can creep into your mind. While you know that thinking positively is better for your state of mind, you might be surprised to learn that it can also be good for your health. Research has demonstrated that positive thinking can have a wide variety of benefits, from improving your self-confidence and psychological well-being to actually boosting your physical health.

So what can you do to eliminate negative thoughts and replace them with a more positive outlook? Even if you are not a natural-born optimist, there are things you can do to develop your positive thinking skills and reap some of the benefits of positive thinking.

Focus…

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