The Power Of Learned Optimism
By: Andrea Andrea Seydel - Positive Psychology Practitioner
Positive Psychology is the study of human well-being. Specifically, positive psychologists like University of Pennsylvania’s Martin Seligman try to discover the conditions and habits that lead to human flourishing. For long term-psychological well-being, people must be engaged in meaningful activities. They have to be in environments where they are valued by others and have the opportunity to build their self-esteem in constructive ways.
Seligman uses the acronym PERMA to describe Positive Psychology’s key points:
Flourishing, of course, involves cultivating as much PERMA as possible.
Well-being theory proposes that you don’t need a naturally sunny disposition to flourish. It’s all about having the right strategies. It helps to realize that most of us are never going to get rid of all unpleasant thoughts and feelings. As we accept that some gremlins are sticking around, our job becomes, as Seligman puts it, “to live heroically,” even when we are feeling down in the dumps.
No one has control over all the events in his or her life, but we do have control over what we think about them — and that has a big impact on how we feel.Seligman offers the following “ABC” model (encompassing adversity, beliefs and consequences) to help us stay clear about that:“It is beliefs (B) about an adversity (A) — and not the adversity itself — that cause the consequent (C) feelings. So next time the demons pounce, try the ABC model to separate stimulus from response. It might create just enough psychic space to help you perceive the situation anew. Although, it is sometimes tough to create this space and perception shift, it can greatly affect your ability to be happy and flourish.
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