Some see the glass as half full.Others see the glass as half empty.
Others think it’s full… of poison.
In the field of positive psychology we try to understand why…
…there are some people
…who think everything is fine.
Keep Your Head Up:An Introduction to Positive Psychology
Psychology in the 20th Century• Primarily focused on treating mental illnesses and disorders• “Helped to make miserable people less miserable.” (Seligman, 2004)
Origins of “Positive Psychology”• 1998 – Dr. Martin Seligman became president of the American Psychological Association and called for increased research into “positive psychology.”
When Bad Things Happen...Pessimists tend toward Optimists tend towardpermanence: “Thats just temperance: “That washow life is.” just a bad day.”
The “Study” of Happiness is Not NewThe Booming $elf-help Industry
Science vs. PseudosciencePositive Self-help industry Psychology • makes unrealistic and• supported with unsupported claims empirical evidence • extremely profitable for• supported with authors physiological and neurological evidence
The secret of happiness? Trailer for the film, The Secret
Louise Hay: A Self-Help Mogul
Is there a mind-body connection?• There are neurological and • Acute stress is a useful physiological indicators for evolutionary mechanism happiness and positive throughout the animal emotion. kingdom.• Happiness and positive • Chronic stress is emotion DO correlate with associated with many better health. different health problems.• However, illness will not • Anxiety seems uniquely always be cured just by human; our frontal lobe thinking positively. allows us to simulate, and worry about, the future.
Three Surprising Facts of Happiness1)The impact bias - we are very bad at predicting what will make us happy.2)Happiness is relative - our happiness is often dependent on how we compare ourselves with others.3)Peaks and endings - Happiness is greatly affected by our memory of peaks and endings. - (Bloom, 2009)
What will make you happy?More moneyMore “stuff”Romantic loveAchievementsHaving kidsSafety and security The impact bias
The Impact Bias http://jonkalnas.blogspot.com/201 0_04_01_archive.htmlPeople overestimate theeffect that future eventswill have on theirhappiness and sense ofwell-being.
Would you rather...?…get an 80% on a test …get an 85% on a test inin a class where the a class where theaverage is 75%? average is 90%? Happiness is relative
Happiness is Relative
The Happiest Countries in the World, Accordingto Gallup World Poll (2005-2009): 1. Denmark 8. Australia 2. Finland 12. Brazil 3. Norway 12. Panama 4. Sweden 14. Austria 4. Netherlands 14. United States 6. New Zealand 16. Belgium 6. Costa Rica 17. United Kingdom 8. Canada 18. Mexico 8. Israel 18. Turkmenistan 8. Switzerland 20. United Arab Emirates
Why are the Danes so happy?Social safety net Lower•free and universal expectationshealth care •report lower amounts•free higher education of ambition•6 months paid •more modest desiresmaternity leave and 6 and goals in lifemonths paid paternityleave Happiness is relative
What is happiness anyway?
Three Types of Happy Lives1. A life of pleasure and positive emotion2. A life of passion and “flow”3. A life of meaning and higher purpose - (Seligman, 2004)
PEAKS AND ENDINGSWould you rather.... …take a long, difficult, …take a long, difficult, high-stakes test that high-stakes test that you you didnt study at all didnt study at all for, for? and then a short quiz that you didnt study very much for?
Synthetic Happiness – of the MindWhich group of people do you think regrets theirexperience the most?•People who have become paralyzed because of anaccident?•Innocent people who have spent time in jail afterbeing falsely accused of a crime?•Prisoners of war (POW’s)
Synthetic Happiness – of the Body Laughter yoga
WORKS CITEDBloom, Paul. The Good Life: Happiness. Yale University OpenCourse. 2009. Retrieved from: http://www.academicearth.org/lectures/the-good-life-happinessGilbert, Daniel. This Emotional Life: Rethinking Happiness. Nova/WGBH Science Unit and Vulcan Productions. 2009.Gilbert,Daniel. Why Are We Happy? [Video file]. Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/dan_gilbert_asks_why_ are_we_happy.html
WORKS CITED"The Pursuit of Happiness." 60 Minutes. CBS. KCBS, Los Angeles. 15 June 2008. Television.Sapolsky, Robert. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman Co, 1994.Seligman, Martin; Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Positive Psychology: An Introduction. American Psychologist, Vol 55(1), Jan 2000, 5-14.
Photo Credits“Tom cruise – couch” http://www.davidwygant.com/blog/dont-settle- for-less/2078/“What will make you happy?” http://www.redplum.com/pages/viewarticle.aspx?id=3680“Why zebras dont get ulcers” http://www.amazon.com/Why-Zebras- Dont-Get-Ulcers/dp/0716732106