A TALK ON POSITIVE
LAMAKAAN, HYDERABAD, 10TH
MBA in Leadership and Entrepreneurship, MA in Psychology, Certificate in
Positive Psychology, Certified Life Coach, PhD (Management)
18 Years of Corporate Experience in Human Resources
Enthusiastic about Positive Psychology and generating awareness about
this field, besides learning more about it
BEFORE I BEGIN
Positive Psychology is not pop-psychology as it works on the practical
aspects of life – say it delves into a real “self-help” approach (although cynics
and skeptics are welcome for their views!!)
Positive Psychology is an accepted branch of Psychology, primarily in the
western world, with leading Universities in the US and Europe offering
programmes till PhD level
The field is in a pretty nascent stage and hence a lot of research is
happening (so a lot of opportunities for researchers)
Meditation (especially Mindfulness Meditation) is an accepted concept in
Positive Psychology and not related to any religious practice, although
influenced largely by the eastern construct
A STARTING PLACE
American Psychological Association President 1996
Psychology split into two camps:
Academics more interested in science.
Clinicians interested in practice of psychotherapy.
Hoped to bring science and practice together.
NIKKI AND THE WEEDS
5-year old daughter throwing weeds.
Seligman irritated, yelled at Nikki.
“Daddy. From when I was 3 until I was 5, I was a whiner. I whined
every day. On my 5th birthday, I decided I wasn‟t going to whine
anymore. That was the hardest thing I‟ve ever done. If I can stop
whining, you can stop being such a grouch.”
Seligman resolved to change.
His purpose in life was not to correct his daughter‟s shortcomings.
Instead, raising her to nurture the strength she displayed (social
Can psychological science be about identifying and nurturing strengths?
The scientific study of the human mind and its functions, esp. those
affecting behavior in a given context.
Great Psychologists like Freud, Jung and others have given a lot of
Lost out on the positive approaches after the World War II
Contributions of Psychology has been great in treating a great lot of
disorders and abnormalities
Has been more used in the analysis of negative side of human behavior
Positive psychologists seek to find and nurture genius and talent, and to
make normal life more fulfilling
Scientific study of optimal human functioning and what makes life worth
Psychology of the characteristics, conditions and processes which lead to
Researching what goes right for Individuals, communities and
Launched a decade ago, distanced itself from other branches of
Psychology, although still a part of Psychology
Roots in humanistic psychology
PIONEERS OF POSITIVE
Dr Sonja LyubomirskyDr Martin Seligman
DR MARTIN SELIGMAN
Seligman is the Professor of Psychology in the University of Pennsylvania's
Department of Psychology. He was previously the Director of the Clinical
Training Program in the department. He is the director of the university's
Positive Psychology Center. Seligman was elected President of the American
Psychological Association for 1998. He is the founding editor-in-chief of
Prevention and Treatment Magazine (the APA electronic journal) and is on
the board of advisers of Parents magazine.
Seligman has written about positive psychology topics such as The
Optimistic Child, Child's Play, Learned Optimism, Authentic Happiness, and
TREATISE ON OPTIMISM AND
PEOPLE WHO give up easily believe the causes of the bad events that happen to
them are permanent: The bad events will persist, will always be there to affect their
lives. People who resist helplessness believe the causes of bad events are
Extracted from, “Learned Optimism” by Dr Martin Seligman
CONTRIBUTION OF DR MIHALY
Dr Mihaly, an Hungarian immigrant to the US is a Professor of Psychology
at Claremont Graduate University
DISCOVERY OF PSYCHOLOGY OF “FLOW”
Dr Mihaly began by interviewing lots of people who had one thing in
common. They did an activity purely for its own sake – not for the money or
status, just for the joy of it. Czikszentmihalyi found that these people– chess
players, dancers, mountain climbers and the like – had remarkably similar
experiences – which he came to label as „flow‟
HOW CAN I TELL I'M IN
You have a feeling of oneness, even of ecstasy
Example: Listening to a moving piece of music
You feel completely involved and concentrated on whatever you are doing
Example: Being completely involved in a game of tennis
The task involves a strong challenge but you feel able to meet it
Example: Playing a tough piece on the piano
CONTRIBUTION OF DR
The Character Strengths and Virtues (CSV) handbook of human strengths
and virtues, by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman, represents the
first attempt on the part of the research community to identify and classify the
positive psychological traits of human beings
It is an extensive handbook and classification of character. In the book, they
look at the historical views of virtue and then use them to help classify what
they call character strengths.
CONTRIBUTION OF DR
Peterson and Seligman studied the virtues that were part of the major spiritual and
philosophical traditions throughout history. They looked at Confucianism and Taoism
from China, Buddhism and Hinduism from South Asia, and the religions of ancient
Greece, Judeo-Christianity and Islam from the West. From these studies they
concluded that the following six items were universal core virtues:
Wisdom and knowledge
Since these virtues seemed universal across many cultures, they felt the virtues
were built into the human psyche and could form a basis for a list of positive
PROFILE (BASED ON
Mindfulness is the focusing of attention and awareness, based on the
concept of mindfulness in Buddhist meditation, but is defined in many ways.
It has been popularised in the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Despite its roots in
Buddhism, mindfulness is taught independent of religion in the West.
Research suggests that mindfulness practices are useful in the treatment of
pain, stress, anxiety, depressive relapse, disordered eating, and addiction.
There are also studies looking into the benefits of mindfulness for those who
do not suffer from these disorders, such as Mindfulness-based stress
Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment. It‟s living here and now.
Through mindfulness, you are freed from becoming entangled in thoughts of
your past, and you are freed from worrying about the future.
In the here and now, everything just is...and there is great peace in that.
A SMALL MINDFULNESS
NOW AS THE MUSIC PLAYS, CLOSE YOUR EYES AND START EASY
BREATHING THROUGH YOUR NOSE
AFTER 3-4 BREATHS, GO TO YOUR OWN FAVOURITE PLACE IN
YOUR IMAGINATIONS. IT MAY BE A LIBRARY, YOUR OLD CHILDHOOD
ROOM, A LAKE, A BEACH AND BE THERE
FEEL THE SOUNDS AROUND YOU BUT DON‟T DISTRACT FROM
YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE. FOCUS ON BOTH. START TOUCHING YOUR
BOOK OR THE GRASS NEAR THE LAKE IN YOUR IMAGINATIONS. TRY
TO FEEL IT
AFTER 3-4 MINUTES OPEN YOUR EYES