Posts tagged ‘martin seligman’

February 12, 2013

The PERMA Model For Happiness

by Dave P.

MartinSeligmanMartin Seligman, researcher and author, came up with a theory of happiness that he calls PERMA. The acronym stands for Positive emotions, Engagement (flow), Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments.

Positive Emotions

Dr. Seligman originally called this element “pleasure,” but we can experience pleasure but still not be happy. People who have emotional problems often seek out pleasure from alcohol, drugs, promiscuous or illicit sex, or fatty foods. That kind of pleasure is fleeting because the underlying problems still exist. It’s more pain relief than actual pleasure.

Read more…

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February 6, 2013

You are the star of your life

by Dave P.

Take it as it comes, specialize in having fun.
~ Jim Morrison

No matter what happened in the past, you can’t change it. There are no “do overs” in life. But we can learn from our mistakes and use them to help us grow. People who don’t get to experience mistakes often develop a fear of failure. We don’t need to be perfect. Our imperfections are what make us human.

Put your mistakes behind you. You are the star of your life. If you were writing a script for today, you wouldn’t decide to spend it ruminating and worrying. That would make for a boring movie!

Ruminating can become a bad habit if you do it too often. The parts of your brain that you use most develops strong neurological connections. The more you do something, the stronger the connections become. That’s what you want if you’re trying to learn how to play the piano, but it can take a serious toll on your state of mind if it involves maladaptive thinking.

Research psychologist Martin Seligman found that people who ruminate a lot are prone to depression. Ruminators often suffer from low self-esteem, which is why they seek the approval of others. When they don’t get it, they obsess, worry, and ruminate, which results in the loss of respect from others and the diminishment of self-respect.

When you find yourself ruminating, try this. Simply close your eyes and move them back and forth fairly rapidly — about twice the speed of a clock pendulum. Don’t try to block the rumination, but instead, try to ruminate while oscillating your eyes. You’ll find it to be extremely difficult to think about anything since the process of moving your eyes back and forth requires a fair amount of concentration; there’s not much processing capability left over to process other thoughts. Any time the maladaptive thought enters your consciousness, simply close your eyes and move them back and forth.

I did a study on this technique, which I call Rapid Eye Oscillation Technique, or REOT, and the people who tried it reported it to be effective. I use it all the time to help me fall asleep and to stop ruminations that would otherwise disrupt my day. Nothing else has ever worked for me.

You can be the star of your life if you stop worrying so much about what others think about you. While we all want to be liked and respected, if your sense of self-worth depends on the approval of others, it will have the opposite effect; people will like and respect you less.

Be yourself. Be authentic. If you don’t like yourself, work on self-improvement. Develop your conversational skills. Make an effort to learn new things every day. Show gratitude for your relationships and the good things in life. Work on being a positive person. Try to make the world a better place. Take it as it comes. Specialize in having fun.

January 5, 2012

Start The Day Off With a Little Gratitude – It Can Make You Happier

by Dave P.

Studies in the field of Positive Psychology have shown that the simple act of making a list in the morning of things you’re grateful for can make you a happier and more positive person. No matter how bad your situation may be, your life still contains elements of wonder and beauty. Just looking out my window, I can be thankful for the blue sky (I’m a bit colorblind, so that’s my best guess), my neighbors (even my Rush Limbaugh loving neighbor), the squirrels chasing each other up and down the trees… There are an infinite number of things we can be grateful for in our lives. We just need to recognize them.

The practice recommended by Martin Seligman — the father of modern Positive Psychology — is to start your day off with a list of five things you’re grateful for. I’ll go ahead and do that here.

In no particular order of gratitude…

  • My wife – it’s good to have someone to love 🙂
  • Our dog – she’s a big source of joy in our lives
  • Our house – there’s no place like home
  • YouTube videos – it’s great to be able to watch concerts of the bands I loved as a kid but never got to see
  • The music jams – I love playing music with other people

Before you go to bed at night, make another list of things that happened during the day that you’re grateful for. It could be your 30 minute workout, a good conversation you had with someone, playing with the dog, going for a walk and appreciating nature, a meditation session, attending a group activity, maybe participating in a sport or game… There are all sorts of things that can serve as a source for gratitude, and if you acknowledge them when you’re ready to go to sleep, it can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. You might also have more pleasant dreams. If there’s something bothering me when I go to sleep, my dreams are often bizarre and disturbing, and I’ll wake up in the middle of the night covered in sweat.

During the day, make a concerted effort to do things you can be grateful for. We make our own happiness. You can’t rely on someone else to make you happy.