New year's Resolutions tips and ideas

New year's Resolutions tips and ideas

Martin Seligman on Positive psychology

Written By: admin - Mar• 02•10

Positive psychology, the study of optimal human functioning, is an attempt to respond to the systematic bias inherent in psychology’s historical emphasis on mental illness rather than on mental wellness. Humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers developed theories along these lines, but without solid empirical support. The pioneering research of a new generation of psychologists has led to a renewed interest in this approach, providing a firm scientific foundation for the study of human happiness and optimal function, thus adding a positive side to the predominantly negative discipline of psychology.

Martin Seligman worked with Christopher Peterson to create the ‘positive’ counterpart to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). While the DSM focuses on what can go wrong, Character Strengths and Virtues looks at what can go right. In their research they looked across cultures and across millennia to distill a manageable list of virtues that have been highly valued from ancient China and India, through Greece and Rome, to contemporary Western cultures. Their list includes six character strengths: wisdom/knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Each of these has perhaps a half-dozen sub-entries – for instance, temperance includes forgiveness, humility, prudence, and self-regulation. One of their key points is that they do not believe that there is a hierarchy for the six virtues – no one is more fundamental than or a precursor to the others

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