Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 6
Satisfaction with Life Scale
Are most people happy?
A large majority of people in the United States report themselves as being happy. This result is common to most populations around the world. Oddly, most people see themselves as happier than others especially the popular, powerful and educated.
Why be happy?
Happy people are healthier, live longer, work more productively and have higher incomes, are more tolerant, more creative, and make decisions more easily, select challenging goals, are more persistent, have greater empathy, more friends, and better marriages. Much of this reflects an improved ability to function in social situations. But
“There is no duty we sell underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.” Robert Louis Stevenson
Who is happy?
Men and women report roughly equal levels of happiness and satisfaction. The same equality holds true across the age spectrum. Factors including formal education, IQ, and race also fail to affect happiness. Married people report more happiness than single who, in turn report more happiness than divorced or separated. Spiritual practice tends to increase happiness and tend to experience fewer negative life circumstances. It seems important that basic needs be met, but material abundance above those basic needs does not increase happiness.
“The happiest people all seem to have good friends.” Psychologist Ed Diener
The happiest people tend to be highly social, and spend the most time in the company of others. They tend to be extroverts and have the desire and ability to build strong social relationships. In one study, conscientiousness, with goal setting, personal control, and purposeful achievement, strongly correlated with life satisfaction. Happy people tend to experience high intrinsic self-esteem; they’re optimistic about themselves and their circumstances.
- Do not interpret material achievement as happiness and success in life.
- Compare yourself, and set your expectations, relative to those who have less.
- Keep a gratitude journal and review it to remember the things you appreciate.
- Discover the activities that allow you to experience a sense of flow and learn to reproduce those circumstances.
- Commit to your goals, finish what you start, and experience your effort with quiet mindfulness.
- Have and enjoy the hobby. Prefer engagement with life too sedentary activities.
- Build and maintain satisfying family and social relationships.
- Volunteer your attention, creativity, and efforts in service to others.
- Sustain a satisfying spiritual practice that builds hope.
Source: “Authentic Happiness,” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., Chapter 2
Martin Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association (APA) for 1998.
Veterans Administration Act of 1946
The Veterans Administration Act of 1946 was created for the practical purpose of helping returning veterans of World War II. This shifted the emphasis of the field from academic research on learning, behavior, and motivation toward more practical applications. At that time, “no mental illness was treatable. For not a single disorder did any treatment work better than no treatment at all.”
The National Institute Of Mental Health was created in 1947, and focused on the interests of its many psychiatrists, primarily psychiatric pathology. But
In 1968, Martin Seligman worked on “learned helplessness.” His findings “challenged the central axioms of my field.” He determined that learned helplessness closely resembled “unipolar depression” in both observable characteristics and brain chemistry.
Pessimists tend to believe that their problems are “permanent, pervasive, and personal. Pessimists are more likely to become depressed when they meet with problems. They perform more poorly at their jobs, have more health problems, and shorter lives.
Optimist tend to believe that their problems are “surmountable, articulate to a single problem, and resulting from temporary circumstances or other people.”
Martin Seligman tells the story of an important realization triggered by his five-year-old daughter, Nikki. While weeding in his garden, he yelled at Nikki for disturbing him. She responded: “Daddy, do you remember before my fifth birthday? From when I was three until when I was five, I was a whiner. I whined every day. On my fifth birthday, I decided I wasn’t going to whine anymore. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And if I can stop whining, you can stop being such a grouch.”
Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Introduction
The Personal Growth Initiative Scale was published in 1998 by Christine Robitschek. The PGIS incorporates choice, change, control, and clear direction. She believes that personal growth must be a deliberate undertaking. A high score reflects a person who: “recognizes and capitalizes on opportunities for personal change. They search out and create situations that will foster their growth. In contrast, people with low scores actively avoid situations that challenge them to grow.”
“PGIS scores seemed to be strongly positive way related to psychological well-being and negatively related to psychological distress.” “PGIS spores or positively linked to assertiveness, internal locus of control, an instrumentality (knowing how to reach an important goals).” According to Bert Hodges, “Values provide distant but real guides that help us to find our way, that help us in the journey of life. Values provide not only place but perspective; they indicate where we have come from and where we’re going.”
Values will vary according to a person’s world view and life goals. Mihal Csikszentmilalyi says that a meaningful, productive life involves both differentiation and integration. Differentiation results from taking proactive responsibility for personal development. Integration results from also accepting responsibility for our relationships with others in our social networks. While it is healthful to be able to function atonymously, we also need to feel connected and have a sense of belonging. For instance, adolescents need to grow up, but do better if they retain strong connections with their parents.
Personal Growth Initiative Scale (PGIS) Exercise
Original source: Robitschek, 1998.
Using the scale, indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement.
1 = definitely disagree
2 = mostly disagree
3 = somewhat disagree
4 = somewhat agree
5 = mostly agree
6 = definitely agree
1. _____ I know how to change specific things that I want a change in my life.
2. _____ I have a good sense of where I’m headed in my life.
3. _____ If I want to change something in my life, I know how to initiate the transition process.
4. _____ I can choose the role I want to have in a group.
5. _____ I know what I need to do to get started toward reaching my goals.
6. _____ I have a specific action plan to help me reach my goals.
7. _____ I take charge of my life.
8. _____ I know what my unique contribution to the world might be.
9. _____ I have a plan for making my life more balanced.
To score your responses, simply add the numbers you checked to obtain a total score. PGIS scores range from 9 to 54. People who score higher (31.5 is the midpoint) recognize and capitalize on opportunities for personal change. More than that, they search out and create situations that will Foster their growth. In contrast, people with low scores actively avoid situations that challenge them to grow.
Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Introduction
“The stream of causation from past to future runs through our present choices.” —David G. Myers, 2002
Individuals and groups have shown an astonishing capacity for both great good and great evil. World War II produced unprecedented levels of national violence. Individuals who risked themselves to help others escape from certain extermination are our modern heroes. Caretakers of the gravely disabled sacrifice large parts of their own lives in service to others. We honor those able to demonstrate a common levels of virtues such as compassion, commitment, and self-control.
It would be tragic if we did not attempt to understand the source and foundation that produced and sustained these virtues. Surely, we should be able to cultivate such human strengths in ourselves and others. This is the purpose of positive psychology. Martin Seligman states: “The main purpose of a positive psychology is to measure, understand, and then build the human strengths and the civic virtues.”
Although we easily form opinions about purpose and motivation based on personal observation and anecdote, we produce hugely divergent explanations. We embrace beliefs ranging from predestination and genetic predisposition to environmental influence and total personal responsibility for individual choices. A careful study of why people behave in the ways they do admits most of these influences on our behavior. Most importantly, our opportunities and capacities to make choices and control the direction of our lives, validates the efforts of positive psychology to build human strengths and foster civic virtues. In short, the study of goodness is a good thing.
Professor Brian Wandell tells the inspirational story of Mike May, the world-record holder for blind downhill skiing.
Wandell leads a multidisciplinary team of Stanford researchers who are working together to treat the many dimensions of blindness: retinal imaging, neural connections, and social psychology.
This is the first of two lectures on social psychology, the study of how we think about ourselves, other people, and social groups.
Students will hear about the famous "six degrees of separation" phenomenon and how it illuminates important individual differences in social connectedness.
This lecture also reviews a number of important biases that greatly influence how we think of ourselves as well as other people.
This lecture begins with the second half of the discussion on social psychology.
Students will learn about several important factors influencing how we form impressions of others, including our ability to form rapid impressions about people.
This discussion focuses heavily upon stereotypes, including a discussion of their utility, reliability, and the negative effects that even implicit stereotypes can incur.
The second half of the lecture introduces students to two prominent mysteries in the field of psychology.
First, students will learn what is known and unknown about sleep, including why we sleep, the different types of sleep, disorders, and of course, dreams, what they are about and why we have them.
Second, this half reviews how laughter remains a mysterious and interesting psychological phenomenon.
Students will hear theories that attempt to explain what causes us to laugh and why, with a particular emphasis on current evolutionary theory.
Professor Bloom provides an introduction to psychological theories of morality.
Students will learn how research in psychology has helped answer some of the most central questions about human morality. For instance,
- which emotions are "moral" and why did these moral feelings evolve?
- What factors guide our moral judgments?
- And what factors predict when good people will do bad things?
Watch it on Academic Earth
By: Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
From the author of the long-running # 1 bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0 comes a landmark study of great leaders, teams, and the reasons why people follow.
Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. More than 3 million people have since taken Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment, which forms the core of several books on this topic, including the #1 international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0.
In recent years, while continuing to learn more about strengths, Gallup scientists have also been examining decades of data on the topic of leadership. They studied more than 1 million work teams, conducted more than 20,000 in-depth interviews with leaders, and even interviewed more than 10,000 followers around the world to ask exactly why they followed the most important leader in their life.
In Strengths Based Leadership, #1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath and renowned leadership consultant Barry Conchie reveal the results of this research. Based on their discoveries, the book identifies three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.
||As you read Strengths Based Leadership, you’ll hear firsthand accounts from some of the most successful organizational leaders in recent history, from the founder of Teach For America to the president of The Ritz-Carlton, as they discuss how their unique strengths have driven their success. Filled with novel research and actionable ideas, Strengths Based Leadership will give you a new road map for leading people toward a better future.|
All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.
“Ed Diener is the Joseph R. Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois. He received his doctorate at the University of Washington in 1974, and has been a faculty member at the University of Illinois for the past 34 years. Dr. Diener was the president of both the International Society of Quality of Life Studies and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. Currently he is the president of the International Positive Psychology Association. Dr. Diener was the editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and the Journal of Happiness Studies, and he is the founding editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science. Diener has over 240 publications, with about 190 being in the area of the psychology of well-being, and is listed as one of the most highly cited psychologists by the Institute of Scientific Information with over 12,000 citations to his credit. He won the Distinguished Researcher Award from the International Society of Quality of Life Studies, the first Gallup Academic Leadership Award, and the Jack Block Award for Personality Psychology. Dr. Diener also won several teaching awards, including the Oakley-Kundee Award for Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Illinois.”
“Happiness is a process, not a place. That’s one of the key concepts that leaps from Happiness: Unlocking The Mysteries Of Psychological Wealth by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas- Diener.” (Diana’s Blog: Quirky Words and Book)
“In their sweeping new book Diener and his son, Robert Biswas-Diener, distill the results of worldwide research into happiness and come up with an explanation, a recipe, for a sustained state of good feeling, psychological wealth, as they call it.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 2008)
|The collected works of Ed Diener, in 3 volumes, present the major works of the leading research scientist studying happiness and well-being. Professor Diener has studied subjective well-being, people’s life satisfaction and positive emotions, for over a quarter of a century, and has published 200 works on the topic, many more than any other scholar. He has studied hundreds of thousands of people in over 140 nations of the world, and the collected works present the major findings from those studies. Diener has made many of the major discoveries about well-being, which are outlined in the chapters.|
|The book is highly recommendable for those interested in hedonic psychology especially Subjective Well-Being (a.k.a. Happiness). It covers a wide range of chapters which include definitions, measurement, clarifications/reactions, recent findings and researches. Its probable drawback is that, to a certain degree, it is somewhat very technical in approach. Not too many readers might easily grasp some contents/materials presented. Nonetheless, it is a great reference material.|
In this volume, the authors explain the reasons why subjective indicators of well-being are needed. They describe how these indicators can offer useful input and provide examples of policy uses of well-being measures. The book then delves into objections to the use of subjective well-being indicators for policy purposes and discusses why these objections are not warranted. Finally, the book contains answers pertaining to the measures that are currently in use and describes the types of measures that are most likely to be valuable in the policy domain.
|This book is based on the idea that we can empirically study quality of life and make cross-society comparisons of subjective well-being (SWB). A potential problem in studying SWB across societies is that of cultural relativism: if societies have different values, the members of those societies will use different criteria in evaluating the success of their society. By examining, however, such aspects of SWB as whether people believe they are living correctly, whether they enjoy their lives, and whether others important to them believe they are living well, SWB can represent the degree to which people in a society are achieving the values they hold dear. The contributors analyze SWB in relation to money, age, gender, democracy, and other factors.|