Positive psychology

I have paid for the Positive Psychology course on Coursera now to get a diploma so I need to finish it by 18.09. It’s good to be pushed for it as I make more time for studying. Today I have completed the second week and learned so much! I mean instinctively I knew some of those facts but I am so glad that science proves I am not madly positive and naive;) Aside from ‘negativity bias’ (the need for us to live the negative experiences more intensely and respond to them faster) I have also learned that the stable, more sublime, quiet way of living with positive emotions is supported by since and called ‘positivity offset’. We live many more positive moments than negative ones, we just don’t notice them so well, that’s all. In her interview back in 2003, Barbara Fredrickson mentions: “Emotions SHOULD reflect our circumstances” ergo we should feel sad, attacked, depressed sometimes. But most of the time we feel OK, good, inspired, at awe, hopeful, in love. We just don’t talk about it. We are happiness biased striving for some ideal state of super-love or super-happiness. Even back at the university when I studied love and family from Erich Fromm I learned that’s not the case entirely. But nowadays, at the beginning of the XXI century, we seem to promote, even make money on that promise of painless, light and mindless (not mindful) life. So as I study this course I am starting to see just how much work is there to be done for councillors. Acc. to Fredericton’s studies back in 2003 only 20% of Americans lived thriving life – not financially, but from the point of view of that balance.
Balance is something I have also noticed in Paul Gilbert’s ‘The Compassionate Mind’ (just reading it when I can relax). I really like his list of life challenges were are facing (chapter 2) and the Three Types of Affect Regulation System:
  1. DRIVEN, EXCITED, VITALITY: Incentive/resource focussed – wanting, pursuing, achieving, consuming – activating
  2. ANGER, ANXIETY, DISGUST: Threat-focussed – protection and safety seeking – activating/inhibiting
  3. CONTENT, SAFE, CONNECTED: non-wanting, affiliative-focussed – safeness – kindness – soothing
The third I find shocking. It should be obvious to me as a mother that it’s needed but having worked in marketing and businesses I was so distracted by the main two forces: seeking/wanting and protecting/hiding that I forgot about the most crucial system: the balancing act of being simply OK, happy with things as they are. Maybe it’s the answers to things I currently find difficult to accept in my life – leaving the full, energetic, emotional life behind for calm and slow paced one?  I guess that’s one for my own counselling.
 For now, I am really pleased that I re-discover the elements of psychology I was already learning at the Uni with the addition of immense discoveries in the last 20-30 years. That learning curve itself is immensely satisfying!


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