Archives for positive psychology


Mindfulness: An Unexpected Antidote to Workplace Stress

Across settings and disciplines, there is increasing evidence of workplace stress. In her New York Times article reporting on the lack of civility in the workplace, Christine Porath opens with the line,“Mean bosses at work could have killed my father.”

According to her research, intermittent stressors like experiencing or witnessing uncivil incidents or even replaying one in your head elevate stress hormones and a host of health problems.
Porah reports that bosses often demoralize employees by blaming, rudeness, mocking and discrediting. When questioned more than half report being overloaded themselves-having no time to be nice. Some openly disclose fear they will be less leader-like or taken advantage if they are nice.
In her research on workplace bullying, Dr. Stacey Tye- Williams reports the upset underscoring the chaos stories she heard. Her impressions are consistent with the reality that 35% of employees in the U.S. report experiencing bullying in their careers. Bullying is actually more prevalent than harassment, which involves discrimination of a person for age, sex, race, religion or disability and is prohibited by law. Stacey Tye-Williams reports that there is bullying by men and women, bosses and employees.
Underscoring the toxic impact of such workplace behavior is a recent study that found that there is a contagion to the low-intensity negative behavior in a workplace. Experiencing rudeness increases rude behavior.

Of greatest concern is the reality that despite incivility, rudeness or bullying, most employees endure it and pay the emotional and physical toll. As Stacey Tye-Williams reports– People stay in the job because they have bills to pay.

How can Mindfulness Help?
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Authentic happiness

Increase Your Happiness: Upregulate Positive Feelings

There has been considerable focus on the attempt to down-regulate (reduce) negative emotions as a way to relieve stress, depression, and the intrusive thinking that follows traumatic events. As such, the focus on positive emotions has largely been used to offset and reduce negative feelings and thoughts.
A Reason to Upregulate Positive Feelings

Recent evidence directs us to consider that the upregulation of positive feelings may serve as a uniquely important factor in expanding our happiness on a daily basis. Researchers have found that upregulation strategies can enhance the impact of positive events on our momentary happy mood and have been associated with higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction and positive emotions.

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Fine Tuning ” Positive Thinking” With A Plan

An important article by psychologist and author, Gabriele Oettingen appeared in the New York Times with a misleading title,“ The Problem with Positive Thinking.”

Actually what Dr. Oettingen offers is an important fine-tuning of positive thinking. What she suggests based on her research is not that positive thinking is problematic, but that positive thinking about a goal without a plan—be it about losing weight, passing the test, or finding a job- leaves you likely to fail. She suggests that positive thinking alone may “fool our minds into perceiving” that we have attained the goal.
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Is Jealousy Threatening Your Relationship? Five Checkpoints

While most partners want someone to care if they run away with the neighbor, using jealousy to evoke a sign of love from a partner, or feeling jealous of your partner’s interest in something or someone other than you—takes its toll.

Often confused with envy which is the emotion you feel when you want something someone else has (car, wife, job) jealousy is the apprehension or fear of someone or something being taken away from you.

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Authentic happiness

Positive Support in a Successful Marriage:New Findings

Recently the American Psychological Association reported the latest findings on what makes love last in a marriage. The results of one series of studies by Shelley Gable and colleagues were particularly interesting because they were unexpected. They invite speculation and application.

Responding for Better and For Worse

These studies revealed that although we need our partners to be there for us during the “worst” of times, it is our partner’s positive responses to the “best”...
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A Simple Step to Improve Healthy Eating: Recognize the Roadblocks

It is difficult to have a healthy relationship with food in this culture. We are invited to consume food of every kind by every media source on a 24-hour basis. The sale of cookbooks and gourmet items has sky rocketed in tandem with warnings about the health hazards of overeating and the nationwide crisis of obesity. A recent study raises the question of whether billboard Ads make people fat!

Many of us try to “...
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Finding New Meaning In Life After Trauma:Three Guidelines

This weekend the Wounded Warrior Project came to our town. Many had the opportunity to run the 4-mile race next to veterans and their families. The t-shirt of the young man in front of me read “ New Year’s Eve 5K, Afghanistan. ” Many were wearing shirts that read, “ If you Like Freedom- Thank a Vet.”  The father of a vet wore a shirt that read, “ We’ve got them back-Now Welcome...
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The Big Value of “Small Talk” in Our Emotional Lives

There is nothing small about “small talk.”

Defined as polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially used on social occasions, small talk has often been seen in a pejorative or dismissive way.

Actually, small talk has a much broader meaning. Whether we love it or dread it, whether it serves us as a “ tool or trait,” we use “small talk” for meeting important psychological needs. We use it to make connections, to regulate anxiety and to facilitate the interplay between these two necessary functions.

When you met your partner or spouse for the first time, did you open with a question like: Will you marry me, sleep with me, and have my children?

More likely, you used what would be deemed small talk to show some interest and bridge an initial connection:

“So you are the new guy in the office.”

“What’s a female with a Yankee hat doing in Boston?”

It is also likely that whether shy or outgoing, you have found yourself in a hospital waiting room, a delayed airplane, or the crowd outside a funeral home engaging in small talk – and that it helped you.
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