Archives for March, 2011


Healing and Happiness from the Past, Present, and Future

There are numerous therapeutic perspectives related to time orientation. Some follow the approach to ignore the past, and focus on the present moment and future, where as others would contend that any distress and neurosis we experience is based on unresolved conflict from the past, and must be dealt with.

I believe there is some truth and benefit to each of these philosophies, and that each time frame of the past, present, and future can impact how we think, feel, and act.

Our past experience impacts who we are today, and who we are today impact the goals we set and expectations we hold about the future.

Examining how emotions relate to our perspective on time can offer some valuable insight about how to improve our mental health and experience greater positivity.

Heal your past

Our past has a major impact on the person we become, though often at an unconscious level. Being involved in coaching I tend to help clients focus on the present and future without processing the past too deeply, though the past cannot be disregarded.

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Why Approach Life with a Playful Attitude?

In the past I tended to be a naturally serious person. I was pretty rigid and wanted things done a certain way. I found people who were always joking and playing to be unauthentic and foolish. I thought to myself naively, “How could they be so carefree and lack worry about life?

Fortunately, as I grew as a person I was able see that being carefree and content isn’t about being irresponsible but about being open to enjoy life in the moment without unnecessary worry.

Being playful is being in touch with our true self.

I finally understand why so many people who are effortlessly carefree, joking, and playful toward life, are more happy and successful, at least subjectively.

In fact, having a playful and curious philosophy toward life offers many benefits. It leads to enhanced relationships, better mental health, and a more expansive view of life. Being playful doesn't mean never taking life serious or dealing with responsibility, but is more of an approach and perspective to have fulfilling and gratifying interactions with others and more amusing experiences.

Before getting into the benefits of a being lighthearted and playful, here's how to be more playful.
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Grow a Healthy Family Tree Through Positive Family Values

Family is such an integral part of who we are and what we become. Our family offers us needed support along every step of the way, and helps us learn how to deal with life's problems, make decisions, and interact with others.

Much of this comes from modeling and observing other family members, and learning how to think and behave around others.

Family patterns, values, and behaviors are often passed along unknowingly from generation to generation. A valuable place where positive psychology and the humanistic tradition focus efforts is in examining positive family values, and how this translates into well-being and life-satisfaction for future generations.

Of course, every family has their quirks and dysfunctions, but beginning to examine the current family patterns, as well as our family history, we can be a change agent for the future, and provide positive values that we want to become the norm.

What positive attributes and values are you passing on?

Here are some things to consider in growing a healthy family tree.

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How to Increase Creativity in Your Organization

Organizations are constantly adapting to keep pace with advancements in technology and expectations of consumers. Employees and leaders need to be ready and able to change and transform along with the organization.

The successful organization of the future will have a corporate culture that offers supportive relationships, transformational leadership, and clear processes and objectives for innovation, as well as having leaders and workers who are adept at creative problem solving and idea generation.

A creative organization will require a culture that is open to new ideas and insight, and where people are encouraged and rewarded for providing novel and groundbreaking ideas.

To build a more creative organization you need an open-minded, playful culture, trusting relationships, and a system that enables people to use their best qualities.

Here are a few suggestions to consider for building a creative organization.

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How to Improve Psychological Well-Being

Topics such as life-satisfaction and well-being are commonly considered in positive psychology and increasingly more in the mental health field. Measures of well-being offer the chance to uncover whether people are getting their overall needs met, and provide an overall sense of how happy, healthy, and prosperous someone is.

Though, well-being is much more multidimensional than simply being just happy, healthy, or successful.

Well-being is a concept that encompasses a well-rounded, balanced, and comprehensive experience of life. It includes health in social, physical, mental, emotional, career, and spiritual domains. When things aren't going right in all of these areas we probably aren’t experiencing as much joy, serenity, and … as we could be, and may be experiencing greater stress, worry, and anxiety.

There are also different theories of well-being, which includes subjective well-being, or how much positive and negative affect we experience, as well as our level of life-satisfaction. This relates to if we’re happy in our current situation and at a place we want to be.

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Gaining Wisdom to Deal with Life’s Challenges

Who would you consider to be wise? How would you describe this person?

The person you're considering probably has knowledge about human nature, knows how to act, give advice, and handle conflict.

They are also probably peaceful, embrace the uncertainty of life, and acknowledge differences in values and cultures.

Wisdom is our knowledge, awareness, and insight about practical aspects of life, and is often considered an intelligence that comes with age and experience. As we go through life we learn how to deal with difficult situations and handle unexpected life events.

It's a reality that life will bring challenges, difficulties, and misfortune, and having resilience and wisdom helps us navigate our life and make better decisions, as we slowly learn about the world and develop a philosophy of living.

Though, in many Westernized, ageist cultures, being wise, sensible, and cautious isn't viewed as an indispensable quality and is often downplayed.

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Emotional Awareness

How to Overcome Negativity Bias

Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, and anger are natural and adaptive to aid in our survival.

However there are many times when these emotions get the best of us and seem to cause more problems as opposed to enhancing survival.

The key is to distinguish between productive and counterproductive emotions. When we are experiencing overwhelming guilt and shame, or when anger is leading to resentful aggression are times when emotions get the best of us.

Negative emotions can overtake us and really skew our perception of the world. One reason is because of the negativity bias. Negative emotions have a longer shelf life and hold a more enduring impact on mood than do positive emotions. Simply put, bad is stronger than good when it comes to emotions.

Though fortunately, on the same ticket is a concept called positivity offset. Basically, positive emotional appraisal is more common that negative. People tend to rate neutral situations as more positive than negative, and express their daily life to be at least mildly good.

If you tend to have a negative attitude and outlook a good place to start experiencing greater positivity is learning to neutralize negative emotions.

Here are some tips to overcome the negative emotions in your life.

Overcome negative thinking

We all have an inner-dialogue and thoughts running through our heads that aren't always easy to recognize. Sometimes our thinking is directed by our inner-critic who can say some pretty harsh things.

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How to Use Positive Emotions to Enhance Self-Esteem

Do you believe you deserve good things? Do have self-trust and believe you're capable of achieving your goals? Our self-esteem in the overall evaluation of our self-worth compared to others, and our self-trust that we're capable of achieving goals.

Positive psychology offers insight into the emotional and affective nature of this experience and provides insight into how emotions and mood relate to self-esteem.

Emotions and mood play a role in the evaluations we make of ourselves and others, and whether we believe we’re leading a life of success and significance.

Think about your self-esteem when you feel anxiety, fear, shame, or guilt, as opposed to feeling love, pride, satisfaction, and hope. Think about a time when you felt enthusiastic, energized, and happy, how was your self-esteem? Our sense of self is tied very tightly with our mood and general emotional experiences.

When we feel comfortable and harmonious in the world, we are able to view people as connected and related, and we can generate a positive mood and attitude about our place and purpose in the world.

Here are some suggestions for experiencing more positive emotions and thus greater self-esteem.

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How to Be Your Best Every Day

Do you feel you're at your best and using your potential every day?

If you want to start using more of your potential and really thriving, begin incorporating your character strengths into what you do each day.

We all have areas of weakness and areas of great capability, though we don't always take the time to focus on what our real strengths of character are. These are the trait-like gifts, ideals, and skills that offer you intrinsic value and fulfillment. Learn more about measuring your character strengths here.

Using character strengths offers immediate emotional enhancement and a chance for more enjoyable experiences. It provides more moments of engagement and successful results.

Everyone has areas and values where they seem to focus on and really be their best. A useful way to examine this is by assessing what's called your "capacities," or areas where you have likely potential, and developing a "Positive Diagnosis" of your strengths, interests, and resources.

By looking at these three areas you can better understand your capacities and how to begin incorporating them into your daily life.

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How Positive Psychology Enhances Youth Development

There is a vast array of problems that youth of today may have to face. It can be a fast and confusing world taking place during such a crucial stage of adolescent cognitive, psychological, and social development.

Living a mentally, physically, and socially healthy life is something that is learned. Promoting positive youth development means helping youth understand what success means to them, and the characteristics and skills of a thriving, productive adult.

Many youth programs focus on the problem and target a specific group for prevention. There are many programs that offer assistance and education to prevent drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, and dropping out of school to name a few.

Positive Youth Development (PYD) on the other hand, is a framework to help youth be more hopeful, engaged, and thriving members of society. This is done through focusing on positive outcomes, strength of character, and how to cultivate well-being and life-satisfaction now and into the future.

PYD is often conceptualized by the five "Cs." These are core values that provide a strengths based approach and outlines how to help youth be successful in the long-term. The five "Cs" include:

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