Monday, 25 March 2013

Martin Seligman’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania is apparently so popular that only the best honours students are considered.  There’s something quite interesting about this positive psychology malarkey then. 

Seligman introduced the positive psychology acronym PERMA;
Positive Emotion

In yoga therapy we consider positive psychology in cases where it would be most useful in achieving high function, ie to avoid a serious deficit in health.  In other words, positive psychology is a great tool for the ‘worried well’, but it is designed to build psychological resilience rather than treating serious psychological disorders or trauma. 

Some positive psychology exercises you can try out;

Three Good Things/Blessings
Designed to build optimism, this exercise is exactly what is sounds like – writing down three things that you considered to be blessings during the day.  For example, my blessings today included; a long walk on the beach, free wi-fi at the library after my home internet died, and spending an hour with a girlfriend I don’t get to see very much.  I know, they’re not very exciting moments in my day, but the idea is to build positivity by acknowledging the things you are grateful for each day, breaking the habit of reflecting on only the negative aspects of your day. 

Active/Constructive Responding
This exercise is all about keeping an open dialogue with someone and learning to avoid supplying judgemental responses.  Keeping an open dialogue means actively participating in a conversation by responding with positive comments or open questions, ie those that will require more than simply a yes or no answer. 

Quite simply, savouring is taking mindful enjoyment in any experience in your day you may tend to overlook.  For example, when you eat a meal, do you savour the taste and texture of the food, or do you eat mindlessly, concentrating on everything else around you but your food?  When you go to the beach, do you enjoy the sensation of wet sand between your toes, or do you worry about getting home on time to get ready for work or an appointment?  Taking time to savour these moments has been proven to increase dopamine levels (the chemical in our brains that is responsible for reward-driven learning). 

Glass Half Full
Complete these sentences;
1  .       Something I do well is….
2  .       I am proud that….
3  .       Something I have achieved is…
4  .       One of my best characteristics is…

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  1. Thank you for creating a such positive space on your Blog!
    You are amazing :-)


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