The Best of Positive PsychologyThe Best of Positive Psychology

Learn more about the science (and myths) of well-being, resilience, gratitude, love, happiness, compassion, hope, grit, growth mindset, wisdom, flow, self-control, creativity & aging by the leading positive psychologists.

Summary

Learn more about the science (and myths) of well-being, resilience, gratitude, love, happiness, compassion, hope, grit, growth mindset, wisdom, flow, self-control, creativity & aging by the leading positive psychologists.

What is Neuroplasticity; Why it matters!

If you only watch one video … try this one by premiere scientist, Dr. Richie Davidson!

 

Video Lectures by Scholars

Watch videos spanning the gamut of positive psychology:

  • Christopher Peterson
  • Martin E.P. Seligman
  • Angela Duckworth
  • Tal Ben-Shahar
  • Barry Schwartz
  • Ed Diener
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Barbara Fredrickson
  • Roy Baumeister
  • Robert Emmons
  • Shane Lopez
  • Sonja Lyubomirsky
  • Carol Dweck
  • Dacher Keltner
  • George Vaillant
  • Amy Wrzesniewski

Online Assessments (free)

Take free questionnaires at Dr. Seligman’s website to assess your:

  • Top Character Strengths (VIA Survey of Character Strengths Questionnaire)
  • Optimism
  • Gratitude
  • Grit
  • Meaning in Life
  • Close Relationships
  • Depressions (CES-D)
    and many more

 

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Making more loveMaking more love

Dr. Frederickson explains what she means by Love 2.0 … and how to make love happen more in your life.

Summary

Dr. Frederickson explains what she means by Love 2.0 … and how to make love happen more in your life.

Love 2.0

Visit Dr. Fredrickson’s PEP Lab here, for more recent findings.

 

You may want to watch her recent Stanford seminar and try out the loving-kindness meditation that she used in her research.

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Can You Learn Hope and Optimism?Can You Learn Hope and Optimism?

Research clearly indicates that even the most die-hard pessimist can learn, using CBT, to use an optimistic explanatory style … and reap the benefits of a longer, healthier, and more satisfying life.

Summary

Research clearly indicates that even the most die-hard pessimist can learn, using CBT, to use an optimistic explanatory style … and reap the benefits of a longer, healthier, and more satisfying life.

The 3 P’s of Learned Optimism

An intersection between CBT and Positive Therapy is translating Seligman’s research in learned optimism. In therapy, we work on how to manage the  3 P’s of a pessimistic explanatory style. How do you explain setbacks to yourself?

Permanence:  An optimist will explain a negative event as temporary; a pessimist will see it as permanent.

Pervasiveness:  An optimist will specify that a failure is specific to particular conditions; a pessimist will see a failure in life as being a total failure in all of life.

Personal:  An optimist will take responsibility for a failure, in context to all the other contributors to it; a pessimist will blame himself without that other context.

For more details about the research behind ‘Learned Optimism’ check out Dr. Seligman’s book.

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Performance enhancing beliefsPerformance enhancing beliefs

People who have a ‘growth mindset’ (instead of a ‘fixed mindset’) achieve their goals and perform better, according to Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University. In these videos, she explains the power of believing, “I’m not there … yet… what do I need to do next?”

Summary

People who have a ‘growth mindset’ (instead of a ‘fixed mindset’) achieve their goals and perform better, according to Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University. In these videos, she explains the power of believing, “I’m not there … yet… what do I need to do next?”

Growth v. Fixed Mindset

The following videos can help you understand why you may be giving up too soon and how to not do so … when you are trying to reach your goals … in your career … with your relationships … even with recreational activities. In addition to these videos, you might also want to read how Dr. Dweck explains that people have misunderstood the concept – or people who have a <a href=”https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/12/how-praise-became-a-consolation-prize/510845/”>pseudo-Growth Mindset</a>.

 

 

 

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How we change our brain - in minutesCBT changes your brain

Watch Anderson Cooper demonstrate neuroplasticity in action – how you can use your mind to change your brain – at the cellular level!

Summary

Watch Anderson Cooper demonstrate neuroplasticity in action – how you can use your mind to change your brain – at the cellular level!

A mindfulness practice changes your brain

 

Even healthy people repeat undesirable behavior. Many of us go through life on autopilot – just doing what comes naturally, despite the fact we keep hurting ourselves and others.

Neuroscientists tell us that the best way to ‘manage autopilot’ – the automatic parts of our brain – is to use our ‘wise’ minds. That is, we can apply a set of scientifically proven self-care strategies and skills to improve our lives.

One such self-care skill is mindfulness. Skills-based psychotherapy teaches you how to initiate and sustain this process over the long term. Watch how it works to change your brain – from autopilot to calm.

CBT changes your brain

If we have diabetes, we go to a specialist to learn how to ‘manage’ it – so it doesn’t manage us.

Just like physical illnesses, with the right kind of help, we can learn how to ‘manage our brains’ … for you-name-it brain chemistry problem.  Mental health is brain chemistry, which can be managed with our minds, using cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).  There is plenty of evidence that CBT actually changes our brain chemistry:

Toward smarter selection of therapy for psychiatric disorders

Does cognitive behavioral therapy change the brain? A systematic review of neuroimaging in anxiety disorders.

How psychotherapy changes the brain – the contribution of functional neuroimaging

(Below are scans of brains with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, ADHD, as well as problems with Smoking, Alcohol, Obesity, & Cocaine.)  … 

OCD

“Current research into obsessive compulsive disorder focuses on a feedback loop involving three brain areas: the frontal lobe (prefrontal and frontal cortices), striatum and thalamus. The loop involves multiple circuits and signals that can stimulate or inhibit brain activity.”   See more about The OCD Loop: What may go wrong by Amy Ellis Nutt at the Washington Post.

 

How we change our brain - in minutes 4

 

How we change our brain - in minutes 3

In children with OCD, the brain’s arousal center, the anterior cingulate cortex, is ‘hijacked.’ This causes critical brain networks to stop working properly. Image adapted from Diwadkar VA, Burgess A, Hong E, Rix C, Arnold PD, Hanna GL, Rosenberg DR. Dysfunctional activation and brain network profiles in youth with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A focus on the dorsal anterior cingulate during working memory. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2015; 9: 1-11., CC BY-SA

How we change our brain - in minutes 2

 

More about recent treatments for OCD

Depression

How we change our brain - in minutes 5

 

ADHD

How we change our brain - in minutes 6

 

Pain

How we change our brain - in minutes 7

 

Behavior

How we change our brain - in minutes 8

 

 

 

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Your Brain – A Work in ProgressYour Brain – A Work in Progress

Our brains aren't fully developed until our early 20's. That's why it's useful to re-evaluate your strongly held beliefs that you developed growing up.

Brain Development

In the brain images shown above, all the areas that are NOT blue indicate the as-yet under-developed brain – all the way up to age 20. Our brains aren’t fully developed until around the mid-twenties  (Graphic is downloaded from PNAS 101: 8174-9, 2004)!

The parts of your brain that help you (1) to control your emotions, (2) make well-reasoned decisions, and even (3) to assess situations are simply NOT all there during your ‘formative’ years. Think about how many of your strongly held beliefs got based on very inadequate reasoning.

Concrete Thinking

This video demonstrates just how limited (concrete) childhood reasoning is. Now, consider how negative feedback in your childhood might’ve gotten explained (by you) using some really concrete ALL or NONE reasoning (i.e., It’s all my fault; I’m a failure). Even when we got positive feedback as children, we tend to use the ‘negative bias’ we formed from earlier learning. These explanations tend to harden into our core beliefs … about ourselves, others, and the world.

 

Taking Anothers Perspective

You have to reach a certain age before you can see situations from anothers perspective. So, when you got criticized, it would be more likely that you’d think, “There’s something wrong with ME” rather than … “Mom’s having a bad day … which is why she yelled at me.” In this video, you’ll see this ‘self-centeredness’ demonstrated in minutes.

 

Separation Anxiety

People can have anxiety – even panic attacks – when they feel disconnected or far away from loved ones. This kind of anxiety may originate from early life experiences when our brains literally cannot comprehend that people exist – even if they’re out of sight. That cognitive milestone is called ‘object permanence’ and is demonstrated here.

4 Stages of Development

For a full (but simple) ‘crash course’ about the 4 stages of our brain development, watch this video.

Changing Beliefs

In therapy, it’s useful to study beliefs you formed as a child … now with the benefit of your fully-developed brain. People are sometimes surprised to learn how much their early-learned beliefs impact daily work, love, and play. As well, you can train yourself to respond differently – to ‘manage’ these automatic beliefs. You will want to begin by starting a practice of mindfulness – to LEARN to pay attention to when your automatic brain starts to take over.

“Well-Being is a Skill”

Modern neuroscience teaches that we can train our brains to have more well-being. Watch a thought-leader in the field of neuropsychology, Dr. Davidson, talk in Part I … about the science of well-being and in Part II … the 4 constituents of well-being, including the importance of practicing mindfulness.

 

 

 

 

 

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What is Flourishing?What is Flourishing?

In 2003, Dr. Marty Seligman rolled out his groundbreaking ‘Positive’ movement with a virtual 26 week course, Authentic Happiness Coaching.

Summary

In 2003, Dr. Marty Seligman rolled out his groundbreaking ‘Positive’ movement with a virtual 26 week course, Authentic Happiness Coaching.

Videos

Martin Seligman on Positive Psychology

Published on Sep 27, 2013  By Authentic Happiness

See in this 3-minute video how my favorite teacher explains his vision of 51% Flourishing.

Martin Seligman ‘Flourishing

“a new understanding of wellbeing’ at Happiness & Its Causes 2012”
Published Aug. 25, 2012 by Happy & Well

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Couples Therapy:  EFTCouples Therapy

The science of couples therapy:  Dr. Sue Johnson, the founder of EFT, explains how it works.  Dr. John Gottman explains which 4 behaviors predict divorce and how a few behaviors make relationships work.

Predictors of relationship success (& failure)

In this video (just updated in 2018), Dr. John Gottman explains what decades worth of his research in the ‘love lab’ reveal. Find out exactly how he can predict with remarkable accuracy (in 15 minutes of observing a couple) whether they are relationship ‘masters’ or ‘disasters’ … and how you can become a ‘master’ at relationships yourself.

For much more about what works to help relationships, go to the Gottman Institute site. Or, just sign up for his newsletter.

 

What is EFT?

Building on Dr. Gottman’s work, Dr. Sue Johnson developed and scientifically tested Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). It has significant empirical support for very good outcomes for couples. Dr. Johnson explains the exact process of what to expect in therapy in this video.

In the Washington DC area, I recommend that you look at this site to find “Certified EFT therapists” near you. And, you can find out more on Dr. Johnson’s site about EFT.  There’s a FIND a THERAPIST tab at the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally-Focused Therapy.

 

Hold Me Tight, the book written by Dr. Johnson, is a helpful self-help guide.  Also … Visit the HoldMeTight.com website for more information about the interactive online version.

 

Couples Therapy

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