Dr Tal Ben-Shahar – Harvard Open Courses 1504 – Positive Psychology 2

The class is for anyone who is interested in positive psychology, anyone who wants to become happier, and anyone who wants to put the ideas into practice.

This class is not about something new, but to remind us the importance of many things we already know and how we should apply them in our life. It helps me to identify my strengths without ignoring my weaknesses. It helps me to realise more about how to ask the right questions.

The second session highlights the importance of positive psychology.

Interesting research findings:

  • Not everything will resonate with you. Not everything you explorer will be right for you. Research does not say that it’s right for everyone. Bear in mind you need to identify things that work for YOU.
  • Researchers also need to focus on positive studies. First, it’s important to focus on what works. Second, being happy is not just getting ride of the negation of happiness. Third, prevention is actually by focusing on cultivating the positive.
  • Today the depression is ten times higher than it was in 1960s.
  • Today the earliest age of depression is age 15.
  • 80% of Harvard students experienced depression over the past year in 2004
  • Resilience, a class of phenomena characterized by patterns of positive adaption in the context of significant adversity or risk.
  • To be idealistic is to be realistic.
  • The successful children were resilience. They were not super kids. They were optimistic, they had faith and sense of the meaning of life, pro-social behaviour, focused on their strengths, set goals, had a model, and they had social support (identify the right support).
  • Questions create the reality. The questions that we ask very often determine the quest that we will pursue, the path that we will take, the life that we will lead.
  • “Appreciate” – firstly to be grateful and not take it for granted; second, to grow. 

People and their work:

  • Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How of Happiness (2008) – the important of finding ‘fit’.
  • David Myers’ research – the ratio of negative research : positive research = 21:1.
  • Abraham Maslow in 1954 stated psychology research does not focus enough on the positive
  • Richard Kadison’s article – 45% of college students nationwide over the past year have experienced depression to the point of not functioning.
  • Martin Seligman’s research in The Handbook of Positive Psychology – the importance of studying on positive side.
  • Aaron Antonovsky – from the pathogenic model to the salutogenic model – the original of health.
  • Jacqueline Stavros and Cheri Torres’ book Dynamic Relationships: Unleashing the Power of Appreciative Inquiry in Daily Living
  • Marva Collins’ teaching approach and her book Marva Collins’ Way: Returning to Excellence in Education – believe in ourselves, stop blaming, take responsibility, take action.
  • Daryl Bem – Self-perception theory – taking action will increase our levels of confidence.
  • Nathanial Branden’s book Six Pillars of Self Esteem no one is coming, it’s up to you to make the most out of this experience.
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