This chapter explores positive psychology’s attempt to identify significant human virtues. Early in the positive psychology movement it was recognized that in order to advance research on human excellence, there was a need to develop a classification system complete with measurable strengths that would be meaningful to the good life. The chapter describes and defines the six core virtues, and also explores some of the more specific human strengths thought to be clustered with each virtue. The author believe that the most significant achievement of the Values in Action (VIA) project was to identify virtues and strengths that appear to transcend time and culture. Finally the chapter emphasizes and recommends two other attempts to identify transcendent virtues that come from outside of psychology. To emphasize one virtue without the others is bound to result in an imbalanced life.
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This chapter explores the circumstances of happiness. It evaluates whether things such as gender, age, income, work, and leisure have an impact on happiness. It shows that the circumstances of our gender, where we live, our age, and our income don’t contribute much to our subjective well-being (SWB). The first circumstance is whether one’s gender has any impact on one’s happiness. The chapter examines whether geography is related to happiness. It looks at the relationship between income and happiness, there is one important interpretation to consider: It is possible that happiness actually creates more income. The natural interpretation of the positive relationship between wealth and well-being is to assume that prosperity produces SWB, but it is important to consider the reverse direction of causation. The chapter focuses on the circumstances of work that predict job satisfaction but there are factors within the person that are at least as important.
Relationships are important to our happiness but, as it turns out, things are not quite as straightforward as this proposition would seem to imply. The first important observation that we can make of this association is that the perception of social support appears to be more significant to happiness than objective indicators of social support. Objective indicators of social support such as number of friends and frequency of social activity show small and sometimes nonsignificant relationships with happiness. One possibility is that the correlation between satisfaction with one’s relationships and satisfaction with life is simply a product of method invariance. The chapter focuses on how different types of relationships affect happiness. But this approach has a tendency to ignore the common relationship dynamics that might impact happiness across relationships. It also focuses on three dynamics of happy relationships: capitalization, gratitude, and forgiveness.
This chapter explores the connection between cognition and happiness and describes the cognitive characteristics of happy people. It examines each of three stages of cognition such as attention, interpretation, and memory in turn, and discusses how they relate to happiness. It follows this discussion with research on affective forecasting, and how inaccurately forecasting our emotional future might inhibit our happiness. Research also suggests that happiness might help us get out of the shackles of self-preoccupation so that we can see beyond ourselves. Moreover, the relationship between negative emotion and self-preoccupation appears to be reciprocal: When we are in a negative mood we tend to be more self-preoccupied; but when we are focused on yourself this tends to promote negative moods. Finally, the chapter explores how affective forecasting errors can impact our happiness.
This chapter explores whether it is possible to improve the happiness. If boosting people’s happiness is achievable, this begs the question of how: how can people change their happiness. The chapter explains some of the most effective techniques found by psychological science to increase happiness. But before that it examines successful treatments for happiness. Religious traditions from both the East and the West have emphasized meditation and contemplation as paths to spiritual well-being. One meditation practice has shown great promise, however, for enhancing happiness: Loving-kindness meditation. Happy people deal with the unpleasant circumstances in their lives in a healthy way, and one effective way to deal with the bad stuff in people’s life appears to be grateful reappraisal. The chapter considers comprehensive treatment packages, also referred to as “shotgun” treatments, designed to improve one’s happiness.
This chapter helps the reader to learn happiness matters. Happiness is not simply a nice consequence of a successful life. Indeed, happiness itself is consequential. Research has shown that there are a number of beneficial by-products to experiencing positive emotions frequently: better relationships, better health, and better occupational success. Lyubomirsky’s theory highlights the importance of the intentionality of positive activities and this brings up an important point about happy people’s pursuits. As positive psychology and the study of happiness come more and more into the public eye, the author increasingly see the need for science to be at the heart of positive psychology. The positive psychology movement has identified six primary virtues that are essential to the good life: wisdom, courage, love, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Although these virtues vary somewhat in their relationships to subjective well-being (SWB), they all may be seen as critical to the life well lived.
This book is about all the exciting aspects that have been investigated in the science of positive psychology. One of the reasons that the interest in positive psychology has increased so much in recent years is that people are interested in happiness, and they’re interested in enhancing their well-being. All conceptions of positive psychology involve something to do with the “positive side of life”, which is clearly contrasted with the negative side of life. The positive side of life seems to go by many names, such as happiness, flourishing, thriving, a worthwhile life, a meaningful life, a fulfilling life, or “what goes right in life”. The study of positive subjective states involves two related but distinct areas of study: positive emotions and subjective well-being (SWB). Positive psychologists often refer to two types of happiness: hedonic and eudaimonic. Any treatments of the history of happiness spend little time on ancient Jewish contributions to our understanding of well-being. From the early Christian tradition, writers encouraged enduring suffering now in the light of future happiness in the afterlife. The book focuses on two theories that are both representative and helpful to the field of positive psychology: the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and the Hedonic Adaptation Prevention (HAP) model. Gratitude and compassion are very important to the good life; however, when we also emphasize strengths such as prudence, humility, self-control, and integrity, we are much more likely to flourish. The issue of Internet relationships also brings up an alternative form of relationships: Our relationships with our pets. The book attempts to describe the cognitive characteristics of happy people.
- Go to chapter: Foundational Concepts and Issues of Positive Psychology: The What and Why of Happiness
This chapter shows that how positive psychology is in fact important to psychology as a whole. It attempts to explain the foundations of positive psychology. It looks at basic conceptions of happiness and subjective well-being (SWB) including all the debates therein, it explores the history of happiness, it debates the criticisms of positive psychology, it examines important theories of SWB and positive emotion, and finally it gives a taste of research in positive psychology. The chapter demonstrates the importance of the study of happiness and SWB. Moreover, as Fredrickson’s theory has shown, positive emotions are crucial, in that they broaden the authors’ momentary thought/action readiness and build essential personal resources for the future. Happiness and joy are consequential, as Helen Keller affirmed, “Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow”.
This chapter investigates the genetic makeup of happy people, and draws some conclusions about biological contributions to happiness. It discusses the behavioral characteristics of those who are happy. The chapter delves into an important area of research in positive psychology: looking at the personality traits that predict happiness. It shows that happy people are active in their work and leisure life, and extends this to a more general conclusion: Happy people tend to be active people. Contrary to the stereotype of happiness producing “contented cows”, happy people appear to be actively engaged in life. Religious and spiritual people tend to be happier than those who are not. A healthy humility may have an important role to play in our happiness. Humility helps us accept who we really are, so we can get past ourselves to focus on others and the beauty all around us.
Positive psychology falls within the perspective of humanism (or humanistic psychology) but is different because it focuses on testing ideas. Abraham Maslow had arguably the most well-known view of growth motivation because his concept appears in countless psychology and educational psychology textbooks. Optimism is an area that has an interesting past and has quite a cast of characters over time. Most recent, optimism has been viewed as a cognitive characteristic, but not just plain cognition because there is an emotional component to it. There are two types of happy in the motivation world. The first is hedonic, which focuses on the experience of pleasure, avoiding problems, and having a relaxed and good life. The second, eudaemonic happiness, focuses on three areas: wealth and materialism, attachment, and personal goals. Youth activities that promote positive development do have solid longitudinal research showing their effects.Source: