Resources for Good Practice
Update February 2013
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This month we are looking at flourishing for ourselves and others. Wellbeing, as described in positive psychology, is a key component of flourishing, and happiness is a key component of well-being. The first set of resources focuses on happiness and the second set of resources focuses on well-being—both from the perspectives of positive psychology1. The Update concludes with a link to a video presentation on flourishing and its relevance for human development. We are grateful for the work of Martin Seligman et al. and the field of positive psychology for their insights and tools.
Warm greetings from Geneva,
Kelly and Michèle O’Donnell
A boy plants a flower after taking a swim in pools formed by rain waters
in the Mathare slums, Kenya. (March 2008, © Mwelu/IRIN)
“To flourish means to live within an optimal range of human functioning, one that connotes goodness, generativity, growth, and resilience...Flourishing contrasts not just with pathology but also with languishing… experienced by people who describe their lives as “hollow” or “empty.” “ (Fredrickson and Losada, Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamic of Human Flourishing, American Psychologist, October 2005, p. 678
Resource Area One:
The goal of positive psychology in authentic happiness theory is…
to increase the amount of happiness in your own life and on the planet.
Positive psychology describes happiness in terms of three components: positive emotion, engagement, and meaning in one’s life. So happiness is not just a feeling nor something which is determined entirely by our circumstances. Here are two helpful items to support you as you seek to develop happiness for yourself and others.
10 Things Happy People Do Differently
Check out these 10 practical tips-checklist (from Paula Davis-Laack, Huffington Post, 3 Jan 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paula-davislaack/happiness-tips_b_2325700.html
Authentic Happiness Inventory
This questionnaire is available for free on the Authentic Happiness website at the University of Pennsylvania. After a simple and confidential registration process, this questionnaire and many others are available to take online and with immediate feedback. Many materials are available in up to six languages. Try it also with your friends, family, team, etc. http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx
Resource Area Two
The goal of positive psychology in well-being theory…
is to increase the amount of flourishing in your own life and on the planet.
Well-being has five measurable elements (PERMA): positive emotion (of which happiness and life satisfaction are all aspects) engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishment.
Here is an excerpt that compares happiness and well-being (two-page summary) from Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being (2011), by Martin Seligman.
Well-Being Questionnaire Center
This “center” is on the Authentic Happiness website at the University of Pennsylvania. After a simple and confidential registration process, many questionnaires related to well-being are available to take online and with immediate feedback. Many materials are available in up to six languages. Try it also with your friends, family, team, etc.
Watch the 25 minute presentation on Flourishing (US Zeitgeist, 2010) by Martin Seligman (“a prologue to a positive human future”). Helpful, encouraging, and in terms of humanity, we have a lot of work to do… http://www.amareway.org/holisticliving/01/martin-seligman-on-flourishing-us-zeitgeist-2010/
Lebanese authorities bury 30 bodies in a wasteland outside Tyre, Lebanon.
The bodies had lain unclaimed for 10 days in the burned out shells of cars or scattered around…(July 2006, ©Macleod/IRIN)
1. For some theological perspectives on positive psychology, including points of commonality and caution (e.g., optimism about human goodness and development, flourishing through relationship with God) see Entwistle and Maroney (2011). Integrative perspectives on human flourishing: The imago Dei and positive psychology. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 39, 295-303. Available from the Free Library.