Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

January 14, 2013

THE GOOD LIFE: My New Year’s resolution

CROSSVILLE — Most study of human behavior has focused on abnormal behavior and mental illness. While it is essential to study and contain such pathologies, it is equally important to understand those aspects of human experience that make life worth living. Positive psychology aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.

Components of well-being that positive psychology studies include:

• Positive emotions — a joy in living.

• Meaning — a sense that our lives have a purpose and meaning.

• Engagement — the experiences of being totally engaged in what we’re doing, also called ‘flow,’

• Relationships — supportive social relationships.

• Accomplishment — a sense of efficacy and accomplishment.

Bottom of Form

While we must all work to end our own and others' suffering, we also need to learn how to support and increase the well-being of individuals and community. Research has shown that one way to help suffering people is to focus on the building their strengths. Prevention researchers have discovered that there are strengths that act as buffers against mental illness: courage, future mindedness, optimism, faith, work ethic, honesty, perseverance and the capacity for flow and insight, to name several. Further, people care about more than just the relief of their suffering. We also care about living a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Some of the findings of positive psychology seem like common sense. Does this add anything to what we already know about the good life? It is the job of science to empirically prove or disprove what we consider as the common wisdom. Sometimes this common “wisdom” is true, sometimes it is not. Positive psychology research is discovering some things that might not be considered wisdom to all.

To name just a few:

• Activities that make people happy in small doses — such as shopping, good food and making money — do not lead to fulfillment in the long term, indicating that these have quickly diminishing returns.

• People who express gratitude on a regular basis have better physical health, optimism, progress toward goals, well-being and help others more.

• Trying to maximize happiness can lead to unhappiness.

• People who witness others perform good deeds experience an emotion called "elevation" and this motivates them to perform their own good deeds.

• People who are optimistic or happy have better performance in work, school and sports, are less depressed, have fewer physical health problems, and have better relationships with other people. Further, optimism can be measured and it can be learned.

• People who report more positive emotions in young adulthood live longer and healthier lives.

• Healthy human development can take place under conditions of even great adversity due to a process of resilience that is common and completely ordinary. 

There are now about 12 to 18 exercises in the positive psychology literature that are documented to increase one’s sense of well-being. To benefit from these exercises, they have to be practiced. Some of the exercises are cognitive, like thinking about three things that went well today. My 2013 resolution is to share with you recent research findings about the psychological good life and how to practice them. May you find what I report interesting, and I invite you to email me your reactions (lgorenflo@gmail.com).

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • 20140412_110402.jpg Kids get creative at Youth Expo

    Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression (CACE) held its annual Youth Expo Saturday, providing young people an opportunity to try their hand at a variety of artistic endeavors, from music and writing to painting and traditional crafts of weaving and spinning.

    April 17, 2014 4 Photos

  • AROUND THE TOWN: The Easter egg hunt that never was

    The Easter Bunny should be able to deliver his baskets in pretty nice weather this weekend. The Good Friday and Easter holiday weekend should feature much warmer temperatures than we had earlier this week when snow showers fell on Cumberland County. Cumberland County students were released Tuesday for spring break, but their last day of school for the week found snow and ice falling from the sky and temperatures in the 20s. Students will return to class on Monday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 127 Seniors.jpg Jay Fox performs for seniors after receiving new prosthesis

    On Friday, April 11, the members of the 127 Senior Center had another good time playing bingo and dominos. Bingo was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the bingo gifts were provided by Bob Folger of State Farm Insurance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses

    Publised April 16, 2014.

    April 15, 2014

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Pancake breakfast held for cancer research

    During the year various groups connected with the Pleasant Hill Elementary School provide a Saturday morning pancake breakfast to support the Relay for Life campaign.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fair Park.jpg Final audition planned for talent show

    Last auditions for Crossville’s Got Talent will be this Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at the Fair Park Senior Center. The center is at 1433 Livingston Rd. It looks like another good show, so miss this one.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • PLATEAU GARDENING: Cool-season lawn grass fertilization and soil tests

    Recently, I got an inquiry about the right timing for homeowners who want to fertilize a cool-season lawn which has bare spots that need over-seeding. An email from a new resident in the Crossville area asked how to take a soil sample and where to have it tested. Since problems with the pH or fertility of the soil beneath can result in chronically thin grass with persistent bare places up top, testing the soil then correcting pH and fertility to match plant needs can be an important first step in maintaining your lawn.

    April 14, 2014

  • IMG953498.jpg It's a great day to fly a kite!

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Season of fundraising begins

    Spring is in full swing, and this mean there are a host of not-for-profit organizations in Crossville and Cumberland County hosting events over the next few weeks. The first event will begin this weekend with a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

    April 10, 2014

  • 4-25 N&N meeting.jpg Investigative forensic science close to home

    NCIS? CSI? Bones? All fictional! Here in East Tennessee, they have a real investigative forensic expert — Dr. Bill Bass.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo