Personal Growth Authentic Happiness Seligman Pdf


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Seligman. Learned Optimism. Authentic. Happiness. Flourish. Prof. Mihaly. Csikszentmihalyi. Flow: The. Psychology of. Happiness. Feeling good + Functioning. Authentic Happiness - Developing a Positive Emotional Life. I. Introduction. The information used in this training is based on the work of Martin Seligman, Ph.D. In Authentic Happiness (), author Martin. Seligman proposes a positive psychology focus- ing on mental health rather than mental illness. He suggests that.

Authentic Happiness Seligman Pdf

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This Article adopts psychologist Martin Seligman's definition of the phrase authentic happiness. This Article provides an introduction to examples of legal policies. Whereas authentic happiness seeks life satisfaction, well-being aspires to flourishing - a At the end of the s, Martin E. P. Seligman, in the. Authentic Happiness by Martin E. P. Seligman - A national bestseller, Authentic Happiness launched the revolutionary new science of Positive Psychology—and .

As I read him, Seligman defends the first claim and sometimes implies the second claim. With these clarifications, I believe that Seligman and other positive psychologists promise new insights into the virtue hypothesis. Roughly, their experimental approach is as follows. Identify a large spectrum of what society regards as virtues and develop specific indicators for each of them.

Using this procedure, nuanced and statistical information accumulates to support, refute, or revise the virtue hypothesis. For example, some information will shed new light on familiar claims such as benevolence tends to make individuals happier.

The results are complex and vary according to life stage Piliavin, Service learning by high school students has generally positive effects, such as increasing civic participation, but it does not seem to significantly affect happiness. In all such studies, care must be taken to ensure that virtue is generating happiness, and not vice versa the problem of reverse correlation.

Happiness is a sufficiently important value to warrant Thomas Jefferson's troika of human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, immortalized in the Declaration of Independence.

If they smuggle virtues into the definition of happiness, they muddy empirical investigation by transforming an empirical hypothesis into a partial tautology: cultivating virtue brings forms of happiness defined by exercising virtues. He also draws on current research showing that overall levels of happiness are the product of our set range of overall satisfaction, circumstances beyond our control, and voluntary actions that foster positive attitudes and experiences Seligman, a : To elaborate, common sense tells us that our happiness level fluctuates over time, and also that some people are predisposed to be happier than others.

This common sense is confirmed by studies of twins revealing that about half of human personalities are genetically given, including our normal range of happiness Lykken, Common sense also tells us that happiness is affected by circumstances beyond our control, such as major disappointments, serious illnesses, and the death of loved ones. Psychological studies have shown, however, that circumstances influence happiness less dramatically than we assume.

For example, increases in wealth dramatically raise happiness levels when they lift people out of poverty, but thereafter they only slightly affect happiness. Again, most people return to their normal range of happiness within a year of winning the lottery or suffering a serious injury.

Of most interest, our voluntary actions can significantly raise our happiness within our set range. Seligman's thesis is that these voluntary steps consist largely in exercising the virtues and moral strengths.

The voluntary steps include efforts to reshape our attitudes toward our present, future, and past. Regarding the present, we can learn to appreciate and savor momentary pleasures throughout each day. Regarding the future, we can increase a cluster of positive emotions and attitudes. Here many of the key virtues share the names of the emotions they foster: hope, faith, and trust.

Famously, Seligman counts optimism as a moral strength Seligman, In contrast, pessimists tend to decrease positive emotions by thinking in terms of catastrophes, emphasizing the likelihood of bad events, and interpreting bad occurrences as more permanent and pervasive.

To increase these emotions we should cultivate appreciation of the good things in our lives and our very existence, and stop dwelling on the bad. To this end, gratitude is invaluable. Forgiveness is another important virtue that liberates us from preoccupation with harm done to us and people we care about.

As one of many illustrations of how moral strengths can be used to increase gratifications, Seligman discusses attorneys, nearly half of whom are reportedly unhappy Seligman, a : — The fundamental nature of the profession cannot be changed, but individual attorneys can take steps to increase satisfaction in their work.

For example, they can try to restrict their pessimistic outlook focused on possible trouble to their work, and cultivate optimistic outlooks in their personal lives. They can find ways to feel more in control of their work, if only in small ways.

And they can increase ways of acting on their signature strengths, such as perseverance and fairness in work, loyalty to colleagues, caring for clients, and creativity and leadership within the profession.

Authentic Happiness

I find all this illuminating. A red flag goes up, however, when Seligman never explicitly commits himself to the standard subjective definition of happiness. Is he perhaps smuggling virtues into the definition of happiness, in ways that might subvert empirical inquiry? Such terms suggest that happiness is not simply overall satisfaction with our lives but instead morally desirable forms of overall satisfaction. Initially he invokes the term in insisting that happiness is a genuine source of motivation, as well as a worthy goal, in contrast with Freud's view that only sexuality and aggression are fundamental motives Seligman, a : xii.

This suggests Seligman is using at least one tautology in studying the virtue hypothesis: authenticity contributes to authentic forms of happiness.

Thus, in principle, authentic happiness cannot be found by entering Robert Nozick's famous experience machine that creates a stream of pleasures based on convincing illusions Seligman, a : 7—8; Nozick, It is difficult to tell. At times it almost looks like Seligman is unfolding one grand tautology, or at least a sweeping moral perspective: authentic happiness, which is the happiness produced by virtues, consists of those gratifications constituted by exercising the virtues.

Seligman needs to make a choice. This is a muddle. Gratifications are initially defined as activities and satisfactions associated with them that we strongly like to do and desire to engage in for their sake Seligman, a : To avoid this muddle, gratifications must not be conflated with virtuous activity and noble purposes.

Conceivably, immoral persons might strongly like and desire rape, torture, and murder for the intrinsic satisfactions they bring. Canonical cravings lead to uncritical moves from descriptive science to prescriptive ethics, implicitly wrapping psychologists in a mantle of moral expertise and authority.

Sliding to subjectivism consists in moving uncritically from objective moral judgments to subjective preferences. Additive problems arise from moving uncritically from limited truths to unwarranted generalizations.

Canonical Cravings.

Normative ethics involves making and justifying moral judgments, as well as developing comprehensive moral perspectives aimed at moral guidance and perhaps motivation. In contrast, psychology as a science seeks to describe, explain, and identify the effects of what societies or individuals regard as moral judgments about conduct, character, and communities.

With this in mind, we might expect Seligman to be comfortable with studying the virtue hypothesis in light of the value perspectives of particular societies.

Yet, Seligman deliberately sets himself against this standard approach on the grounds that it smacks of moral relativism.

Presumably, exercising such unjustified values in the pursuit of happiness is not part of his vision for positive psychology. Together with Christopher Peterson, he examines the moral and religious literatures from a wide array of cultures, giving some emphasis to the moral traditions in world religions and classical Greece.

In addition, moral strengths might be expressed in more specific traits; for example, kindness might be expressed in generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love, and niceness; and integrity might be expressed through honesty and authenticity. I applaud Peterson and Seligman's rejection of crass forms of ethical relativism and their attempt to identify ubiquitous virtues, especially given the flexible spirit in which they proceed.

Entries on their initial list can be checked to see if they really are widely held, and explorations conducted to check for cultural variations in how the virtues are interpreted and implemented. Furthermore, in clarifying the virtues and moral strengths, and in commissioning articles on each of them, Peterson and Seligman have initiated a fruitful dialogue between psychologists and philosophers.

In this spirit I make three comments. For example, integrity is listed under courage, rather than vice versa; leadership meaning desirable forms of leadership is listed under justice, but, as analyzed in terms of helping others, it might fit better under humanity; forgiveness and mercy are listed under temperance, and gratitude under transcendence, rather than under humanity.

I would raise the different point that nearly all virtues can have spiritual dimensions when linked to spiritual or religious perspectives, for example humility, forgiveness, and love.

For this reason, transcendence is better regarded as an axis that cuts across all the virtues when they are linked to spirituality and of course not everyone will have an interest in that linkage.

All the moral strengths are virtues in the ordinary sense of morally desirable traits of character.

Moreover, privileging the six virtues conceals how different moral traditions have their own priorities in listing cardinal virtues; for example, Christianity makes love a primary category, and subsumes under it spiritualized versions of hope, faith, courage, gratitude, and other virtues. And ancient Greece omitted love from its list of four cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. Third, and most important, there is a danger that a list of ubiquitous virtues might be taken to be canonical, that is, morally sound and authoritative simply because the virtues are ubiquitous, not to mention because their organization is set forth by prominent researchers like Seligman.

Yet, simply because a trait is widely endorsed does not automatically make it justified. Nor does the absence of universal endorsement entail lack of moral justification and importance. Slide to Subjectivism. The next peril in studying the virtues is that positive psychologists will grease the slide to subjectivism, to borrow Charles Taylor's expression Taylor, By subjectivism Taylor includes selfishness, egoistic perspectives, and reducing morality to subjective preferences.

It is one thing to identify virtues generically; it is another thing to identify them in individuals. Positive psychologists must rely on operationalized definitions, which inevitably dilute the normative content of virtues.

When Aristotle portrayed the happy life as fulfilling he meant that it involved unfolding the morally best in us. In general, normative ethics explores morally desirable forms of fulfillment, whereas psychologists study morally desired forms.

Alternatively, fulfillments might merely consist of c feeling good or satisfied, which is what Peterson and Seligman sometimes suggest e. Blurring these various meanings of fulfillment invites a constant slide between justified values and subjective preferences.

Throughout his discussion, there is slide between felt satisfactions and desirable gratifications. As for meaning, Seligman slides between 1 a sense of meaning justified or not , and 2 a justified sense of meaning. Optimism plays a large role during any period of recovery or forgiveness. As the writer of Learned Optimism , Seligman clearly distinguishes between pessimism and optimism.

Seligman writes how sometimes we are illogical and quickly jump to conclusions; this creates false beliefs. Seligman offers four ways to argue with yourself during those difficult moments. Overall, this section concludes with the idea of positive emotions and the ways to increase the amount of happiness experienced. Seligman offers three ways: The hardest part of this may be separating pleasure from gratification. Seligman argues that pleasure may actually separate the pleasant life from the good life.

Throughout the history of psychology, little research has been conducted on character except through personality studies. Without knowing our strengths, how can we know our character? He explains why character is underestimated in science and presents ways to cultivate the 6 virtues and 24 strengths. With these, he suggests that people find their top five strengths to focus on and improve. Simply put, perhaps it is the act of using your strength every day.

Letter to the reader

In terms of work and life satisfaction, happiness has little has to do with money. Across studies, freedom of choice and experiences of flow are much more impacting. Lawyers were used as an example of a highly stressful job and an unhappy work environment. The three principles that foster the outcome are pessimism, lower choices in high-stress circumstances, and a win-lose game in their field of work.

Towards the end, Seligman studies love, citing research conducted across 17 nations finding that married people are happier. He proposes that the three levels of love explain why this is so. As the book concludes, Seligman suggests eight techniques for building positive emotions. Each emotion leads to exploration and cultivates mastery, which reveals the strength and virtue in you. The meaningful life adds one more component: This book is a classic.

It is well written and will change how you think about happiness and strength. Content is easy to follow, with ample research to support his claims.


Some are conducted cross-nationally, but others are conducted in a limited group. As one reviewer, I think it would be valuable if we could see how positive emotion is understood across different cultures from around the world. I also found myself wanting more in-depth discussions of the characteristics of strength and virtue. Work, love, and children, are not the core foundations of happiness for many people.

Summary of Dr Martin EP Seligman’s 24 Signature Strengths

I am also aware that this is a one-sided view around positive psychology, which Seligman makes clear from the start. Have you read Authentic Happiness? If so, please leave your own review or comments below. Thanks for your review. Can you recommend anything? I am planning a visit to Thailand in Jan. Sign me up for the newsletter. Positive Psychology Studies. Sharing is caring. This Article Contains:Like laughter and smiling, the emotion of happiness might serve the evolutionarily adaptive purpose of enhancing social bonds.

It emphasizes employee health, employee productivity, work environment including job stress, satisfaction with benefits, employee engagement , a culture of health assessing the organization's support of healthy lifestyle choices.

People who strive for something significant, whether its learning a new craft or raising moral children, are far happier than those who dont have strong dreams or aspirations.

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The next peril in studying the virtues is that positive psychologists will grease the slide to subjectivism, to borrow Charles Taylor's expression Taylor, I dont have a particular sense of meaning and purpose in my life. Happiness, studies show, is not the result of good genes or luck. A red flag goes up, however, when Seligman never explicitly commits himself to the standard subjective definition of happiness. Furthermore, in clarifying the virtues and moral strengths, and in commissioning articles on each of them, Peterson and Seligman have initiated a fruitful dialogue between psychologists and philosophers.

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