Economy Got You Down? Use The Principles Of Positive Psychology

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Tough economic times are a good opportunity to use positive psychology to find happiness and meaning in life, says a new report from Harvard Medical School. "Positive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happiness, personal strength, and mindfulness" describes how using your personal strengths, savoring the moment, building positive relationships, counting your blessings, and other principles of positive psychology are far more likely to bring satisfaction and fulfillment than accumulating money and material things.

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Positive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happiness, personal strength, and mindfulness

--Tough economic times are a good opportunity to use positive psychology to find happiness and meaning in life, says a new report from Harvard Medical School. "Positive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happiness, personal strength, and mindfulness" describes how using your personal strengths, savoring the moment, building positive relationships, counting your blessings, and other principles of positive psychology are far more likely to bring satisfaction and fulfillment than accumulating money and material things.

This new report reviews the scientific evidence and describes the strategies and techniques that have fueled the growth of the field of positive psychology.

Numerous scientific studies have linked positive emotions with better health, longer life, and greater well-being while the accumulation of money and material wealth have failed to produce such results. On the other hand, chronic anger, worry, and hostility increase the risk of developing heart disease, as people react to these feelings with raised blood pressure and stiffening of blood vessels. A 2005 Harvard School of Public Health study found that people who were generally hopeful were less likely to develop hypertension, diabetes, or respiratory tract infection than those who were less hopeful.

Included in this report are many techniques and approaches for enhancing well-being and savoring the positive aspects of your life. Here are a few:

Single-task. Multitasking is the enemy of savoring. If you're walking the dog on a beautiful path but checking your phone for messages, you're missing the moment. Don't pile on so much stimulation that you dilute your ability to enjoy it.

Celebrate. Don't keep the good moments of life to yourself. Let yourself be happy when you complete a project or when something goes well. Savor your accomplishments.

Slow down. Time affluence--having the time to enjoy your life and participate in the activities you want--predicts happiness better than monetary affluence. Try to eliminate some of the less enjoyable ways you spend your time, so you can enjoy the pleasurable experiences in your day without rushing.

Simplify. Too many options can actually diminish your pleasure.

Share the moment. Inviting someone else to share an activity can enhance the pleasure. Together you can relish the sunset, symphony, or ski run.

This report also discusses:

  • Using your personal strengths
  • Developing gratitude
  • Becoming more engaged through "flow"

Positive Psychology: Harnessing the power of happiness, personal strength, and mindfulness is available for $18 from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School. Order it online at http://www.health.harvard.edu/PP or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Media: Contact Raquel Schott at Raquel_Schott(at)hms(dot)harvard.edu for a complimentary press copy of the report, or to receive our press releases directly.

Harvard Health Publications
Contact: Raquel Schott
617-432-5781

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