Martin Seligman has researched and taught about positive
psychology for years. He currently is leading a virtual
class on authentic happiness. You can learn about it at
www.authentichappinesscoaching.com and at
www.authentichappiness.org. These web sites are filled
with tests to measure your levels of happiness, optimism,
strengths, etc. and references about positive psychology.
One key concept in positive psychology is optimism. The data
about optimism is that optimists are healthier and more
successful than pessimists. How can we develop optimism
in ourselves and our children.
Dr. Seligman teaches us to use the ABCDE technique.
A - Adversity
Choose an event that happened to you during the day.
It can be a good event or a bad event. Write down what
the event was. This works for good and bad events. We
often identify a good event as lucky or isolated and then
expect it will fade. By using this technique we want to
make the good eventsthe beginning of being on a roll of
B - Beliefs
Remember any pessimistic thoughts you may have had about
the event. (Example: A - The newspaper this morning was all
wet. B - The paper is always wet because the paper guy
doesn't care about the paper and never puts the plastic
on it properly.)
C - Consequences
Write down the consequences that occurred as a result of
this event. (Example: Now I can't read the paper. I'll
miss the sports scores. I won't be able to do the
crossword puzzle. I'll be miserable all day.)
D - Disputation
Dispute the pessimistic thoughts vigorously. (Example:
The paper guy may not care about the papers but I do. He's
just making more work for himself because I can call the
office and have another one sent out to me. I'll still
be able to do the crossword puzzle.)
E - Energization
By disputing the pessimistic thought, write down how you
feel now. Pay attention to how empowered you feel.
(Example: I'm not so angry. I know I'll still get to do the
crossword puzzle and my day isn't ruined.)
Try this technique every day if you can and see if you can
begin to build your expectations that things will work out
well for you. Build optimism.