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Positive Psychology: Understanding and Promoting Well-being

Key Points to Remember

It turns out that the wholehearted adoption of an exclusively optimistic outlook may not be what promotes your well-being and the good life.” (pp.468, Gruman et al. 2017).   
e-Text key points to Remember 
Positive psychology is the science of understanding and promoting well-being and optimal human functioning. 
Positive and social psychology are closely connected especially when optimism and pessimism are examined. 
Positive social psychology is the study of how social factors can help promote a good life. 
Differences in outcome expectancies are key when it comes to understanding optimism and pessimism.  
Outcome expectancies lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. 
Optimistic explanatory styles - make internal, stable, and global attributions to explain the good things but external, unstable, and specific attributions to explain bad things. Vice versa for pessimistic style. 
Pessimists need to have attribution retraining to replace with more optimistic explanatory style. 
Consider This!  In her book, Positive Psychology: A Practical Guide (2012), Bridget Grenville-Cleave provides the following 5 Barriers to Well-Being and useful strategies: 
A.In order to combat The Negativity Bias (more weight is given to negative events rather than positive emotions), one needs to make a conscious effort to focus on the positive events and experiences in one’s life (e.g., complete the Three Good Things exercise)
B.In order to combat Duration Neglect (good things never last long), it is important to focus on the peak intensity of the emotion and ending the event on a positive note. End all tasks, work events, or thoughts on a pleasant experience. 
C.In order to combat Social Comparison (we compare ourselves to others to determine our well-being), compare yourself with people who are worse than you and of focus on a gratitude and appreciation for what you have. 
D.In order to combat the Hedonic Treadmill (I-must-have-more cycle to maintain the boost from getting something or purchasing something or experiencing a positive event), change some of your long-term expectations to more short-term about those things or events and understand the adaptation principle goes for both good and bad things. 
E.In order to combat Lack of Self-Control (self-regulation of impulses), practice regular self-control on another activity, keep track of actions and consequences, and know that higher self-control is actually linked to better well-being. It improves with practice. 
Grenville-Cleave (2012) also summarizes the benefits of optimism based on positive psychological research. For example, optimism is associated with: less anxiety, depression, and distress, more effective coping, higher life satisfaction, stronger immune systems, better recovery from surgery, an ability to face warning signs of illness head on, and active problem-solving.  Defensive pessimists however, are better off continuing to expect the worst because this helps them manage their anxiety.
What is the evidence for your negative event? What counterevidence can you think of?
Brainstorm as many alternative optimistic explanations for this event
Identify the worst thing AND the most likely thing that might happen. 
Which explanations are the most useful for maintaining good well-being? 
Make an action plan focused on what you can improve in the situation. 

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