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Practice of Learned Optimism

Page history last edited by Library Health 9 years, 8 months ago


We invite you to participate as a researcher for finding and adding resources on transformational change.   This is a dynamic tool for you to add information you find to your FW 311 individual group's wiki as you do research for class projects (click on the "Sidebar" located on the right in the "View" mode--select the appropriate Class Wiki).  We encourage you to share not only titles (for example, the citation of a journal article, a book, a blog, or title of a digital media stream), but also the places you found the resources and the search strategies you found useful, as we have in the links below. Students will post to the topic areas on the sidebar located on the right.


Required Assignment Materials:


Measuring the Immeasurable: The Scientific Case for Spirituality. (2008). Boulder, CO: Sounds True Publishers.  Read the following:

Segerstrom, S. C.  Doing Optimism: Optimists, Pessimists, and Their Potential for Change, pp. 101-119.

Hanson, R.  Seven Facts About the Brain that Incline the Mind to Joy, pp. 269-286.


Tennen, H. & Affleck, G. (1987). The Costs and Benefits of Optimistic Explanations and Dispositional Optismism. Journal of Personality, 55 (2).

cost benefit optimism article peer reviewed.pdf


Martin Seligman believes you can make yourself happy (November 11, 2011). Watch this video posted to:



Authentic Happiness Assessment (Retrieved March 19, 2012).  Review general page--you are not required to follow the links but may find further exploration interesting.  Take an assessment questionnaire of your choice.



Supplementary Resource Materials:




Peer Reviewed: 

  Miller, A. (2008). A critique of positive psychology or "the new science of happiness'. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 42(3-4) critique of positive psych.pdf  Seligman, M. (2000). Optimism, pessimism, and mortality (Editorial). The Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 75(2), 113-134.seligman editorial.pdf  Grandy, J. (2009). Psychometric properties and analysis of the AQ Profile. Peak Learning.PEAK_AQP_technicalSupplement.pdf  



Seligman, M. (1998). Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. New York: Pocket Books. 


Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life (book overview).

Learned Optimism book overview.docx  


Electronic Books from Cline Library:


The extraordinary healing power of ordinary things : fourteen natural steps to health and happiness.  Larry Dossey. New York : Harmony Books, c2006. Chapters: Introduction -- Optimism -- Forgetting -- Novelty -- Tears -- Dirt -- Music -- Risk -- Plants -- Bugs -- Unhappiness -- Nothing -- Voices -- Mystery -- Miracles -- Notes -- Index. Access ebook.


Happiness: essential mindfulness practices.  Thich Nhat Hanh. Note: "Material for the practices in this book comes from How to Enjoy Your Stay in Plum Village, Chanting from the Heart, Present Moment, Wonderful Moment, and The World We Have, all published by Parallax Press, and unpublished dharma talks by Thich Nhat Hanh." Access ebook.


A life worth living: contributions to positive psychology.  Edited by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Isabella Selega Csikszentmihalyi.  Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006. Chapter: Positive psychology traditions in classical European psychology / Csaba Pléh -- The Values in Action (VIA) classification of strengths / Christopher Peterson -- Positive personality development : approaching personal autonomy / Dmitry Leontiev -- Spirituality : recent progress / Robert A. Emmons -- The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions / Barbara L. Fredrickson -- Benefits of emotional intelligence / Daisy D. Grewal and Peter Salovey -- Strategies for achieving well-being / Jane Henry -- Adaptive resources in later life : tenacious goal pursuit and flexible goal adjustment / Jochen Brandtstädter -- The impact of subjective experience on the quality of life : a central issue for health professionals / Antonella Delle Fave -- What works makes you happy : the role of personal goals in life-span development / Jari-Erik Nurmi and Katariina Salmela-Aro -- Materialism and its alternatives / Tim Kasser -- Getting older, getting better? recent psychological evidence / Kennon Sheldon -- Afterword: breaking the 65 percent barrier / Martin E. P. Seligman. Access ebook.




Video Stream Available from Cline Library:


Accentuate the Positive: Using Positive Psychology in the Classroom. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2010. 55  min. View streaming video. Summary: Students at Geelong Grammar School are undergoing the first year of a new, and controversial, experiment in education. Positive Education, a program developed by psychologist Martin Seligman, is designed to help children cultivate ways of becoming happier, more resilient people. But can optimism be learned in the same way that reading, writing, and arithmetic can? This video captures the range of events and emotions that the Australian teens work through, including bullying and self-esteem issues, as they attempt to employ Positive Education techniques. Additional insights are provided by the teaching staff, who are also grappling with this new way of learning.


Don't look back. PBS, 2009. 30 min. View streaming video. Summary: For some people, viewing life as an endless chain of possibilities just comes naturally. These folks tend to remain happy and optimistic in old age. Others have to struggle to stay positive and, in their advanced years, are more likely to succumb to depression and stagnation-even if they're in good physical health. This program features guest panelists who, perhaps because of their careers as writers and storytellers, have been able to approach aging as a new arena in which to create and prosper. They include Frank McCourt, a former schoolteacher turned bestselling author (Angela's Ashes, 'Tis, and Teacher Man); award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni, author of On My Journey Now and Acolytes; and producer and comedy writer Larry Gelbart, whose credits include M*A*S*H and Tootsie.


How to be happy: positive psychology in action.   Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 2008. 44 min. View streaming video. Summary: This program illustrates the application of positive psychology through a powerful workshop in which participants increase their awareness of what creates happiness by performing acts of indulgence, altruism, and gratitude. How to Be Happy also considers whether wealth, friendship, religion, job satisfaction, raising children, and getting older typically do or don't promote happiness. An fMRI study on the effect of deep meditation on the brain, a segment on laughter yoga, and a case study of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, a very successful company whose management style is firmly based on the principles of positive psychology, round out the program.


Public Domain video:


Adventures of an Incurable Optimist - Michael J Fox.  (May 9, 2009)    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=May5B0melb4




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