Positive psychology is still a young science, but has its roots in a very long history of questions about how to live well.
The Greek philosophers were already concerned with the questions of what constitutes happiness and how to achieve well-being.
Positive psychology is about how to get the best out of others and ourselves and how to function optimally.
It focuses on strengthening capabilities to lead a pleasant, good and meaningful life, with positive relationships and accomplishment.
This scientific movement offers new opportunities in (mental) health, education, organizations, journalism, technology, sports and society.
Until recently, the focus was mainly on what is wrong with individuals and groups. Nowadays we see a better balance between the focus on what is wrong, our weaknesses and limitations and what is right, our strengths and opportunities: from wrong to strong.
Fredrike Bannink is a pioneer in recognizing, applying and describing the many possibilities of positive psychology.
Based on the five relevant areas of Seligman’s PERMA, the reader will find in these chapters clear introductions, a wealth of research and 201 applications.
The book is a beautiful invitation to deploy these applications when working with both individuals and groups. It’s also instructive and fun to do them yourself.
“201 Positive Psychology Applications by Fredrike Bannink offers so many positive ideas, concepts, and applications that readers will soon find themselves in a positive mindset. In this 303-page book, I was only on page 38 when realized that the author, had written so many positive things I believe in, that it would be impossible to remember them all. And not only are there many positive applications, but Bannink wisely includes studies that affirm the importance of positive approaches and a positive mindset.
This book contains seven chapters, an index, references, helpful websites, applications, and a page about the author. Chapter 1 not only provides the definition of positive psychology, but stresses its influence and impact on people's lives, which is to enhance, extend, and make life meaningful.
Chapter 2 on positive emotion suggests not asking ourselves: "What do I want?" but rather, "What would bring me joy?" This is just one example of power of this book.
Chapter 3, Engagement, lists three types of narratives: 1) those that progress toward a goal, 2} those that are stable, and 3) those that digress. To appreciate how simple and profound these narratives are, compare this to the 34 plotlines the author alludes to that are supposed to encompass all stories ever written. This is part ofwhat I like about this book. The author doesn't actually say what these 34 plotlines are; instead she elegantly offers facts; application 62 shows how to change a negative narrative into a positive one.
Chapter 4 is about relationships. The author points out that having positive relationships with people who can share in our success helps us to live longer. This chapter includes Application 103: Use Honeymoon Talk. The idea is that we should talk with our partners about the positive start of the relationship, and about the things that have gone right. This chapter also includes a section about lessons we can learn from geese!
Chapter 5 is about meaning. The author states what most of us intuitively know: that finding meaning and purpose is important to living a life of happiness. Application 142 is about how to find meaning in the best, worst, and most ordinary events in life.
Chapter 6 deals with accomplishments, and how those contribute to self-esteem, and feelings of purpose and meaning. In Chapter 7, the applications of the book are condensed, and there are notes about places where one can go to get tools to help with things like cognitive bias modification.
I especially appreciated all the results of studies in this book. It is powerful for us as people and therapists to know that new ways of thinking are empirically validated. One I particularly liked was The Nun Study of Aging and Alzheimer's. It discovered the relationship between positive stories of early life and living a long life.
I recommend this book as a resource book of inspiration to revive positive emotions and mindset. ”
John D. Lentz D. Min2018 Spring Issue Milton H. Erickson Newsletter