"In this paper, we propose that attaining authentic happiness is linked to the way we relate to the notion of a self, and more particularly to its nature. We defend the idea that the perception of a structured self in the form of a seemingly solid, permanent and independent entity, favors a self–centered psychological functioning, which is the source of unstable, fluctuating happiness. In opposition to this, we propose that selfless psychological functioning emerges from the perception of the self as being flexible (i.e., a dynamic experience) and that this constitutes a source of authentic and durable happiness" (Dambrun & Ricard, 2011, p. 138).
"Psychology should study the human being not just as passive clay, helplessly determined by outside forces. Man is, or should be, an active, autonomous, self–governing mover, chooser and center of his own life. The so–called stimulus–response psychology has unintentionally created what might be called a Stimulus–Response man, passive, shaped, adjusting, learning. With him should be contrasted the creative, active man, who invents, makes decisions, accepts some stimuli and rejects others, who, in fact, creates his own stimuli. Posing this opposition may help in understanding why more and more psychologists are growing worried about the concept of 'adjustment.' Adjustment, whether to the culture, to other people, or to nature, essentially means being passive, letting oneself be shaped from the outside. It is trying to be what others want, instead of searching for one's real self. From this point of view, psychologists are increasingly beginning to criticize the conception of learning as a passive process" (Maslow, 1965a, pp. 31–32).
West, B. J., Patera, J. L., & Carsten, M. K. (2009). Team level positivity: Investigating positive psychological capacities and team level outcomes. , (2), 249–267. doi:10.1002/job.593. The movement toward positive psychology has uncovered the important role that positivity plays in both individual and organizational success. Given that work teams are becoming increasingly embedded in organizational structures, it is surprising that few researchers have investigated positivity at the team level. The present study examines the emergence of team level positive psychological capacities and their relationship with team outcomes (e.g., cohesion, cooperation, coordination, and conflict and team satisfaction) during two team sessions. Results from 101 teams suggest that team optimism is an important predictor of team outcomes when teams are newly formed, whereas team resilience and team efficacy show greater explanatory power after several team interactions. Implications of the findings are discussed, as well as possible avenues for additional research.
Waterman, A. S. (1993). Two conceptions of happiness: Contrasts of personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. , (4), 678–691. doi:10.1037/0022–3522.214.171.1248. Aristotle's concept of eudaimonia and hedonic enjoyment constitute 2 philosophical conceptions of happiness. Two studies involving combined samples of undergraduate and graduate students (Study 1, N = 209; Study 2, N = 249) were undertaken to identify the convergent and divergent aspects of these constructs. As expected, there was a strong positive correlation between personal expressiveness (eudaimonia) and hedonic enjoyment. Analyses revealed significant differences between the 2 conceptions of happiness experienced in conjunction with activities for the variables of (a) opportunities for satisfaction, (b) strength of cognitive–affective components, (c) level of challenges, (d) level of skills, and (e) importance. It thus appears that the 2 conceptions of happiness are related but distinguishable and that personal expressiveness, but not hedonic enjoyment, is a signifier of success in the process of self–realization.
Walter, F., & Bruch, H. (2008). The positive group affect spiral: A dynamic model of the emergence of positive affective similarity in work groups. , (2), 239–261. doi:10.1002/job.505. This conceptual paper seeks to clarify the process of the emergence of positive collective affect. Specifically, it develops a dynamic model of the emergence of positive affective similarity in work groups. It is suggested that positive group affective similarity and within–group relationship quality are reciprocally interrelated in the form of a self–reinforcing spiral, which is driven by mechanisms of affective sharing and affective similarity–attraction between group members. We label this spiraling relationship 'Positive Group Affect Spiral.' This spiral is proposed to continuously strengthen both the similarity of group members' positive affect and the quality of their interpersonal relationships in a dynamic process. Further, we embed the Positive Group Affect Spiral into a framework of contextual factors that may diminish or strengthen its functioning, considering the potential impacts of charismatic leadership, individuals' or subgroups' organizational cynicism, group and organizational emotion norms, and organizational identity.
Mauss, I. B., Tamir, M., Anderson, C. L., & Savino, N. S. (2011). Can seeking happiness make people happy? Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. . doi:10.1037/a0022010. Happiness is a key ingredient of well–being. It is thus reasonable to expect that valuing happiness will have beneficial outcomes. We argue that this may not always be the case. Instead, valuing happiness could be self–defeating, because the more people value happiness, the more likely they will feel disappointed. This should apply particularly in positive situations, in which people have every reason to be happy. Two studies support this hypothesis. In Study 1, female participants who valued happiness more (vs. less) reported lower happiness when under conditions of low, but not high, life stress. In Study 2, compared to a control group, female participants who were experimentally induced to value happiness reacted less positively to a happy, but not a sad, emotion induction. This effect was mediated by participants' disappointment at their own feelings. Paradoxically, therefore, valuing happiness may lead people to be less happy just when happiness is within reach.
Macleod, A. K. (2012). Well-being, positivity and mental health: An introduction to the special issue. , 279-82. doi:10.1002/cpp.1794 Enhancing well-being, as opposed to reducing distress, has traditionally not been a focus for clinical practice. There are differences in views about the nature of well-being, but enhancing well-being in clinical settings is a straightforward goal whatever concept of well-being is adopted. Reasons for adopting a well-being enhancing, as well as a distress-reducing, focus include the fact that many psychological problems do not fit the simple acute treatment model of disorder, that positive experience inhibits negative experience, and that people can benefit from therapists seeing them as more than the sum of their problems. In recent years, well-being has been of increasing interest to researchers and clinicians, and enhancing well-being is emerging as a potentially valuable element of effective clinical practice. KEY PRACTITIONER MESSAGE: Enhancing well-being has been relatively neglected as a therapeutic goal. There are good reasons for seeing well-being enhancement as a valuable goal for clinical practice, alongside the more traditional goal of distress-reduction. Useful work is emerging in this area from clinicians and clinical researchers.
Massimini, F., & Delle Fave, A. (2000). Individual development in a bio–cultural perspective [Special issue]. , (1), 24–33. doi:10.1037//0003–066X.55.l.24. Biological and cultural inheritance deeply influence daily human behavior. However, individuals actively interact with bio–cultural information. Throughout their lives, they preferentially cultivate a limited subset of activities, values, and personal interests. This process, defined as psychological selection, is strictly related to the quality of subjective experience. Specifically, cross–cultural studies have highlighted the central role played by optimal experience or flow, the most positive and complex daily experience reported by the participants. It is characterized by high involvement, deep concentration, intrinsic motivation, and the perception of high challenges matched by adequate personal skills. The associated activities represent the basic units of psychological selection. Flow can therefore influence the selective transmission of bio–cultural information and the process of bio–cultural evolution.
Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: does happiness lead to success? , (6), 803–55. doi:10.1037/0033–2909.131.6.803. Numerous studies show that happy individuals are successful across multiple life domains, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health. The authors suggest a conceptual model to account for these findings, arguing that the happiness–success link exists not only because success makes people happy, but also because positive affect engenders success. Three classes of evidence––cross–sectional, longitudinal, and experimental––are documented to test their model. Relevant studies are described and their effect sizes combined meta–analytically. The results reveal that happiness is associated with and precedes numerous successful outcomes, as well as behaviors paralleling success. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that positive affect––the hallmark of well–being––may be the cause of many of the desirable characteristics, resources, and successes correlated with happiness. Limitations, empirical issues, and important future research questions are discussed.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2001). Why are some people happier than others? The role of cognitive and motivational processes in well–being [Special issue]. , (3), 239–249. doi:10.1037//0003–066X.56.3.239. Addressing the question of why some people are happier than others is important for both theoretical and practical reasons and should be a central goal of a comprehensive positive psychology. Following a construal theory of happiness, the author proposes that multiple cognitive and motivational processes moderate the impact of the objective environment on well–being. Thus, to understand why some people are happier than others, one must understand the cognitive and motivational processes that serve to maintain, and even enhance, enduring happiness and transient mood. The author's approach has been to explore hedonically relevant psychological processes, such as social comparison, dissonance reduction, self–reflection, self–evaluation, and person perception, in chronically happy and unhappy individuals. In support of a construal framework, self–rated happy and unhappy people have been shown to differ systematically in the particular cognitive and motivational strategies they use. Promising research directions for positive psychology in pursuit of the sources of happiness, as well as the implications of the construal approach for prescriptions for enhancing well–being, are discussed.