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La Autentica Felicidad

por Martin E. P. Seligman

Otros autores: Ver la sección otros autores.

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La nueva Psicologia Positiva revoluciona el concepto de felicidad y senala el camino para conseguirla.El doctor Martin Seligman, el investigador de la psique humana que hace una decada creo el concepto de "optimismo aprendido," presenta ahora una nueva y revolucionaria corriente cientifica, la Psicologia Positiva.En lugar de centrarse, como la psicologia tradicional, en el estudio y tratamiento de la enfermedad mental, la Psicologia Positiva dirige su atencion a las fortalezas humanas, a aquellos aspectos que nos permiten aprender, disfrutar, ser alegres, generosos, serenos, solidarios y optimistas.Basandose en innovadoras investigaciones, Seligman sostiene que la autentica felicidad no solo es posible, sino que -lejos de depender de la suerte y de los genes- puede cultivarse identificando y utilizando muchas de las fortalezas y rasgos que ya se poseen. Aplicando estas "fortalezas personales" en los ambitos cruciales de la vida, los lectores no solo desarrollaran protecciones naturales contra el infortunio, la depresion y las emociones negativas, sino que situaran sus vidas en un plano nuevo y mas positivo. El libro proporciona una serie de tests que permiten al lector reconocer sus rasgos y fortalezas caracteristicos.La leccion mas trascendente de La autentica felicidad estriba en que al identificar lo mejor de nosotros mismo y desarrollar esos aspectos, podemos mejorar sensiblemente nuestra vida y la de cuantos nos rodean.… (más)
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La nueva Psicologia Positiva revoluciona el concepto de felicidad y senala el camino para conseguirla.El doctor Martin Seligman, el investigador de la psique humana que hace una decada creo el concepto de "optimismo aprendido," presenta ahora una nueva y revolucionaria corriente cientifica, la Psicologia Positiva.En lugar de centrarse, como la psicologia tradicional, en el estudio y tratamiento de la enfermedad mental, la Psicologia Positiva dirige su atencion a las fortalezas humanas, a aquellos aspectos que nos permiten aprender, disfrutar, ser alegres, generosos, serenos, solidarios y optimistas
  Natt90 | Jan 16, 2023 |
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Nombre del autorRolTipo de autor¿Obra?Estado
Martin E. P. Seligmanautor principaltodas las edicionescalculado
Dossett, JohnNarradorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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TRANSCENDING
Escher got it right.
Men step down and yet rise up,
the hand is drawn by the hand it draws,
and a woman is poised
on her very own shoulders.

Without you and me this universe is simple,
run with the regularity of a prison.
Galaxies spin along stipulated ares,
stars collapse at the specified hour,
crow's u-turn south and monkeys rut on schedule.

But we, whom the cosmos shaped for a billion years
to fit this place, we know it failed.
For we can reshape,
reach an arm through the bars
and, Escher-like, pull ourselves out.

And while whales feeding on mackerel
are confined forever in the sea,
we climb the waves,
look down from clouds.

—From Look Down from Clouds (Marvin Levine, 1997)
Citas
Información procedente del conocimiento común inglés. Edita para encontrar en tu idioma.
Suppose you could be hooked up to a hypothetical “experience machine” that, for the rest of your life, would stimulate your brain and give you any positive feelings you desire. Most people to whom I offer this imaginary choice refuse the machine. It is not just positive feelings we want, we want to be entitled to our positive feelings. Yet we have invented myriad shortcuts to feeling good; drugs, chocolate, loveless sex, shopping, masturbation, and television are all examples. (I am not, however, going to suggest that you should drop these shortcuts altogether.)

The belief that we can rely on shortcuts to happiness, joy, rapture, comfort, and ecstasy, rather than be entitled to these feelings by the exercise of personal strengths and virtues, leads to legions of people who in the middle of great wealth are starving spiritually, Positive emotion alienated from the exercise of character leads to emptiness, to inauthenticity, to depression, and, as we age, to the gnawing realization that we are fidgeting until we die.
I needed to come up with my central theme in short order and begin gathering sympathetic people to carry it out. The closest I could come to a theme was “prevention.” Most psychologists, working in the disease model, have concentrated on therapy, helping people who present themselves for treatment once their problems have become unbearable. The science supported by NIMH [National Institute of Mental Health] emphasizes rigorous “efficacy” studies of different drugs and different forms of psychotherapy in hope of marrying “treatments of choice” to each specific disorder. It is my view that therapy is usually too late, and that by acting when the individual was still doing well, preventive interventions would save an ocean of tears. This is the main lesson of the last century of public health measures: Cure is uncertain, but prevention is massively effective—witness how getting midwives to wash their hands ended childbed fever, and how immunizations ended polio.

Can there be psychological interventions in youth that will prevent depression, schizophrenia, and substance abuse in adults? My own research for the previous decade had been an investigation of this question. I found that teaching ten-year-old children the skills of optimistic thinking and action cuts their rate of depression in half when they go through puberty (my previous book, The Optimistic Child, detailed these findings). So I thought that the virtues of prevention and the importance of promoting science and practice around it might be my theme.

Six months later in Chicago, I assembled a prevention task force for a day of planning. Each of the twelve members, some of the most distinguished investigators in the field, presented ideas about where the frontiers of prevention lay for mental illness. Unfortunately, I was bored stiff. The problem was not the serious ness of the issue, or the value of the solutions, but how dull the science sounded. It was just the disease model warmed over and done up proactively, taking the treatments that worked and enacting them earlier for young people at risk. It all sounded reasonable, but I had two reservations that made it hard to listen with more than half an ear.

First, I believe that what we know about treating disordered brains and minds tells us little about how to prevent those disorders in the first place. What progress there is been in the prevention of mental illness comes from recognizing and nurturing a set of strengths, competencies, and virtues in young people—such as future-minded personal skills, courage, the capacity for flow, faith, and work ethic. The exercise of these strengths then buffers against the tribulations that put people at risk for mental illness. Depression can be prevented in a young person at genetic risk by nurturing her skills of optimism and hope. An inner-city young man, at risk for substance abuse because of all the drug traffic in his neighborhood, is much less vulnerable if he is future-minded, gets flow out of sports, and has a powerful work ethic. But building these strengths as a buffer is alien to the disease model, which is only about remedying deficits.

Second, beyond the likelihood that injecting kids at risk for schizophrenia or depression with Haldol or Prozac will not work, such a scientific program would attract only yeomen. A renovated science of prevention needs the young, bright and original scientists who historically have made the real progress in any field.
HAPPY BUT DUMB?

In spite of evidence like this, it is tempting to view happy people as airheads. Blonde jokes are consoling to cannier but less popular brunettes, and as a high school wonk (“know” spelled backward), I found some solace as many of my cheery good-old-boy classmates never seemed to get anywhere in real life. The happy-but-dumb view has very respectable provenance. C. S. Peirce, the founder of pragmatism, wrote in 1878 that the function of thought is to allay doubt: We do not think, we are barely conscious, until something goes wrong. When presented with no obstacles, we simply glide along the highway of life, and only when there is a pebble in the shoe is conscious analysis triggered.

Exactly one hundred years later, Lauren Alloy and Lyn Abramson (who were then brilliant and iconoclastic graduate students of mine) confirmed Peirce’s idea experimentally. They gave undergraduate students differing degrees of control over turning on a green light. Some had perfect control over the light: It went on every time they pressed a button, and it never went on if they didn’t press. For other students, however, the light went on regardless of whether they pressed the button. Afterward, each student was asked to judge how much control he or she had. Depressed students were very accurate, both when they had control and when they did not. The nondepressed people astonished us. They were accurate when they had control, but even when they were helpless they still judged that they had about 35 percent control. The depressed people were sadder but wiser, in short, than the nondepressed people.

More supporting evidence for depressive realism soon followed. Depressed people are accurate judges of how much skill they have, whereas happy people think they are much more skillful than others judge them to be. Eighty percent of American men think they are in the top half of social skills; the majority of workers rate their job performance as above average; and the majority of motorists (even those who have been involved in accidents) rate their driving as safer than average.

Happy people remember more good events than actually happened, and they forget more of the bad events. Depressed people, in contrast, are accurate about both. Happy people are lopsided in their beliefs about success and failure: If it was a success, they did it, it’s going to last, and they’re good at everything; if it was a failure, you did it to them, it’s going away quickly, and it was just this one little thing. Depressed people, in contrast, are evenhanded in assessing success and failure.
There is an exciting possibility with rich implications that integrates all these findings: A positive mood jolts us into an entirely different way of thinking from a negative mood. I have noticed over thirty years of psychology department faculty meetings—conducted in a cheerless, gray, and windowless room full of unrepentant grouches—that the ambient mood is on the chilly side of zero. This seems to make us critics of a high order. When we gather to debate which one of several superb job candidates we should hire as a professor, we often end up hiring no one, instead picking out everything that each candidate has done wrong. Over thirty years, we have voted down many young people who later grew up to become excellent, pioneering psychologists, a virtual who’s who of world psychology.

So a chilly, negative mood activates a battle-stations mode of thinking: the order of the day is to focus on what is wrong and then eliminate it. A positive mood, in contrast, buoys people into a way of thinking that is creative, tolerant, constructive, generous, undefensive and lateral. This way of thinking aims to detect not what is wrong, but what is right. It does not go out of its way to detect sins of omission, but hones in on the virtues of commission. It probably even occurs in a different part of the brain and has a different neurochemistry from thinking under negative mood.

Choose your venue and design your mood to fit the task at hand. Here are examples of tasks that usually require critical thinking: taking the graduate record exams, doing income tax, deciding whom to fire, dealing with repeated romantic rejections, preparing for an audit, copyediting, making crucial decisions in competitive sports, and figuring out where to go to college. Carry these out on rainy days, in straight-backed chairs, and in silent, institutionally painted rooms. Being uptight, sad, or out of sorts will not impede you; it may even make your decisions more acute.

In contrast, any number of life tasks call for creative, generous, and tolerant thinking: planning a sales campaign, finding ways to increase the amount of love in your life, pondering a new career field, deciding whether to marry someone, thinking about hobbies and noncompetitive sports, and creative writing. Carry these out in a setting that will buoy your mood (for example, in a comfortable chair, with suitable music, sun, and fresh air). If possible, surround yourself with people you trust to be unselfish and of good will.
A corollary of the enmeshment with others that happy people have is their altruism. Before I saw the data, I thought that unhappy people—identifying with the suffering that they know so well—would be more altruistic. So I was taken aback when the findings on mood and helping others without exception revealed that happy people were more likely to demonstrate that trait. In the laboratory, children and adults who are made happy display more empathy and are willing to donate more money to others in need. When we are happy, we are less self-focused, we like others more, and we want to share our good fortune even with strangers. When we are down, though, we become distrustful, turn inward, and focus defensively on our own needs. Looking out for number one is more characteristic of sadness than of well-being.
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La nueva Psicologia Positiva revoluciona el concepto de felicidad y senala el camino para conseguirla.El doctor Martin Seligman, el investigador de la psique humana que hace una decada creo el concepto de "optimismo aprendido," presenta ahora una nueva y revolucionaria corriente cientifica, la Psicologia Positiva.En lugar de centrarse, como la psicologia tradicional, en el estudio y tratamiento de la enfermedad mental, la Psicologia Positiva dirige su atencion a las fortalezas humanas, a aquellos aspectos que nos permiten aprender, disfrutar, ser alegres, generosos, serenos, solidarios y optimistas.Basandose en innovadoras investigaciones, Seligman sostiene que la autentica felicidad no solo es posible, sino que -lejos de depender de la suerte y de los genes- puede cultivarse identificando y utilizando muchas de las fortalezas y rasgos que ya se poseen. Aplicando estas "fortalezas personales" en los ambitos cruciales de la vida, los lectores no solo desarrollaran protecciones naturales contra el infortunio, la depresion y las emociones negativas, sino que situaran sus vidas en un plano nuevo y mas positivo. El libro proporciona una serie de tests que permiten al lector reconocer sus rasgos y fortalezas caracteristicos.La leccion mas trascendente de La autentica felicidad estriba en que al identificar lo mejor de nosotros mismo y desarrollar esos aspectos, podemos mejorar sensiblemente nuestra vida y la de cuantos nos rodean.

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