Absolutely Positively Healthy!


New Zealand readers will recognise the origins of the heading for this post – a few years ago, Wellington used that phrase to promote visiting that wild and windy place (don’t worry Wellingtonians, I’ve lived there for a few years – and among the wild and windy days are those gloriously balmy sunny days that take your breath away!).

The theme for this week has been resilience, or taking a look at how people who are living ‘well’ with their pain manage to do so.  So a couple of links today to resources for those who would like to learn more about positive psychology.

The first is a 2008 paper by Martin Seligman (my hero!) who reviews the concept of healthiness, returning to the origins of the WHO definition of health ‘not merely the absence of disease’…

Health is a state of complete positive physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. (Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization, 1946)

He suggests in this paper called Positive Health that identifying and encouraging features of life that promote optimism and resilience will have direct benefits on health.  I couldn’t agree more.

As he points out in the introduction of this paper, psychology and psychiatry have been working on mental illness for a long time – and there have been some great advances in this field over the past century.  But the field of mental wellbeing is embryonic.  Hence the development of positive psychology sited at Pennsylvania University.

The Positive Psychology Center has a load of resources for therapists and researchers – well worth a tour.

One of the best resources for individuals who want to apply positive psychology to their own life is the Authentic Happiness site, which is associated with Positive Psychology Center.  Head there for plenty of applied concepts to enrich your life, and those of your patients.

New Zealand has its own Positive Psychology Association (NZAPP) – take a look at their website for some further resource links, and perhaps consider signing up for membership.

Take a quiz to see what you know about resilience here... There is a lot of information about stress and stress management also available on WebMD, so plan on spending some time there!

The final link today is from the APA Help Centre: this link can also be downloaded as a pdf, so you can use it as a handout.

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