A Life Worth Living: Contributions to Positive Psychology

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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Isabella Selega Csikszentmihalyi
Oxford University Press, Apr 20, 2006 - Psychology - 264 pages
A Life Worth Living brings together the latest thought on Positive Psychology from an international cast of scholars. It includes historical, philosophical, and empirical reviews of what psychologists have found to matter for personal happiness and well-being. The contributions to this volume agree on priciples of optimal development that start from purely material and selfish concerns, but then lead to ever broader circles of responsibility embracing the goals of others and the well-being of the environment; on the importance of spirituality; on the development of strengths specific to the individual. Rather than material success, popularity, or power, the investigations reported in this volume suggest that personally constructed goals, intrinsic motivation, and a sense of autonomy are much more important. The chapters indicate that hardship and suffering do not necessarily make us unhappy, and they suggest therapeutical implications for improving the quality of life. Specific topics covered include the formation of optimal childhood values and habits as well as a new perspective on aging. This volume provides a powerful counterpoint to a mistakenly reductionist psychology. They show that subjective experience can be studied scientifically and measured accurately. They highlight the potentiality for autonomy and freedom that is among the most precious elements of the human condition. MOreover, they make a convincing case for the importance of subjective phenomena, which often affect happiness more than external, material conditions. After long decades during which psychologists seemed to have forgotten that misery is not the only option, the blossoming of Positive Psychology promises a better understanding of what a vigorous, meaningful life may consist of.

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Rubin claimed that Emotional Intlligence has lead to people having better social skills/ Examples include high school students that scored high on the MCER test were less likely to bully, drink excessively,


Historical and Theoretical Perspectives
Positive Experiences
Lifelong Positive Development
Author Index
Subject Index

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Page 20 - Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.
Page 98 - Testament taught this doctrine, and they believed it thoroughly because it corresponded with what they saw in their own lives and in the lives of those around them, both of sin and of the effects of Divine grace.
Page 33 - ... letting one's accomplishments speak for themselves; not seeking the spotlight; not regarding oneself as more special than one is • Prudence: being careful about one's choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted • Self-Regulation: regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one's appetites and emotions 6.
Page 117 - Goldman, SL, Kraemer, DT, & Salovey, P. (1996). Beliefs about mood moderate the relationship of stress to illness and symptom reporting.
Page 105 - The core capacity at work here is access to one's own feeling life — one's range of affects or emotions: the capacity instantly to effect discriminations among...
Page 117 - MA, & Mayer, JD (2003). Convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity of competing measures of emotional intelligence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1147-1158. Brackett, MA, Mayer, JD, & Warner, RM (2004). Emotional intelligence and its relation to everyday behavior.
Page 67 - Piedmont, spiritual transcendence is "the capacity of individuals to stand outside of their immediate sense of time and place and to view life from a larger, more objective perspective. This transcendent perspective is one in which a person sees a fundamental unity underlying the diverse strivings of nature
Page 64 - breath of life," is a way of being and experiencing that comes about through awareness of a transcendent dimension and that is characterized by certain identifiable values in regard to self, others, nature, life, and whatever one considers to be the Ultimate, (p.
Page 32 - Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; "getting it out the door"; taking pleasure in completing tasks...

About the author (2006)

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced "ME-high CHICK-sent-me-high-ee) is a professor and former chairman of the Department of English at the University of Chicago. His writings have focused on models of enjoyment and how various people access their creative potential. The idea of creative potential, which Csikszentmihalyi terms "flow" has become increasingly popular in the public sector. His 1993 book, Flow, inspired Jimmy Johnson then coach of the World Champion Dallas Cowboys, and was the subject of a feature story during that year's Super Bowl television broadcast. His ideas have also been touted by President Clinton, who called Csikszentmihalyi one of his favorite authors, Newt Gingrich, who put his work on the reading list for a political planning committee, and corporations and cultural institutions, such as Volvo in Sweden and the Chicago Park District. He has published articles in a variety of magazines, including Psychology Today, The New York Times, Omni, and Wired and has made appearances on television in the U.S. and Europe. Csikszentmihalyi currently serves on boards and commissions for the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, and the Social Science Research Council. He has held visiting professorships at universities in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Italy, and Finland. He received the1990 NRPA National Research (Roosevelt) Award, in addition to two Senior Fulbright Fellowships. Besides Flow, he has also written Beyond Boredom and Anxiety and Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, in which he applies his "flow" theory to various inventors, scientists, and artists to determine how and why they achieve "flow.

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