Tag Archives: Positive psychology

Russell on thinking and societal changes…



The great majority of men and women, in ordinary times, pass through life without ever contemplating or criticising, as a whole, either their own conditions or those of the world at large.  They find themselves born into a certain place in society, and they accept what each day brings forth, without any effort of thought beyond what the immediate present requires…they seek the satisfaction of the needs of the moment, without much forethought, and without considering that by sufficient effort the whole condition of their lives could be changed…It is only a few rare and exceptional men who have that kind of love toward mankind at large that makes them unable to endure patiently the general mass of evil and suffering, regardless of any relation it may have to their own lives. These few, driven by sympathetic pain, will seek, first in thought and then in action, for some way of escape, some new system of society by which life may become richer, more full of joy and less full of preventable evils than it is at present (p. viii).  

Bertrand Russell

Let Creativity Flow



It has been a while and I apologize for the length of time since my last post. And honestly, as much as I am sorry for those who come by and read what I have to say, I also have to acknowledge how much I personally have missed the time I just sit here and write from the heart, not necessarily having a final destination in mind, just letting the words write themselves.

This is a topic I’ve touched upon and for those of you who write or express yourself creatively through any medium such as art or music, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Also, for those of you who have any background in mental health, you also know what I’m talking about. To me, this occurrence actually bridges both and joins them into a total package. What I mean is that when a person writes free-style this way, it is as if they are having a conversation with a part of themselves that needed to be heard, but that may never have said anything had it not been given the opportunity in this way.

It is rather funny, but if people who are involved in other walks of life – other than writers or psychologists and therapists may consider whether or not I require some type of treatment myself. The wording sounds almost out-of-body in nature and there are a lot of people who may view that as ‘way out there,’ and rightfully so. But to those of us who have experienced it, there is nothing unusual about it. It is something I have grown used to calling a ‘free-style frame of mind’ and it is absolutely an altered state of mind from that in which we live and process information most of the time.



It most likely won’t surprise you to learn that once again, research lends a huge helping hand. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmahalyi, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management and Founding Co-Director, at Quality of Life Research Center. has studied this state — which he calls creative flow — and determined a high correlation to outstanding creativity.

I feel validated! There is a lot of technical information involved, but basically, a specific type of brain wave is involved in the type of activity the brain goes through, in order to perform creatively.

So, let those Theta Waves fly, my friends and let the creativity begin!

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

She Yelled and Called Me Names


A look at the power of empathy and compassion. . .

The Voices In My Head


To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn’t know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.

Eleanor Longden overcame her diagnosis of schizophrenia to earn a master’s in psychology and demonstrate that the voices in her head were “a sane reaction to insane circumstances.


Love As A State Of Being And Healing

Love As A State Of Being And Healing

The philosophy of Dharma is a beautiful one; one that describes a grasp of Love for all beings, in whatever form they take in the world. That Love is not conditional, that it does not come with guarantees and that promise to pay is not a part of the Great Love. But Love can become a parody, as well. For instance, I Love Stephen and allways will, but I do not Love every one, but nor do I hate, nor would I wish upon anyone any harm or ill well, nor would I deny someone a hand should they ask. The reason being for that philosophy is that most people are not willing/able to accept Love, and it would be a kind of idiot compassion to project Great Love to someone who would reject or become scared by it, as you can place yourself in a vicious circle of victim consciousness (see videos below). To other people, I can become an instrument to be used and then discarded (as they view all other people).  It is possible to live amicably in the world without loving on all planes of consciousness in the world. It is possible to be kind without loving all of humanity. I do not love all of humanity, yet I do not hate them, because not all humans can accept Love or feel that they are deserving of Love. Would that humanity were different, that we could all be as Powder speaks, and yet, we (as a whole) are not. At least, not at this time.

San Francisco Sessions 2001 *Would I speak to someone who hated me, who wanted to harm me? No, that would be idiot compassion. Would I help someone who was only manipulating me? No, that would be idiot compassion. These are lessons that I have learnt. I do not hate humanity either. I used to. I used to be very misanthropic and self-deprecating, but I have let that go. There is no one to blame, in order to do so; I would have to blame us all. There is no great monster upon whose shoulders stones can be cast….so, hatred is not necessary. But neither can every one alive be trusted or Loved fully. Does that mean it is not possible to live fully in the world, no I do not think so. I think were I to make believe that everyone loves everyone totally and completely and unconditionally or that Love can be on all planes of consciousness/existence would make it so that I could not live fully in the world. Love to me, is like a deep friendship, a bond that cannot be broken save by those in the friendship. On this matter, I agree with Alan Watts and the others. I just do not punish those whom I do not love, because I do not think punishment is a very good learning tool. But I do think to love all of humanity in its current state is a parody of love.

It is possible to engage and to achieve Dharma without that kind of depth of Love for all of humankind, because understanding, honoring, and accepting are a great part of living fully. It is possible to be kind without it being known to the party receiving that kindness, it is possible to be kind without love. Kindness comes from understanding/ comprehension/perception as well

freedLiberation will come, but will it come from Love? I do not know. Liberation arises out of kindness, empathy, sympathy, compassion, understanding, comprehension, acceptance, help, generosity, example, sharing, caring, etc. as well as a Love (on a higher plane of consciousness). This is what I have learnt, what I see in the world. I hope humans one day in some time will be All Love. I hope I am around in some form to witness. In the meantime, I ride the wave and see what I can see, and explore, and embark upon adventures, and find pleasure in finding these things out…following scents on the wind.

Yes, I am speaking of Love in its profound sense, rather than its sentimental/emotional sense. Love can be expressed emotionally, yes, but I do not see it as an emotion. I see Love as a state of being, same as many of the states of being usually attributed to “mere” emotion. I see emotions as much more complex than feeling sad or angry (the idea that sadness is expressed with tears or that anger is expressed with loud voices). Emotions are far more subtle, and are included in the state of being known as Love. I think it is why sometimes when we are happy we may cry, or we can be extremely calm and quiet when we are angry, or we can be even more kind when we hate. Emotions are not so black and white. So, I speak of Love from the state of being (the profound sense). In this way, although it is a parody of Love to speak to all people we encounter with Love (i.e., would you tell the person you just met in the café and had a wonderful conversation that you love them? Yet you may do this to the person with whom you are most intimate, your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/significant other, yes? You would not hesitate to spontaneously say to that person “I Love you” should they do something that you find yourself suddenly filled with the compulsion to say so? But you would not do this with the “stranger” seated next to you, even though they may do something as profound? This is what I mean in the difference between love as a parody and Love on a different plane). So, it is possible to have the heart open all the time (or as much as possible) to have Love, and yet, not project in this realm, where it is parodied.

the golden dream*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“freed” by new 1lluminati
“San Francisco Sessions 2001 *” by Wolfgang Sterneck
“the golden dream” by AlicePopkorn


Yes We Can !!!!


Positive Thinking

I’m going to throw down the gauntlet today. I’m not sure why I’m in this frame of mind, but I want to challenge myself and my followers to take the time and do something they most likely don’t usually do for themselves.

I would like us all to think about something we REALLY want to see happen in our lives and to acknowledge that this something is within our reach if we just keep on doing the next right thing. It is just around the corner. It is right over the next hill. It is there, for the taking, because we have done many right things in our lives and are very much worth manifesting this in our lives so it is there for us.

When I first started out in the work force, like so many others, I bounced around from job to job; either just trying different things or taking on jobs just to keep myself busy and earn some money. One of those jobs was sales oriented (which I now believe is absolutely NOT my cup of tea.)

But, I learned an awful lot of things I find myself coming back to during the short time I worked in the field. Most likely, much of my initial exposure to some of the true powers of the human mind can be traced back to the experiences I encountered at that time.

I remember reading a lot of what was then referred to as Positive Thinking literature; things by people like Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, and Zig Ziglar.

And they all sounded the same message – as human beings, we all possessed so much potential we never tapped into – within reason, there was nothing we couldn’t do if we set our minds to it. These men also wrote about and discussed many of the qualities and traits of the most successful people; people who had visions of what they truly wanted to accomplish in their lives and had been successful.

Since those days, there have been many others who have followed in their tracks, following keys of success and principles that are common in those people who manifest greatness in their lives, literally obliterating obstacles that are presented to them and achieving nothing less than what they set out to achieve.

The list of those people could go on and on – growing day by day. And it stands to reason, because we are all living in the computer age in which we have so much proof of the type of advances we are making in leaps and bounds with technology. All we have to do, is focus on the fact that it us HUMAN BEINGS that harness the knowledge and ability to make these achievements. MAN makes computers, not the other way around.

Positive Images

Positive Images

We have evolved this far because we have persevered and stayed true to the goals of making these types of advances in our lives. If technology can achieve SO much to advance the quality of our lives, just imagine what the director of that technology is capable of doing! WE are the directors of that technology!

So, focus in on just one thing that really means something to you, today….NOW. And see what you are able to accomplish when you TRULY set your amazing mind to it!


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Put Positive Psychology to the Test


Positive Psychology

Perhaps one of the strongest motivations for the development of the recent branch of psychology known as Positive Psychology is the desire to move away from viewing the purpose of care as the treatment of mental illness. Professionals see things that are wrong with patients and they go to work to try and correct or fix the problems.

If the names Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers sound familiar to you, somewhere, you were exposed to another branch of psychology from the 20th century known as humanistic psychology, focusing heavily on happiness and fulfillment. Fast forward about 30 years and in 1998 tens of millions of dollars in research was invested in the formation and development of Positive Psychology with the names of Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi carrying the banner this time.

Positive psychology is grounded in the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. This foundation views people wanting to cultivate what is best within them, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

The three central threads of positive psychology weave together positive emotions, positive individual traits and positive institutions. When we develop and maintain these positive emotions, traits and institutions we enhance the experiences in our lives and create the meaningful and fulfilling lives we are intended to live.

Possessing positive emotions means we are pleased with and have come to terms with our past, we experience contentment and happiness with where we are in our present; and we have a sense of positive anticipation and hope for the future.

Positive traits involve an individual’s strengths and virtues. Wisdom, self-control, moderation, self-knowledge, integrity, curiosity, creativity, resilience, compassion, courage, and a person’s capacity for love and work are all examples of such virtues and strengths.

Strengths that foster tolerance and justice, promote responsibility and civility, encourage nurturing and parenting, help develop positive work ethics, leadership and, teamwork, and define purpose all help a person develop and maintain positive institutions.

It is said the average person has upwards of 60,000 thoughts daily. For most of us, many of these thoughts are repetitive – things we tell ourselves over and over again. If we can learn to pull our attention away from the chronic negativity and focus on more positive self-nurturing, this can have amazingly positive advantages to our overall well-being. It is to this end that positive psychology commits continued research and development.

Positive Psychology Test-Drive

Feelings don’t last forever, whether they are wonderful or miserable. A quick, painless way to perform your own experiment about the effectiveness of positive psychology is to develop a sense of “mindfulness” about anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Mindfulness is a zeroing in on the present, pulling and pushing thoughts of the past and the future aside and focusing intently on the exact moment.


As soon as the negative inner chatter starts it is time to be mindful and turn the situation into an opportunity to know you better. Strongly ask yourself the question “How long is this going to last?”

You will be instantly transported from the stressful thoughts and emotions that piggyback on each other to make it much worse and cause the negative event to last much longer. By stepping away from connections to your past experiences and concerns about the future outcome you have placed yourself directly into the present, into the moment. You have taken the focus off the negative and directed your attention onto something you have the ability to determine right here and now.

Please let me know how this turns out for you. Comment below or drop me a quick comment at colormywords@hotmail.com and tell me about your first experience with positive psychology.


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

How to do small things for others: Inspiration


Two posts have tried to give inspiration on what you can do for others. The following post, focus on what people actually have done. Hope this will make you smile:)

Posted: Thu 09/20/2012 01:44 PM | By: Sarah Protzman Howlett
Photo: Damon Carson, Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post
Photo: Damon Carson, Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post

Damon Carson is a self-described tightwad. The tattered desk chair in his Denver office was pulled from a Dumpster—a decade ago. He drives a used ’99 Chevy Silverado and wears thrift-store clothes. For several years, Carson ran a garbage company in the ritzy Colorado ski towns of Vail and Breckenridge, which regularly brought him to a local landfill. There he often saw brand-new windows and cabinets amid the rubble, and sometimes rescued these items from the pile. “It was heartbreaking to see perfectly good things about to be buried,” he says.

In 2010, eight years after Carson sold his trash company, an artist friend in the billboard industry mentioned that the massive ads, removed from their boards, watermade great drop cloths for painting. The wheels in Carson’s head began to turn. He found a few billboards for sale, and put out feelers to friends in the agriculture and construction industries to see if they had any use for them. Thanks to his intervention, the billboards were reborn as tarps to cover hay and building materials. “We quickly ran out,” says Carson, who was so encouraged that he started reaching out to more industries—from bowling pin manufacturers to poultry farmers—to inquire about purchasing hard-to-recycle items.

Soon he’d founded Repurposed Materials, a company that turns would-be trash into valuable commodities. Torn-down billboards become pond liners, projection screens, even makeshift Slip ‘N Slides. Synthetic turf from football fields is refashioned into cushioning for egg-laying chickens. And when one customer intuited that street-sweepers’ brushes, stood on end, could be back scratchers for livestock, Carson sold two to the Bronx Zoo for its rhinoceros pen. “We’re helping industries pool their knowledge,” he says. “And our customers spend far less than they would buying similar products new.”

Carson now spends his days devouring trade magazines and visiting businesses to examine what they’re throwing away. “This is my second foray into the waste stream of America,” he says with a laugh. “Round one, I was burying things in the landfill. Round two, I’m trying to keep them out.”

Sevenly is the brainchild of two young entrepreneurs, Dale Partridge and Aaron Chavez, who wanted to find a way of battling apathy in the face of widespread suffering. Sevenly’s Ryan Wood told me, “Sevenly was developed around the belief that people matter. We figured that if we could just start getting people to give, then we could get them to care.” So every week, they choose a cause they’d like to support, from battling poverty among Thai children to helping people suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts. They assess the appropriate charities, find one they think is most effective, and then work with their team of designers to create the t-shirts. Each time someone buys a shirt, $7 (Get it? Sevenly?) goes to the charity of the week.

It’s a clever concept, and one that’s proving to be effective: check out the page of past campaigns and the amounts they’ve helped to raise. What an appealing way to do your good deed today, am I right?
After the birth of my first daughter, my best friend surprised me one evening by offering to do the midnight watch. She handled all the diaper changes and feedings, allowing me and my husband to get a full night’s rest.
Kathrynn Schmidt
Redford, Michigan

I enjoy raking leaves, but last year I did not have the time or the energy to do it, and my neighbors knew how frustrated I was. One night I came home from work to find that they had raked all the leaves in my yard.
Charlotte Link
The Dalles, Oregon

helpWhen I was in college, my nine-year-old brother gave me a $5 bill for emergencies.
Alma Reyes
Valencia, Californiaape

Read more:


Recently, Don Hill was on driving home through the North Georgia Mountains above the small former gold rush town of Dahlonega, Georgia when on a grassy island in the middle of a hectic and dangerous intersection he saw a German Shepherd pacing back and forth. Obviously frightened to death, the dog was emaciated and holding up an injured hind leg.

“My heart was pounding in my chest,” Don said. “I was so scared it was going to run out in to the very heavy traffic before I could do anything and I was going to see it die right there in front of me.”


Don crossed two four lane highways to reach the dog and then slowly, over the course of 20 minutes of Don calmly coaxing the dog while crouched down on the ground, the dog summoned the courage to sniff Don. Just at the moment when Don was about to slip a leash around his neck, someone sounded their horn and the dog flew into traffic. Without hesitation, Don dove across the lanes too and grabbed the dog and carried it back to safety on the shoulder.  A state trooper who witnessed the incident said, “said, “Mr. Hill, that was either the dumbest or the bravest thing I have ever seen.”


Don credits his guardian angel for leading him to the dog that day and for keeping them both safe during that dangerous rescue.


Positive psychology in the Philippines


Positive Education in the Philippines

By  on May 30, 2013 – 7:39 am  No Comment

Sha-En Yeo, MAPP 2011, is the founder of Positive Education. An educator with 10 years of experience, Sha-En is passionate about education, parenting, and facilitating the creation of flourishing school communities. Through workshops such as the one described in her MAPP capstone, she hopes to empower and inspire schools to begin a process of positive transformation, one individual at a time. Full bio pending. Sha-En’s articles are here. See also Amanda Horne’s article about Sha-En’s positive education work.

Editor’s Note: This article accompanies Sulynn’s description of the National Convention on Positive Psychology, which occurred April 25-26, 2013 in Naga City in the Philippines.

“How can positive education play a role for special needs children?” After I finished my keynote at the National Convention of Positive Psychology, this was one of many questions that enthusiastic educators from around the Philippines asked.


NCPP Programs

NCPP Programs

Zest for learning was apparent from the start. Armed with glistening eyes and notepads lovingly provided by Ateneo de Naga University (AdNU), they copied notes furiously as I brought them through a historical journey of positive education. As well as learning about Geelong Grammar School and the Penn Resilience Program, they also got to experience the 3 Blessings Exercise and to give each other a massage to get the blood flowing when we reached 3PM, the sleepy hour of the afternoon. 

When they learned how two schools in Singapore had begun taking beginning steps on the positive education journey, I saw more people whipping out cameras to take pictures of the slides. There was an audible buzz of conversation among themselves, almost as if ideas were exploding in their minds.

Mindful of the need to turn inspiration into action, I posed a challenge in the last slide: “What can you do to bring Positive Education to your school system?” They were then given heart-shaped post-its upon which to write down their intentions.


   Ideas building Up

Ideas building Up

“To focus on things that can help students and also appreciating their efforts, strengths, understand their weaknesses and make them SMILE.” 

“I will convince my school administrators to apply/incorporate Positive Education in my school, especially on Teachers training and visioning.”

“I can make a difference to one student at a time.”

“I will focus on the community’s youth and help and assist them to find their passions, make them aware of their strengths and find a life worth living for.”


Sha-En in action

Sha-En in action

Culture Matters 

As I read each one of the post-its on the wall, the message was loud and clear to me. Positive education appeals to the very core of Filipino educators because they are in their jobs to make a difference. While they might begin with the thought of one student in mind, their vision encompasses the whole school community.

Chatting with some of them afterward, I felt humbled by their motivation and quest to find out the latest in psychology to inform their practice.

I also learned more about the interaction between culture and well-being. Culture can be an obstacle if we allow it to be, influenced by practices that are decades old. It can also be a powerful enabler if people come together and leverage their strengths. Filipinos thrive on relationships and family. Given that strong relationships are a crucial pillar for a flourishing life, I believe this is the area where the seeds of positive education will show first signs of growth.


Faculty and Participants

Faculty and Participants

I am confident that the Filipino love affair with positive psychology is not one-off. As the conference drew to a close, I received numerous requests for my slides, endless questions about how to apply the ideas. People took a mind-boggling number of photographs. A month on, I am still receiving thank-you notes from the attendees, as well as emails sharing how they proposed to their school management to include elements of positive education in their systems. 

It is no wonder then, that a smile emerges on my face even as I write this. :)

Image Credits

Yeo, S.-E. (2011). Resilience, character strengths and flourishing: A positive education workshop for Singapore teachers. Capstone for the MAPP degree, University of Pennsylvania.
All images are used courtesy of Sulynn Choong.