Tuesday, August 07, 2007

TO WRITE: "Positive Psychology" Interventions for Depression
In the last few years, the new field of "positive psychology" has been sweeping through college classrooms, huge research studies, popular books, and the cover of Time magazine. This innovative approach to the ways we think and feel is aimed at increasing happiness, whereas traditional psychology has decreased unhappiness.

Dr. Martin Seligman of the U. of Pennsylvania is a pioneer in positive psychology. His website --authentichappiness.org -- states that, "Positive psychology interventions... lastingly decrease depression symptoms." Now this is worth pursuing!

In one study, he found that people who rated "severely depressed" on a written test improved in one week to the mild-to-moderate level of symptoms. In fact, 94% of these people decreased in depression! So what did they do?

Play with this...
Each night for one week, write down three things that went well that day and why they went well. That's all.

If you want, take the depression symptoms questionnaire on the authentichappiness.org website before and after, and see what your own mini-experiment finds. (There are many other interesting questionnaires you can take there for free, including those measuring character strengths and routes to happiness.)

At he end of the week, I suggest you write for 10-20 minutes on how you feel now compared to before you began, and what you think of this "Three Blessings" exercise. Is it useful for you? Did you enjoy it, or was it a drag? Do you think you'll continue this practice?

NOTES: Do NOT use this technique to replace your current treatments! Don't throw away your medicines. This study, as I have read it, had not yet been done with controls, and there was NO diagnosis of major depression made -- they only studied "depression symptoms."

1 comment:

genevere said...

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