Saturday, January 17, 2015

PERMA - Fuey

DIY psychology warning

Positive Psychology has a lot to say about a positive emotion state, engagement in life, relationships, meaning, and achievement, acronym PERMA. It takes a positive emotional state as the starting point in the sequence leading to a satisfying life. That is their downfall, they start in the middle, not at the beginning. There is the Losada effect, how flourishing any relationship or situation is as defined by the ration of positive to negatives. When you are starting with a bunch of negatives, it is difficult to see the positives. There are those people which could change any positive into a negative, also to contend with. Some of us are dependent on some of these people; we call them clients or parents.

We need some positive character to take on those negative people we live and work with, to become positive. After a bit, we do not want to be around the negative people. As Harold said, they could suck all the energy out of us at 100 yards. Now what if all we can see is negatives? Now we need to stop seeing the negatives and start seeing the positives, or emphasis the positives, minimize the negatives. In a dangerous situation, we need to identify all the negatives, but to isolate them from us somehow. There is only a simple count in the Losada ratio, nothing about the size of the "charge", but the size should have an impact as well.

How does one generate a positive emotional state?  Positive Psychology does not tell us. Only Stoic philosophy provides the necessary and sufficient direction to achieve mental enjoyment. Epictetus Enchiridion is the place to start. Soon we learn to let go of negative desires, and even positive desires if they are the problem. We learn to separate ourselves from the world, and see the logic basis of all. We learn to understand the adequate impression, the beliefs, the knowledge, the automatic and primal processes separate from the rational processor facility. We see emotions as our automatic reaction to our beliefs, delusions, expectations, frustrations, and learn that we can modify our beliefs, our values, our thinking processes, and a hosts of other things to create a positive mind state, a positive emotional state. This is necessary and sufficient to control our character, and with meaning and engagement is enough to create achievement where fate permits. This is the key to mental joy and satisfaction, which results in a positive emotion. Positive Psychology falls on it's face in the difficult places without the previous understandings. It help successful people to be more so; the bereft and downtrodden are left out.

In the words of Psychology Today,  "Positive psychology is the study of happiness. Psychology traditionally focused on dysfunction: people with mental illness or other psychological problems and how to treat them. Positive psychology, in contrast, is a relatively new field that examines how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled." 

Psychology previously was limited to trying to help the people who could not get on with life, usually with limited success. Positive psychology has a much bigger client base, essentially healthy people. It reminds me of the old pharmacy executive who wanted to sell expensive drugs to healthy people to make money. Cholesterol medications were there answer to profits.   

Oh well, life goes on. 

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