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European Positive Psychology conference: 3rd day - prioritizing positivity, befriending, compassion genetics, & transcendence

I wrote yesterday about the "European Positive Psychology conference: better 2nd day - culture, use of strengths, loving-kindness, education & passion".  This third day was also full to bursting with intriguing presentations.  Barbara Fredrickson gave the 9.00am keynote on "Why prioritize positivity?". Barbara is a bit of a star of the positive psychology world, so having her on first looked a good way of encouraging conference attendees to arrive on time.  Sayyed Fatemi spoke on "Positive psychology and psychology of possibility".

Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (specific instructions)

See the two earlier blog posts - "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)" and "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (how-to-do-it)" for fuller details of these self-affirmation, self-transcendence approaches.

This "instructions" post is downloadable as a Word doc

Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (how to do it)

I wrote yesterday about "Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)".  Today's post looks more at how-to-do-it details.  Self-affirmation research describes a number of effective ways to reduce stress, clarify thinking, and boost effectiveness.  If the affirmation exercise is being done in response to a particular stress or threat, it's sensible to choose a subject to write (or speak) about that is of real personal importance but that is different from the area that's being threatened.  Happily several other writing research studies suggest additional ways of making this type of exercise even more helpful.  So a standard set of self-affirmation instructions might well involve asking participants to choose a particularly important personal value (for example, kindness,

Therapeutic writing & speaking: inspiration from values (background information)

Writing (or speaking) about our values or areas of our lives that are of particular personal importance can help us feel less threatened by stresses and more able to see situations clearly.  There are many research studies demonstrating this.  For example writing about personal values has been shown to reduce both subjectively experienced psychological stress and the body's adrenaline response to taking an academic exam (Sherman, Bunyan et al. 2009).  This easing in sense of threat tends to boost the exam results people achieve, especially for those who tend to get more stressed (Cohen, Garcia et al.

Recent research: six studies on mindfulness, values & meaning

Here are half a dozen recent research studies on mindfulness, values & meaning - fuller details, links and abstracts for all studies are listed further down this page.  Hofmann and colleagues' meta-analysis on "The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression" found encouraging effect sizes for mindfulness training and concluded "These results suggest that mindfulness-based therapy is a promising intervention for treating anxiety and mood problems in clinical populations".  Meanwhile Barnhofer & Chittka underlined the toxicity of ruminative brooding with their demonstration that the well-demonstrated link between neurotic temperament and depression is mediated by "Tendencies to respond to mild low mood with ruminative thinking".  They conclude that "The results suggest that neuroticism predisposes individuals to depression by generally increasing the likelihood of ruminative responses to low mood&quo

Recent research: six articles on wellbeing – meaning in life, reappraisal, positive emotions, and neighbourliness

Here are six research articles (see below for abstracts and links) loosely falling into the overall area of wellbeing.  Boyle, Barnes et al report on the association between purpose in life and mortality in older people.  They found that greater purpose in life was associated with considerably reduced mortality even when allowing for a series of possible confounders like depressive symptoms, disability, neuroticism, the number of chronic medical conditions, and income.  Also showing benefits for purpose and meaning, Maselko, Gilman, et al looked at religious involvement in the USA and and its associations with psychological health - specifically links between high, medium and low tertiles (dividing the study population into thirds) of spiritual well-being and religious service attendance and lifetime risk of depression. They found that "Religious service attendance was associated with 30% lower odds of depression. In addition, individuals in the top tertile of existential well-being had a 70% lower odds of depression compared to individuals in the bottom tertile. Contrary to our original hypotheses, however, higher levels of religious well-being were associated with 1.5 times higher odds of depression".

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