As a student in Kripalu’s Certificate in Positive Psychology program, I learned about something called self-perception theory. Developed by social psychologist Daryl Bem, the theory states that we form beliefs about ourselves by watching our behaviors, just as we form beliefs about others by watching theirs. We may therefore think of ourselves as confident after [...]
by Dani Shapiro As I write this, I’m somewhere between L.A. and New York, sitting next to my sleeping husband. It’s the first time ever that we’ve taken a flight together, without our son. We’ve each taken countless flights solo, and we’ve flown together as a family (the crazy thinking being that if we go down, [...]
When my husband and I moved into this apartment, our backyard was a strip of dirt that lay between our stairs and the garage. Construction debris was scattered throughout, and a rusty stove sat at one end. Once the junk was cleared away, I saw that this dirt was also home to a beleaguered rose [...]
Toni Bergins, MEd, founder and director of JourneyDance™, has helped thousands of people find a new sense of self-esteem, inner wisdom, emotional health, spiritual practice, and well-being. She leads an international team of hundreds of JourneyDance Teachers, spreading joy and passion for life. www.journeydance.com Q Describe what you do in 15 words or less. A [...]
In this edition of Ask the Expert, Coby Kozlowski, a life coach, expressive-arts therapist, and faculty member at Kripalu, answers questions about trusting your instincts, making big decisions, and finding the right life coach for you. I’m feeling stuck in my job. Any tips on how to figure out if this is a good time [...]
It’s not the thoughts that are the problem. It’s what we do with them.
A recent New York Times op-ed took issue with positive thinking. “What if we’re trying too hard to think positive?” asks Oliver Burkeman. According to research, he writes, visualizing a successful outcome, under certain conditions, can make people less likely to achieve it. “Or take affirmations,” he writes, “those cheery slogans intended to lift the user’s mood by repeating them: I am a lovable person! My life is filled with joy! Psychologists at the University of Waterloo concluded that such statements make people with low self-esteem feel worse—not least because telling yourself you’re lovable is liable to provoke the grouchy internal counterargument that, really, you’re not.”
But is this really true? According to the principles of Positive Psychology, focusing on growing happiness, love, success, and strengths through positive thinking is far more effective than trying to overcome anxiety, neuroses, and weakness alone. At the same time, overcoming anxiety and finding happiness needn’t mean denying less desirable emotions, such as fear, anxiety, or sadness. “Negative emotions are fact of life,” says Susan B. Lord, MD, who leads many Kripalu Healthy Living programs. “Instead of thinking about how we can live without them, we should be thinking about how to deal with them.” That is, it’s not negative thinking that‘s the problem—it’s how we choose to react to it. “Sadness is part of life, grief is a part of life, but depression means your sadness has gotten stuck,” she says. “The idea is to be mindful of the kinds of thoughts we have. Some are positive and some are negative. Our lives involve both.”