Subscribe to Dr. Deborah Barnett Subscribe to Dr. Deborah Barnett's comments

Posts tagged ‘happiness’

I have a fondness for the southeastern Asian country of Bhutan, as they promote and foster their Gross National Happiness instead of their gross national product. Therefore, I was excited recently when I learned that my Alma Mater, Naropa University, has formed a partnership with the Royal University of Bhutan.
The partnership formed in response to the Bhutanese leaders’ concern for their young people. Ever since 1999, when television and the Internet were introduced to Bhutan, the country has been flooded with consumerism in a way they have previously never experienced. Naropa is now working to help bring contemplative psychology practices to Bhutan at the Royal University of Bhutan and at many schools, in order to help school counselors learn these techniques.
I find it interesting that a country that has existed happily for a very long time, now that commercialism has arrived in full-force, is seeking mindfulness based practices to help reestablish balance for their people. It is a powerful reminder that, as positive psychology research shows, while the “stuff” and circumstances of our lives are convenient, our thoughts and our actions are the keys to bringing us happiness.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counseling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for creating positive, powerful results in your life.

Developing Curiosity and a Love of Learning and help to Increase Life Satisfaction

In a previous blog post I referenced the Positive Psychology VIA Inventory of Strengths. Cultivating your strengths can be a source of increased satisfaction in life and a buffer against depression and anxiety. If you have not taken the VIA I encourage you do to so.
Here are two of the strengths from the VIA and some suggestions on how they can be cultivated:

Curiosity and Interest in the World
1.    Watch young children at play for tips on how to increase curiosity. Children are immensely curious and engaged in life.
2.    Browse the stacks at the library or peruse a bookshelf at a friend’s home. Find a book that looks interesting to you. Browse through it, check it out, or ask to borrow it.
3.    Watch the news or read about current events and find an uplifting news story about something positive that has recently happened in the world.
4.    Call someone you know and ask them about something positive in their life that you are curious about.
5.    Take time to listen to someone with 100% of your attention.

Love of learning
1.    Take a class at a community college or at a local community center.
2.    Invite a friend to go to an evening lecture with you.
3.    Take up a new hobby.
4.    Ask someone you respect to share a gem of wisdom by which they live their life.
5.    Study a new language or musical instrument.

Please contact me about how you can develop your strengths and enhance your life.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counseling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for creating positive, powerful results in your life.

There are many reasons that people seek mental health counseling in Asheville, NC (or in any other city for that matter.) Many people seek depression treatment or anxiety treatment. Others seek counseling for stress management or counseling for agoraphobia. Yet is that enough?

Imagine a scale from -5 to +5. If, when people are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, etc. they are in the negative numbers, when they get rid of depression or get rid of anxiety, they move up the scale to “0”.

It is great to be depression free or free of anxiety, but is it enough to be at “O?” What about experiencing positive emotions that occur in as people move up toward “+5?” This is where Positive Psychology research and treatment focuses. Positive Psychology helps individuals to increase their well-being, quality of life and happiness.

One Positive Psychology technique is to savor enjoyable, positive experiences. This can be as simple as having a cup of tea, taking a shower, or enjoying an evening stroll. Savoring an experiencing by noticing everything that is delightful about an experience, prolongs enhances the pleasure of participating in that experience.

So enjoy, savor an experience or two today and notice how you feel. You may find that you creep up into those positive emotions more easily that you would have expected.

If you enjoy savoring, there are several other Positive Psychology techniques you may enjoy.
Feel free to contact me and I can help you with your specific needs.

Yours in well-being,

Positive Psychology Tips can help Overthinking and Judging

We have all heard the expression “don’t be judgmental.” Yet the reality is judging, overanalyzing and overthinking is very difficult not to do. The media prompts us to judge all the time “Try our product; we are better than those guys.” The news is constantly highlighting who did what that was “bad” – e.g. this guy stole money from his investors – and who is doing well “this 23 year old made millions by selling his new software idea.” When we hear these statements it is easy to think to ourselves, “I am doing better than that guy, or I wish I was more successful like him.”

Social comparison, comparing ourselves to others, in only a very few instances is beneficial. One case might be if you are inspired by seeing a lovely painting and you decide to begin painting so that you can develop your artistic ability.

However, most of the time comparing yourself to someone else and judging yourself as “less than” (e.g. she’s is more beautiful than me, or he makes more money than I make), may make you feel inferior. Judging yourself as “better off” than someone (e.g. he lost his job – thank goodness I haven’t) can leave you feeling fearful or guilty.

Positive Psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky conducted social comparison studies of happy and unhappy people. In the studies participants were placed side by side in a high pressure problem solving situation and the participants were made aware of how they were doing in relation to the other participant next to them. Interestingly enough, happy people felt more upbeat after the task, and felt good about themselves, regardless of whether or not the participant next to them had out-performed them. Unhappy people, on the other hand, were very conscious of their performance in comparison the participant next to them and reported feeling sad, frustrated and anxious if the participant next to them had outperformed them.

Dr. Lyubormirsky suggests in her book The How of Happiness, that social comparison is a part of the habit of overthinking. Dr. Lyubormirsky and her colleague Susan Nolen-Hoeksema suggest the following strategies for overthinking and comparing:

1. Cut Loose of overthinking:
          Distract yourself by doing an activity that will catch and hold your attention.
          Tell yourself, “stop!”
          Talk to a friend or write out whatever is bothering you.

2. Take action by taking small steps to complete a task that may be bothering you.

3. Avoid situations that may prompt over thinking.

4. Put things into perspective and see the “big picture.” Ask yourself, “Will this worry, situation, person, etc. be a problem a year from now?”

I hope that these tips to avoid social comparison and overthinking have been helpful for you.

For support in increasing your happiness and well-being in your personal and professional life, I am available for phone coaching sessions during which I can give you suggestions tailored to your specific situation and needs.

Here’s to your well-being and success!
Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.

Increase your well-being with Dr. Deb

Increase your well-being with Dr. Deb

Hello Welcome to my Blog!

In this blog I will share tips you can utilize to enhance your life and experience more joy and success.  Topics will include ways to increase happiness, ease stress and anxiety, decrease depression,  improve your relationship with your spouse or partner,  and interact more effectively with family, friends and coworkers.

I offer phone consulting and coaching to individuals and groups. For those who live in, or are visiting Western North Carolina, I offer in-person psychotherapy sessions in Asheville, North Carolina. With my degree in Transpersonal psychology and positive psychology orientation, I focus on assisting individuals in identifying their strenghts, thus allowing them to experience personal empowerment, greater optimism and increased well-being.

Please feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments section of this blog and I will be happy to answer them or point you toward resources that may be beneficial for you.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology in Asheville, NC
Phone Coaching for Personal Growth and Relationship Success