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

Posts tagged ‘positive psychology’

Would you like to reignite the spark in your relationship?

In this 20 minute audio Dr. Deb will offer you ways to:

  • Bring more fun into your relationship on an everyday basis.
  • Learn easy questions you can ask to make your partner feel important.
  • Fine way to invite your partner to have sex without saying a word.

It’s all here and more. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click below to listen now:

Reviving Romance: 7 Steps to Bring More Fun and Affection Into Your Relationship

www.DeborahBarnett.com

The VIA survey of character strengths identifies 24 signature strengths. Most people have one or two top signature strengths. When these top strengths are identified and utilized, this can help a person experience greater confidence and a have a sense of purpose and meaning.

Courage is a virtue that can be cultivated by practicing the strengths of Integrity and Valour.

Integrity is the ability to tell the truth, or to appear in an authentic manner and to act in a sincere way. To cultivate Integrity:

  1. Speak the truth.
  2. Live your life authentically and in harmony with your values.
  3. Practice being transparent – that is to act and speak in a way that consistently represents who you are, no matter what circumstance you are in or with whom you keep company.
  4. Make a list of people you feel are genuine, think about the characteristics you most like and admire about them and emulate these characteristics.

Valour or Bravery is living without recoiling from difficulty or shirking fear.
To cultivate Valour/Bravery:

  1. Dare to speak your truth, what you truly believe in, even if it is not the popular, prevalent, opinion of others.
  2. Avoid engaging in procrastination, as procrastination often appears when we want to avoid an uncomfortable situation.
  3. Psychologically, Valour can be practiced by not emotionally collapsing when a friend or loved one is experiencing pain, but instead being able to be present, calm and supportive.
  4.  historic person to think of who practiced valour is Florence Nightingale, who tended wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. 

Feel free to contact me with questions about your strengths and ways to creatively use them.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counselling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for effectively and Positively navigating life’s challenges.
www.DeborahBarrnett.com

Feeling hopeless or helpless? That you don’t have any control over your life? You can begin to feel more in control by utilizing one or more of your specific character strengths. You can take the Values-In-Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths to identify your individual strengths, and then by utilizing one or more of your strengths, feel more empowered.

Among the character strengths included in the VIA Survey are Social Intelligence and Perspective. Social Intelligence can also be termed as emotional or personal intelligence. It is described as the ability to be aware of the motivations and emotions of others and knowing what to do to adapt to diverse social circumstances. Perspective could also be viewed as “Wisdom”. It is an ability to see different points of view.

Here are some ways to cultivate each of these strengths:

To cultivate Social Intelligence:

  • Try to meet a new person every day.
  • Talk to someone at a gathering you might never expect to talk to.
  • Get involved in more social events.
  • Reach out to people who appear to be alone.
  • When conversing with someone, ask questions to understand what makes them happy and why they enjoy their particular interests and passions.

To cultivate Perspective:

  • Study a great quote everyday from great thinkers, writers, and philosophers.
  • Try listening to the opinion of someone with whom you do not entirely agree and stretch yourself to understand why they might have the stance that they have.
  • Educate yourself about historic people – their values, beliefs and their stand on prominent issues.
  • Have a mentor, someone you deem as a wise person, as a role model you can learn from.

Feel free to contact me with questions about your strengths and ways to creatively use them.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counselling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for Effectively and Positively navigating life’s challenges.
www.DeborahBarrnett.com

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.
www.DeborahBarrnett.com

The Values-in-Action (VIA) is a classification system and measurement of strengths created by Christopher Peterson, Ph.D., Martin Seligman, Ph.D., Katherine Dahlsgaard, Ph.D., and other prominent psychologists. Through reading philosophical and religious texts from around the world, 6 core virtues: Wisdom and Knowledge, Courage, Love and Humanity, Justice, Temperance, Spirituality and Transcendence, were identified. These 6 core virtues having been taught or praised by almost all spiritual and philosophical traditions around the world and throughout time.  The reason these 6 virtues are highly regarded is that when practiced they form the foundation for good character in individuals.

Seligman and his colleagues realized that by identifying and utilizing one’s personal strengths, or character traits, one could develop and cultivate virtues.

In creating a classification of strengths, Seligman and his colleagues realized that once strengths are identified, they can then be consciously cultivated and developed.  A strength takes conscious effort to utilize in one’s daily actions. This differs from a talent, which is more innate.  When a strength is used when taking action, the result almost is always virtuous.

There are 24 signatures strengths.  By taking the Values-In-Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths, your strengths will be ranked, so that you can identify your top character strengths.

The benefits of utilizing character strengths include:

  • By taking action that utilizes one of your character strengths you will likely experience an increase in positive emotion
  • You will feel a sense of excitement when using your strength
  • You will feel fulfilled and energized by using your strength
  • The more conscious you are in using your strengths, the more and more ways you will come up with ways to cultivate your tops strengths

Feel free to contact me with questions about your strengths and ways to creatively use them. In later posts, I look forward to exploring each of the strengths and suggesting some ways that you can incorporate them into life.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counseling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for Positive Results
www.DeborahBarrnett.com

Breakthough!

As a Positive Psychologist and Coach I am very interested to see how this special will unfold. Tony Robbins is one of those guys for whom the answer, “Fine.” To the question “How are you?” is not good enough. He helps people achieve massive amounts of success. He is not interested in people getting better, but in having them thrive! This is what I addressed in my last post Is Getting Rid of Depression or Anxiety Enough? Positive Psychology helps people move beyond feeling “not so good” or even “good,” to experiencing what it is like to feel “great!”

Check out the Tony Robbins Breakthrough special and let me know what you think.

If you want to move from feeling “Not So Good” to “Great” I can give you some techniques to help. http://www.deborahbarnett.com/

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,
Deborah
http://www.deborahbarnett.com/

Dispute Your Thoughts to Decrease Depression and Anxiety

You don’t have to put up with those pessimistic thoughts that run around in your head and can lead to depression and anxiety. Instead, you can dispute those thoughts to build optimism. I have shared this technique with my Asheville counseling clients and they have found it helpful. Think of the last time you were accused by a partner, family or friend of always being late. What do you do? Right away you likely come up with examples of when you were on time, in order to defend yourself and dispute the accusation.

This is what will fight off that depression and anxiety – disputing your own unsupportive thoughts.

We will use the ABCDE model to dispute a pessimistic thought. Below is an example that a woman might have if her best friend didn’t call for a while. See how, by disputing her pessimistic thoughts, the woman ends up feeling better by the time she has energized her new perspective on the situation.

A (Adversity)
“My best friend hasn’t called me in 2 weeks.”

B (Belief)
“She must be angry at me.”

C (Consequence)
“I feel sad and confused. What did I do to upset her? Did I say something wrong? How could I be so stupid that I can’t even remember what it was and it really hurt her? Why can’t I get relationships right? I don’t want to go that party tomorrow, because our friends will be there and I know they will give me the cold shoulder.”

D (Dispute)
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh on myself? Maybe I said something and she just misunderstood what I meant? Maybe she is feeling alone and wishing I would call her? Maybe she is feeling really down and needs a good friend to support her right now? I think I will call her and see if she needs my help. She has said that I am good at cheering her up.

E (Energize)
The truth is we have a great friendship and I am a good friend most of the time. We have so much fun when we are together. Maybe I will call her and tell her a funny story. It is so much fun laughing with her. I think I’ll go call her right now.
This is one example of how to decrease pessimism and the resulting depression and anxiety that can follow.

For more suggestions on how to decrease pessimism, depression and anxiety, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to help you. http://www.deborahbarnett.com/

With practice you can become more flexible in your thinking

In their book The Resilience Factor, Karen Reivich, Ph.D. and Andrew Shatte, Ph.D. have a wonderful metaphor for examining the beliefs that go through your mind moment to moment. It is called the Ticker-Tape. Imagine the signs that display the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the current news ticker at the bottom of your television screen. Ticker-Tape beliefs are those that run through our mind on our internal “ticker-tape.” Often these beliefs are unconscious. They are very important, however, because they determine how you will likely respond emotionally, and what action you are likely to take, in reaction to an event that happens to you.

It is important, therefore, to be aware of the beliefs that go across your ticker-tape. If you are not, Reivich and Shatte suggest setting an alarm at intervals throughout the day, and then noticing what your thoughts and emotions are when the alarm goes off.

There two primary types of beliefs of which to be aware. These are beliefs asking “why” something happened, and “what-next” beliefs, which lead to concerns and assumptions about what is going to happen next.

Why Beliefs
If you find that you are asking “why” beliefs, you might notice, as Martin Seligman discovered, that “why” or causal beliefs fall into one of three categories:
Personal (me versus not me) in which we attribute an event as being our fault, versus possibly due to the influence of others. For example: “This always happens to me!” versus, “Maybe my team is having a bad day?”
Permanent (always versus not always) in which we explain that something always happens versus recognizing that it does not always happen. For example: “Every time I go on vacation it rains.” virus “There are times I have traveled and experienced good weather.”
Pervasive (everything versus not everything) For example: “This bad news that I have to work this Saturday. Is going to ruin my entire week.” versus “Working on Saturday will give me extra money so that I can take my family out to dinner.”

“What’s Next?”
If when examining your beliefs, if you find yourself worrying about the future and what happens next, this can lead to anxiety if you feel unprepared. If you are having huge negative “what’s next” beliefs, this can make your anxiety so strong that you have difficulty effectively solving problems.

The key to effective, healthy thinking and problem solving is to be flexible and have a balance of “why” and “what’s next” beliefs.

In my next post I will offer suggestions on how to be more flexible in your thinking by challenging your beliefs.

If you are interested in support on becoming more flexible in your thinking and skillful in your decision making, I would be happy to support you along the way! Contact me for an individual consultation.
Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
www.DeborahBarnett.com

I love this video that I have provided the link to, below. In many ways it is Positive Psychology applied to life! Positive Psychology is, on the personal level, about nurturing and building character strengths. When these strengths are well utilized, the ripple effect on the world around us is profound. There is one quote at the beginning by Ralph Marston, Jr. that applies to this concept: “What will you do today, that will matter tomorrow?” This reminds me of the Native American principle of thinking about what impact our actions will have on the next seven generations?
There is a wonderful quote about forgiveness, another concept that is well researched in Positive Psychology. “People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway!” The video also points out that it is not often easy to be kind and happy, but encourages us to do so anyway!
I hope that you enjoy it.
If you are interested in learning more about Positive Psychology and utilizing its well-researched principles to improve your life and the lives of others, I would be happy to support you along the way!
Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
www.DeborahBarnett.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3YAZqfNh2E