Research

Happiness Is… Research Note #7

Positive psychology is not the same as positive thinking.

This ribbon text, which I made last year, appears to promote positive thinking, but I had more in mind.

Christine Wong Yap, think good thoughts / fortify good attitudes, 2011, ribbon, thread, pins, 30 × 40 × 1 in / 76 × 100 × 2.5 cm

Christine Wong Yap, think good thoughts / fortify good attitudes, 2011, ribbon, thread, pins, 30 × 40 × 1 in / 76 × 100 × 2.5 cm

In my readings, numerous positive psychologists explained that the unfocused mind’s natural state is chaos. When we don’t focus our attentions, our minds drift, and unhappy memories arise. Regrets, slights, and petty grievances beg to be reviewed. Engaging in rumination—unproductively mulling over negative events and emotions—can lead to anxiety and depression.

Rumination can be habitual, but people can learn to recognize and interrupt it.

I thought about this process of shifting one’s thought patterns away from chaotic, unfocused, and negative toward intentional and positive. Early steps—”thinking good thoughts” in place of bad ones—might seem forced, but with persistence, they can create a positive longterm habit, and “fortify good attitudes.”

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