What is the Ancient Chinese Secret to Resilience and Happiness?

Extracted from What is the Ancient Chinese Secret to Resilience and Happiness?

by Paul T. P. Wong, Ph.D. C.Psych

Culture affects us in numerous and significant ways. It influences how we think (Nisbett, 2003), what we value (Hofstede, 1984; Leong & Wong, 2003), how we behave (Brislin, 1999) and how we cope (Wong & Wong, 2006). Culture shapes psychology, especially positive psychology, because it is value-laden.

Consistent with the current wave of cross-cultural psychology and international psychology (Emmons, 2006; Kim, Yang, & Hwang, 2006; Lehman, Chiu, & Schaller, 2004; Triandis, 1994), the next stage of development of positive psychology (PP) is to go global. The hedgemony of American psychology will hinder the discovery of universal principles and cultural specifics in positive psychology. Integration between Eastern and Western perspectives of PP would be a good start towards internalizing PP (Snyder & Lopez, 2007).

Cultural differences in positive psychology
The positive psychology as advocated by Martin Seligman and associates (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Snyder & Lopez, 2005) is the product of American culture with its ideology of liberal democracy, positive expectations and individualistic values; it is best for a time of peace and prosperity. Recently, researchers begin to pay some attention to cultural differences in the good life (King & Napa, 1998; Haidt, 2005).

There is increasing evidence that cultural values and cultural beliefs influence such matters as what constitutes the good life and optimal functioning (Haidt, 2005; Leong & Wong, 2003; Lopez, Edwards, Magyar-Moe, Pedrotti, & Ryder, 2003; Peterson & Seligman, 2004; Snyder & Lopez, 2007).

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Why Choosing Your Life Purpose Is So Darn Hard


Extracted from Rethinking Psychology

by Dr. Eric R. Maisel, Ph.D.

You must create your own life purposes if your life is to have purpose. The life purpose that we suggest that you adopt in natural psychology is the ongoing effort to make value-based meaning. But however you name and frame your life purposes, the onus remains on your shoulders to reject the idle question “What is the meaning of life?” and to personally answer the pertinent question, “How do I intend to live?” 

In natural psychology we accept that creating life purposes and making value-based meaning amount to difficult business. They require that we live very intentionally, that we deal mindfully with circumstances and with the facts of existence, that we exert ourselves in ways that human beings do not regularly like to exert themselves, and that we accept a certain view of life, a naturalistic one, which to my mind is beautiful but which strikes many people as too cold, sad, and insufficient. It is this last problem that often pulls the rug right out from under the enterprise of creating life purposes and making value-based meaning.

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Myths Come From Values, Not From Ignorance

Extracted from Cedars Digest

“…Similarly, the “we only use 10% of our brain” myth reflects a belief that we have untapped potential. This is surely true. Most of us at any given moment we have an awareness that our mind is not as focused as it could be. This might be because many of us get to occasionally experience those great moments that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow” when we are totally immersed in the task at hand. In all other times, we can observe our own mind wandering and feel the cognitive costs. We have also observed experts at work, doing things effortlessly which we could not even imagine. If we could only use 25% of our brain, that would be within our grasp! Like many brain myths, this doesn’t hold up to any scientific scrutiny. But the point is that most who endorse this myth in this see it as a neuroscientific translation of their belief in untapped cognitive potential. And they are right! We do have untapped potential. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how much you can hold in your long term memory. And it seems to stay there forever! But this is not because we only use 10% of our brain….”

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A Positive Global Vision of Healing and Flourishing through Meaning

The International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM) is pleased to announce the 7th Biennial International Meaning Conference to be held July 26-29, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. The main conference theme is: A Positive Global Vision of Healing and Flourishing through Meaning.

In today’s climate of global economic uncertainty, geopolitical conflicts, ecological crisis, and the widening gap between haves and have-nots, the meaning perspective offers a promising vision to resolve these challenging global issues and achieve sustainable growth for both individuals and society.

The conference will highlight the role of meaning in well-being, flourishing, character strengths, resilience, post-traumatic growth, spirituality, psychotherapy, healing, recovery, and positive organizations. It will emphasize both cutting edge research and the application of research findings to meaningful living.

We will host a number of summits involving the most creative minds and best known experts to explore new frontiers and find new solutions. We believe that the meaning-mindset offers an alternative global vision for developing healthy communities and living rewarding lives. The pre-conference professional workshops will cover the latest developments in counselling and psychotherapy.

The conference will place a premium on providing delegates with opportunities for interactions with participants from different theoretical camps and cultures. Through cross-fertilization, integration and networking, we hope that we can find new pathways to make life better for all.

In order to make this conference more accessible, we will offer the option of Virtual Attendance through online conferencing.

CEU credits will be available to psychologists and counsellors.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  1. Christopher Peterson, PhD – Meaning and Mattering: Perspectives from Positive Psychology
  2. Laura King, PhD – Noticing Meaning in Everyday Life:  Pleasure, Intuition, and Magic
  3. Robert Neimeyer, PhD – Mourning and Meaning:  The Narrative Arc of Traumatic Loss
  4. Jordan Peterson, PhD – Redemption and Psychology in Christianity
  5. Mark Kingwell, PhD – Happiness and the Art of Play
  6. Todd Kashdan, PhD – The Science of Spirituality: Essential and Impossible
  7. Salvatore Maddi, PhD – Hardiness Protects Against Internet Addiction and Excessive
    Consumer Spending
  8. Emmy van Deurzen, PhD – The Meaning of Suffering: Emotional Life and our Reasons for Being
  9. George Bonanno, PhD – Trauma, Flexibility, and Meaning
  10. Alan Waterman, PhD – Identity and Meaning:  Contrasts of Existentialist and Essentialist Perspectives
  11. Paul T.P. Wong, PhD – The Meaning-Mindset as the Foundation for Healing and Flourishing
  12. Richard Ryan, PhD– Self-determination Theory and Eudaimonic Living: Research on Basic Psychological Needs for Wellness and Meaning