Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Director of the Social Psychology Doctoral Program and the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory, President-Elect, International Positive Psychology Association Kenan-Flagler School of Business
Welcome to positive psychology.
I'm so glad you're here.
You know one of the key founders of the positive psychology movement,
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, tells us that, to live a good life it's not enough to
remove what is wrong with it, and positive psychology is two things at once.
First and foremost it's an active area of science.
That investigates, those positive things that we need to
add to our lives to make them good.
Yet in addition, it's a movement, a dynamic force, the world over.
And I'm captivated by the image of you out there,
being able to take your curiosity about positive psychology to the next level.
Just by taking this course, you'll gain skills to make a positive difference,
not only in your own life, but also in the lives of others in your community.
Now imagine the positive ripples that radiate out from your efforts here.
And now imagine those positive ripples multiplied by thousands or
tens of thousands.
You are part of something much larger here.
That's the positive psychology movement and you're right at the center of it.
Now I see the broad reach of this movement first hand, having been
elected President of the International Positive Psychology Association.
Members of IPPA as we call it, hail from more than 70 countries and
includes scientists and practitioners.
Alongside students and anyone else in an abiding interest, in positive psychology.
In fact, IPPA can help you maintain your connection to the positive
psychology community, long after you've completed this course.
Now speaking of community, you'll notice that I teach this online course,
as a small seminar and that you'll be taking it
alongside four in video classmates, Brett, Kelly, Patrick, and Debby.
Now I chose this format for two reasons.
first, each of these people has a unique perspective on positive psychology,
that I know you'll benefit from hearing.
Second, I think learning happens best through dialogue and sharing ideas.
And this small seminar format, allows this exchange in the videos themselves.
Also, from time to time in these videos, you'll see tiny yellow lines,
bisect the timeline.
At each of those moments, and there's one coming up soon.
I'll pause the action,
to give you a moment to reflect, or answer a quick question.
Doing so will heighten your engagement with positive psychology, so
don't miss out.
And you know scientific studies show that whenever you shift,
from passively absorbing course material to actively engaging with it,
your learning accelerates.
So welcome to week one.
Thanks so much for being here, everybody.
This is going to be a, a fun way to learn positive psychology together.
Before we get into it,
I want to take a moment just to lay the playing field and get introductions.
I'm Barb Fredrickson.
I've been studying positive psychology even before there was positive psychology.
And, over the course of the weeks that we're together here we'll
be diving into a lot of that more.
So, I'm going to just stay short with that.
But I'd, love to hear from each of you guys what draws you to
positive psych what do you hope to do with it?
So just take a moment and we'll introduce ourselves.
>> My name is Debbie, I am a professor here and also an administrator and
I think I'm blending my world's of athletics and business.
And so I apply positive psychology in everything that I do,
from competition, to coaching, to inspiring others, and
certainly in the classroom working with young people.
Having to stay positive, and help that tender age of 17 to 25.
And I'm Patrick.
[COUGH] I'm a professor here at UNC.
And teach in our school of education.
So, prepare teachers councilors, and principals.
I'm interested because, when I was a councilor with middle school kids,
when we talked about something positive, they really responded.
Versus the problems they were having.
And so now I prepare counselors that way and study hope and
some other things around positive psych.
>> My name's Kelly, and I have a degree in psychology and
then I went back to school to get certified as a holistic health coach.
I work with people who want to live more fully and deeply.
And I offer coaching to improve their health on
any number of levels in mind, body, and spirit.
I'm especially excited about applying positive psychology to
people who have chronic illness, based on my own experience with that.
>> And I'm Brett and I'm a phd student here at Carolina and
I research positive emotions and try to use science,
to help us understand how positive emotions shape our health and
our social relationships with others and how we can utilize positive emotions.
in, in our everyday lives.
>> Great. I am so
grateful that you're all here, joining me with in this course.
Because your perspectives are going to mean so much to the other people who
take this course, and through other means, so, thanks a lot.
I'm really grateful.
So I really love to refer back to Chris Peterson,
a good friend of mine who has been a leader in positive psychology.
He used to say positive psychology is not a spectator's sport.
that, you have to dive right in and
experience it, because otherwise it's just a bunch of abstract ideas.
So we, I want to start us off by getting us familiar with the concepts of emotion.
So I want you to have an emotion.
So you know, and we're going to start off with the bad.
I want you to think of relive a negative emotional experience.
Maybe something that was so frustrating that, you know,
just made you want to explode.
And just take a moment to relive that in your mind.
Think about where you were, who you were with,
what had just happened and as you begin to
relive that in your mind, just notice whether
you can make it grow for just a second of two.
And then, take a moment to reflect on what, what stands out, in that experience.
How does reliving this, make your body feel.
How d, what does it make your face feel like?
What thoughts come to mind?
What does it, what does it make you want to do?
>> My first thought is to reject it.
>> yeah. >> I don't want to go back there, and so
I'm getting rigid, and heart starts racing.
>> Right. >> Yeah.
>> Right. >> It's uncomfortable.
>> Right, so, with any emotional experience, we,
they either fit with or against what we want and so
a big part of emotion experience is that is this wanted or unwanted.
>> Mm-hm,. >> And so
there's often a you know, either a embrace it, I want to feel this way or
you know I don't want to feel this way, so that, great example of
just that you know responses to emotion are a big part of emotion.
You can't, you can't have an emotion without having a response to
emotion at the same time.
>> I wanted to echo something that you mentioned in that when I
think about something that negative emotion.
You said your heart started racing and I, I have, I experience that too both in
the moment when I'm experiencing it but even when I'm thinking about it.
Again, sometimes, you know,
you can feel your, your heart racing, and kind of tense up.
And it's, like it's a very full body type of feeling.
>> Right, right.
One of the things that's so true of emotions is it's not,
emotions aren't something that just sit up in your head.
Roll around in your skull.
They are embodied.
And there's no emotion that isn't embodied so it, it's going to affect of th,
what happens in your heart.
It's going to affect your muscle tension.
It's going to you know,
certainly affect aspects of how you carry yourself, even, so.
Anyone else want to join in?
>> I just, my, my reaction a little bit is I want to move on, so
it's a little bit hard for me to come and, you know, process that negative thing.
>> Yeah. >> I always try to be future-focused so
if, you know, I try to move from that.
So it's hard for me to go back and do that reflection on negative stuff.
So again, I, I think there's a real way in which individual differences come into
play here a lot, whereas, you know some people can't move on from the negative and
then some people you know, want to move past them really quickly.
Again, so again, you're kind of preferences and
home way of being with emotions kind of shows up right away.
One of the things that I wanted to just point out is there's a typical model.
Of emotion that help us
understand sort of what's all happening, in an emotional experience.
I asked you to think about a circumstance that might have made you frustrated.
So, a lot of times, emotions they start as situated experiences.
So, you know, some way in which your current circumstance is good for you or
bad for you, but it's not like there's an automatic
connection between a situation and everybody is going to feel the same way.
How people interpret that situation is the,
the place that turns an emotion into despair or hope or, you know, it kind of,
it's, it's a major gateway into whether emotions are negative are positive, or
what flavor of positive or what flavor of negative they'll be.
So that interpretation phase is often called, you know,
the, the sense making or the appraisal, that comes out of it.
Brett, you mentioned, that, you could definitely feel the changes in,
in you know, heart rate, or muscle tension, and so, one of the things I
would want to point out is that, you know, that's not just a private experience.
I mean, what, what, how are other people going to be able to pick up on that,
you know certainly, your face feels kind of a little bit different.
If you're holding your jaw tight, people can see that.
You know, if you're starting to get like, tense or whatever, people can see that.
This is part of emotions aren't just a private experience.
They are, you know, whether we like it or not, they're broadcast.
Their broadcast out so, those bodily changes show up in posture.
They show up in the tone of our voice.
The show up, you know, in you know,
what people are picking up from our smiles or our frowns or scowls.
You know, so and then this last piece Debby, you started with that.
That of responses to emotions like oh, you know, do I want to, do I want to go there?
Would I, do I want to hold, hold back.
One thing that's I,
I really want to emphasize is these responses to emotion are no small thing.
I mean they you can
respond to a situation by, you know, like oh I don't want to feel this way.
I don't want to show anybody what I'm feeling you know
I'm going to try to be kind of stone faced about it.
So one response would be to try to modify or clamp down on what you were feeling.
Another response would be like, oh,
I want to think about this situation differently.
You know, you might think, you first come across something kind of scary.
Maybe going to a transition to high school.
You know, your, your example.
And then you can reframe it.
Oh, it's an opportunity to make new friends.
Or, you know, something.
Some kind of a, one response could be to,
I don't want to feel this way, let me think about it differently.
Another response is to go and
change the situation, you know, like this is a great situation.
I want to, you know, these people are kind of at odds with each other.
I want to bring them together or something like that.
So these, responses to emotion create this, like, dynamic change over time.
So it's sometimes people take emotions, just to be that feeling state,
like, oh, I feel happy, or I feel irritated, but what we
have is so much more in terms of, you know, there's the embodied.
Thoughts and a dynamic change in what, what those are.
So, from a scientific perspective we don't think of emotions
as just a feeling state, it's an embodied feeling state that comes with action
urges that comes with responses that get us to change the situation or, or
change our, our thoughts.
So, anyway thanks for playing along with going, going to the negative for a moment.
[SOUND] But I appreciate that.
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