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A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being

By Martin E.P. Seligman
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  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Flourish by Martin E.P. Seligman

Flourish (2012) reveals how optimism, motivation and character have the power to help us lead better lives. Based on extensive academic research and complemented by interactive exercises, these blinks introduce a new theory about what it means to live a good life.

Key idea 1 of 7

Unlike prescription pills, positive psychology provides long-term solutions.

Prescription drugs are our society’s quick-fix solution for people struggling with mental health issues. But, in the long run, such short-term solutions often do more harm than good.

Countless studies have revealed that, in most cases, prescription drugs are only partially and temporarily effective. Drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro do have a significant impact on 65 percent of patients – but this number becomes less impressive when you consider that the placebo effect has the same impact on 55 percent of patients.

Six of these studies were compared by a group of esteemed psychologists and psychiatrists, and they found that, overall, drugs are effective in cases of severe depression, but fail to help those with moderate and mild cases. And yet, these patients are also in need of help. If drugs can’t provide them with the assistance they need, though, who or what can?

The answer is positive psychology, an approach centered on improving well-being, happiness and enjoyment in life. Studies have shown positive psychology treatments to be surprisingly effective. Nearly all participants in a week-long series of positive psychology exercises – focused on gratitude and kindness to strangers – reported feeling far happier afterward. After a single week’s training, some patients even experienced positive results for up to six months.

Positive psychology isn’t just for combating mental health issues, either. Every individual, regardless of background or situation, can benefit from this approach. How? Find out more in the coming blinks!

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