Health & Wellness Article - November 2011
by Marge Coalman, EdD, Touchmark Vice President, Wellness & Programs
“Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you're going to live your life.” —Joel Osteen author and pastor
It has been more than a decade since the field of Positive Psychology was first introduced by Martin Siegelman and Mihaly Csikezentmihalyi, professors of psychology and eminent researchers. Initially, scientists and laymen were skeptical—and in some cases critical—of their theories and writings. They stated that individuals can develop and nurture skills, habits, and personal philosophies that can lead to making a normal life more fulfilling.
In 2004, the handbook Character Strengths and Virtues was published. This was the first attempt on the part of the research community to classify positive psychological traits of humans, and it was a notable breakthrough. The book focuses on six core virtues and 24 measurable character strengths:
- Wisdom and knowledge: creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective, innovation
- Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity, vitality
- Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
- Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership
- Temperance: forgiveness, mercy, humility, prudence, self-control
- Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality
The research shows there is no inborn set point for happiness, creativity, and success in life. Faith traditions have long maintained that we can influence our own destiny and success. Now researchers have verified this thinking, which today is a major focus of social systems and institutions. What a joy to study why things go right rather than just treating the diseases of mental health!
During this Thanksgiving season, Touchmark gives thanks for all of the individuals in Touchmark communities who dedicate their time, energy, and resources to developing and practicing these character attributes. The positive energy of so many people—some who are living with challenging medical conditions and major losses—creates a focus on well-being for the individuals themselves and the greater good of the community.
Touchmark’s Full Life™ program invites you to participate and contribute to the programs and services of all who live and work here. Serving others does build virtues.