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The Scientific Rigor Of Positive Psychology

For the longest time, skeptics of self-care tools (like mindfulness and meditation) have been hung up on the belief that self-care is "woo woo"-- a feel-good means of addressing the growing mental health problem that had no integrity, or science to back it up. As it turns out, they're wrong.

In 1998, psychologist Martin Seligman (then recently-elected President of the prestigious American Psychiatry Association) proposed a new school of thought, which became known as Positive Psychology. One of the geneses of Seligman's proposal was a study of existing scientific psychiatric literature, which found that studies focusing on negative psychological conditions outnumbered studies focusing on positive psychological conditions by a ratio in excess of 20 to 1.

Based largely on those results, Seligman and other professionals who agreed with him, posited that psychology-- and the related field of psychiatry-- had historically focused almost exclusively on the diagnosis and treatment of individuals who suffered from known psychological challenges, with little attention given to the scientific examination of stimuli that could help those same individuals learn to flourish and thrive.

Kudos to the professionals who diagnose and treat afflicted individuals-- in no way should their contribution be minimized.
That said, I also celebrate the scientific contributions of Positive Psychology. How refreshing-- how life-affirming! And how important to affirming the viability of self-care mental fitness tools, like mindfulness and meditation, both of which possess stand-alone merit as well as complementary value for traditional, medically prescribed, therapies.

Still skeptical that mindfulness and meditation are just feel-good woo woo? Check out the body of science being expanded by professional adherents of Positive Psychology, and you'll discover that the only thing woo woo, is you!


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