Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TED Talk Tuesdays: The Science Of Happiness and Living Extraordinary Lives

Last year a friend gave me a book called Flourish by Martin E. P. Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. I didn't read it.  Until this summer.  I highly recommend this book to educators, business people, members of the military or people who love someone.  Click here for an extremely biased review of the book.

As a scientist, the ideas in this book appeal to me because the findings about improving well-being and happiness and the techniques that Dr. Seligman presents and teaches in his book are research-based.  Life is short.  If I don't have to figure stuff out by trial-and-error, if I can just try something new that is proven to work--great!    I'm a working mother of two. It saves me time and improves my satisfaction with my life.  I definitely have had a few, "if I only knew this when I was younger.." moments while reading this book.

As a teacher of adolescents, this book and the UPenn Positive Psychology Center website gives me concrete, ready-to-use tools (like this complete 7-day curriculum on teaching positive psychology to adolescents) that I can use with  my students to help them learn to take an active role in improving their relationships with each other, their satisfaction with school and life and improving their outlook on life in a cognitively lasting way.

Today was TED Talk Tuesdays in my classroom.  We watch TED talks for science and technology current events and to observe effective presentation styles.  Here is the talk we watched today.  Shawn Achor is a psychology researcher and professor at Harvard University and CEO of GoodThink, Inc.  His positive psychology class at Harvard in 2006 was the most popular psychology class in Harvard's history. He also happens to be a very effective--and funny--presenter.  He presents many of the ideas that Seligman discusses in his book.  Watch out!  He only has 12 minutes and he talks really fast!  Enjoy!


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