In Positive psychology

Image by: Janet Mueller

Happy January and Happy New Year!  Welcome to the first full week in 2014.

2014 kicks off our Positive Psychology 52-week project where Academic Life Coaching looks at each of the 27 chapters of Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues. We’ll be looking at a one new chapter at roughly every two weeks with posts every weekday.

Here goes Number 1!

Traditionally, January was named for the Roman god Janus who was in charge of doorways, passage ways and generally seen as a pretty important god of beginnings. So let’s start with looking at the character strength and virtue of Hope (found in Chapter 25, on pages 569 to 582.)

The idea of hope has been around since the times of Janus. It’s an ancient idea of looking forward to something with expectation with a positive emotion. The Roman idea of time was a person looking back over their past and heading into the future backwards.

Backwards because we don’t know what the future will bring, just like we can’t see what’s behind us.

In our contemporary world, we’ve flipped the metaphor, put the past behind us and look forward to the future. And we’ve added some other concepts such as optimism/pessimism and future-mindedness as well to the psychological ideas of what the future holds for us.

Positive Psychology has a few takes on the idea of Hope, from the importance of being able to generate a positive perspective and give a positive meaning to  Positive Psychology is generally consistent in the three characteristics of Hope:

A Clear Goal. Having a clear vision of what you hope for.

A Pathway. Or a method to get what you want.

Agency. The knowledge that you have the ability to do what it takes to achieve your goal.

 For today, let’s bask in the newness of the year and focus on the first element of hope.

What’s the one goal that you’d really like to accomplish in 2014?

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