Last week, Professor Nicole Ditchman facilitated a workshop with Career Services on “Utilizing Positive Psychology in the Job Search.” During this workshop, attendees learned about common positive psychology tools and how they apply to stressful job and internship searches. Here is our recap!
Positive Psychology, according to the International Positive Psychology Association is “the scientific study of what enables individuals and communities to thrive.” There is a focus in positive psychology on human strengths, proactive actions toward goals and meaningful activities, and a focus on positive industrial traits such as love and vocation, courage, interpersonal skills, and perseverance.
One of the most stimulating theories I learned about in the presentation was the theory of Seligman’s Three Happy Lives! This is a theory that shows how Happiness exists at the center of the Pleasant Life (the practice of enjoying daily pleasures), The Good Life (finding ways to be engaged in your daily life), and The Meaningful Life (the practice of using your strengths to contribute to your community).
Some tips that Professor Ditchman included:
- Know and cultivate your strengths! Research shows that if you use your top strengths every day you can both develop one of your lesser strengths and live a happier life.
- Cultivate optimism and hope. One way to do this is by imagining your happy future self and journaling about that.
- Challenge your thoughts. When challenges come your way, don’t assume it has to do with you as an individual. Try to be optimistic!
- Focus on what you can control. Challenge your sense of hopelessness.
- Find positives everyday and schedule time for self care! Do what makes you happy and try to stay balanced.
- Stay in the Present and take things one day at a time.
- Keep up routines and set intrinsically motivated goals. Goals should be authentic, approach oriented, harmonious, and activity based!
- Connect with Others- don’t withdraw, find ways to stay connected.
- Eat, sleep, and exercise well. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
- Journaling and Writing. Write about difficult events in the 3rd person to get a new perspective. Imagine where you would like to be in the future. Journal about what you appreciate everyday.
- Acknowledge stress and painful emotions. Give yourself time to heal and grieve.
- Monitor your Check Engine Light. Take note of when you are starting to feel overwhelmed or depleted.
Some Follow Up Action Steps Include:
- Develop a wellness plan.
- Get your application materials edited by a Career Coach.
- Keep networking.
- Check out Handshake for more future events.
Thanks Professor Ditchman for attending and presenting. We learned a lot!
Resources to Check Out
- Documentary: Happy (2011):
- Peer-Reviewed Journals
- The Journal of Positive Psychology
- Journal of Happiness Studies
- International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology
- Authentic Happiness, Learned Optimism, Flourish (Seligman)
- The How of Happiness (Lyobormirksy)
- Flow (Csikszentmihalyi)
- Stumbling on Happiness (Gilbert)
- The Happiness Lab with Dr. Santos
- Adam Grant podcast “WorkLife”: https://www.ted.com/podcasts/worklife
- Art of Happiness with Arthur Brooks
- The Three Equations for a Happy Life, Even During a Pandemic (Atlantic article by Arthur C. Brooks) https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2020/04/how-increase-happiness-according-research/609619/
- 5 Quick Ways You Can Bring Positive Psychology To Your Workplace (Forbes Article by Thompson, 2012)https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2012/08/08/5-quick-ways-you-can-bring-positive-psychology-to-your-workplace-without-earning-a-degree/#2b2a589c4473
- Positive Psychology in the Workplace: Thank God it’s Monday (Desmond, 2020) https://positivepsychology.com/positive-psychology-workplace-labor-of-love/
- Coping with COVID-19 Resources
- CDC: Taking Care of your Emotional Health: https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp
- HelpGuide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/traumatic-stress.htm
- SAMHSA Fact Sheet on Taking Care of Yourself During Social Distancing/Isolation: https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Taking-Care-of-Your-Behavioral-Health-Tips-for-Social-Distancing-Quarantine-and-Isolation-During-an-Infectious-Disease-Outbreak/PEP20-01-01-007
Videos Available Online
- Happy (documentary): https://tubitv.com/movies/157792/happy
- Seligman’s Ted Talk on the Three Happy Lives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FBxfd7DL3E&t=1068s
- Seligman speaking about PERMA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=603&v=iK6K_N2qe9Y&feature=emb_logo
- “Getting stuck in the negatives (and how to get unstuck)” by Dr. Alison Ledgerwood, TEDxUCDavis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XFLTDQ4JMk
- Louie Schwartzberg (time lapse photography) Gratitude & Nature: https://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_nature_beauty_gratitude
- Barbara Fredrickson: “Positive Emotions Open Our Mind”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dFDHzV36g
- Neuroscience to Achieve Flow (Talk at Google) by Saleha Williams (2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ir-lpCYZ5M&t=2s
- TedxNaperville by Diane Allen, violinist, on achieving “Flow”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ookkfdGMHeM