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Let’s Divide Happiness

How do you face issues? Is life only about issues and mental illnesses that bog you down? No

It isn’t

Human beings want to learn to lead healthy, strong, and fulfilling lives that they envision.  Positive psychology can help delve into the happiness that can be improved to help a person’s overall well-being. 
 

Positive psychology breaks down three dimensions that happiness exists in.  The pleasant life, the good life, and the meaningful life. 

The Pleasant Life 

What type of life do you want to have? A life full of positive emotion. Positive experiences where you can feel pleasure, and learn skills from those experiences to maintain those positive emotions.  What makes your life worth living?  When people are satisfied with life, they generate more reasons to be satisfied about; hence, better and desirable outcomes at school and work, social relationships are fulfilled, and even good bodily health are good reasons to be satisfied about. You use your happiness, the strengths that have made you your own character, and that is how you buffer the negative effects of disappointments or drawbacks. Amplify and give greater life to your pleasures. 

The Good Life 

The flow of a person’s life involves many daily tasks. Waking up on time, going to bed at a reasonable hour, eating breakfast or following an exercise regime.  A routine where tasks are being accomplished, and not overwhelming the person. Think about it, when you are actively working on something but enjoying it as well, time flies. Yes, the task or tasks may be many, but the want and need to accomplish them is a challenge and the flow is positive, not overwhelming with negativity.  Critical thinking is important when it comes to daily choices or learning something new, such as students do in school. However, unconditional care for yourself, others, and your surroundings is just as important. How does your heart live a good life? Spend the time you need to remold your home, your love, your friendships, your parenting if you have children, and you spent time on your strengths to have more flow in your life. 

The Meaningful life 

What are your individual strengths? Are you using them for something greater than yourself? Find meaning in the value of life. Focusing and learning about the value of life, not just yours, is important and it helps generate a meaningful life that is rich; redeeming oneself from the negativities that you created or were/are a part of.  

Well Kim, how do I get all those three things going on at the same time when I can barely remember my phone number? You don’t need to be an A+ student in all of these three categories.  I am not overly happy every day, I deal with my own mental illnesses, but I try to have a deep sense of contentment. I am here. I get to feel this way today. I will focus on increasing my happiness, my wellbeing, so in return I can further help others reach their increased happiness. I want to help you enhance your well-being. 
 
Focus on your pleasures from the journey that is your own personal growth, personal excellence, and how you are a person that is contributing to the lives of others in this Universe. 
 
How hard are you working for the pleasant, good, and meaningful life? The shortcut is not there, can’t be programmed into a button either, so… reflect. 

 
Now, here’s a different updated WIP of the brain logo I want for this website/blog.

I’m going to keep working on this, I feel like it needs more, and who knows can also look different. Last time I had the name in there, now it’s just a brain from the back. I love art.

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Mental Health and Art

I have always been the type of person to want to do everything and be everything I can be. If I can’t be in a position to do so, I art it. “I art it”? What does that mean? It means I put my perspective on matters on paper or my digital tablet. Art lets me explore through open windows if the doors are closed, the possibilities are endless.

So how does art and mental health relate to each other?

Art has demonstrated in helping “…positive effects on mental health” (Harter, 2007). Mental health issues are on the rise, especially with the effect the coronavirus and the correlation of self-isolation. Most of the times, people are afraid to talk about their mental health status and they do not have an outlet to receive the help that they need. Loneliness increases, depression, self-harm, and suicide ideation, and choices that harm the physical body. If art can be used as a tool for mental health, then use it. Share it. Tell everyone. Art is free.

Art has been around since man could find some sort of color made from mud, blood, anything that could stain, or carvings into stone and wood. Art is an ancient tool that needs to be given more freely to people. That is, art should be one of the other main focuses in education other than STEM. Art can be useful therapy for people of all ages. Children learn to express themselves when words fail them. Teenagers let out their frustrations or questioning of the world through art. And adults and the elderly find relaxation and decrease in loneliness.

Even Freud observed that words alone cannot help to relieve traumatic stress, but rather “action” is what can relieve the brain’s turmoil. There are many forms of creative ways to help with mental health such as art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy, and a combination of practices that include mindfulness and self-regulation (Malchiodi, 2020).

I hope that people can see how art can be one the greatest tools that all human beings already have in their selves.

  • References
  • Stephanie Lewis Harter (2007) Visual Art Making for Therapist Growth and Self-Care, Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 20:2, 167-182, DOI: 10.1080/10720530601074721
  • Malchiodi, C. A. (2020). Trauma and Expressive Arts Therapy: Brain, Body, and Imagination in the Healing Process. New York: Guilford Publications.

Creativity, Authenticity, and Kindness in Positive Psychology

Positive psychology has been a study from the beginning of philosophical times, however, psychology has been centered around mental illnesses and not on building on people’s strengths. The goal of positive psychology is to create a change in psychology from only worrying about the negative and repairing it, to bringing out the best qualities of a person and building on a better life and subjective well-being. 

Positive psychology focuses on well-being and satisfaction, the joy, sensual pleasures, creativity, authenticity, and happiness in the present, and the constructive cognitions about the future that includes optimism, hope, faith, and kindness.

There is more to psychology than only studying diseases and weaknesses, the study of strengths and virtues are important. Positive psychology uses the scientific method to help find the best of human behavior and all of its complexity to making to a useful positive tool to help individuals.

There is great interest in studying creativity of people and how it relates to understanding human potential and their well-being. In the past, creativity has been associated with negative aspects of the individual and with certain psychopathological characteristics that indicate the presence of madness or deviations from what is thought to be normal. However, creativity is a characteristic that everyone holds, however, it varies by level in individuals.

Creative and intelligence have been explored together, those can conceptualize and explore abstractions can also generate new ideas creatively, however, one does not need to be smart to be creative or vice versa.

How do these strengths develop and grow? The groups or communities that surround families, schools, religious communities, and industrial cooperation- are ALL focus groups that develop environments for people to foster their varied strengths.

For example, someone who is involved in their self-care, fosters their strengths of positive and optimistic thinking. This allows them to connect with others in authentic ways, it helps them feel energetic, creative, friendly, and seek to reach out to others.

Creativity is a healthy and adaptive response to any type of unhealthy condition for the human being.

-KIM JANNICE BREWER, 2021

Can creativity be affected by mood states? Absolutely they can be, particularly in different people with different mental health states, this can affect creative productivity. Research has demonstrated that negative emotions can pause creative performance, but then optimism must step in. Humans experience a wide range of emotions, whether those are positive or negative, they help contribute to creative personality characteristics and help generate creativity.

When there are positive emotions such as a self-perception of being strong, reporting feeling usually happy and feeling interested, there can be a prediction that there are higher levels of creativity in people who feel strong and exhibit self-confidence.

Creativity has the ability to help envision new possibilities, inspirations, and to transform a variety of elements. Not only to help you create the next masterpiece, but to help you transform pain, physical or mental, into something expressive and increase your overall well-being.

Authenticity

Another great trait that factors into positive psychology and how to help individuals realize who their true selves is, their authenticity. When is authenticity important? Well, let’s look at an example, people at work. When people feel more authentic at work they are expected to stay closer to their core self and to feel less detached from what they believe in, from their values and beliefs.  This leads to lower levels of cynicism and they fit better to the job tasks they are assigned, feeling more energetic and experience less emotional exhaustion.

Authenticity breeds creativity. The way that you carry yourself around others at work, at school, in your community, etc., affects your overall creative performance, emphasizing your uniqueness as well as aid in your motivational processes and creative behaviors.

Authenticity is when happy individuals develop their distinctive talents and strengths, those who live a life of higher meaning and purpose. Authenticity does not only affect the individual, it helps society to be healthy, growth-oriented, and innovative to the individuals within society. The difficult moments that individuals encounter, such as making difficult decisions with conflict, a degree of anxiety is an inevitable aspect of living a personally fulfilling and meaningful life.

What is your authenticity? What are your true beliefs, values, and actions that you represent through the actions you make towards your own path and actions to others; how are you taking responsibility for your own emotions and behaviors?

Individuals who decide to behave honestly and openly according to their innate feelings and intentions are more authentic.

Kim Jannice brewer, 2017

Positive psychology studies help to answer the questions asked about why this type of psychology and the positive interventions are needed, they provide the virtues for what individuals need to be balanced, progress to their own authenticity, and being optimistic to gain better physical health, higher achievement, and help realize values and goals for a greater wellness.

Kindness

The last valuable type of action an individual can be a part of to produce a positive effect on their emotional state and others is kindness. Kindness is older than the beginning of positive psychology, even Jesus preached about kindness not only for loved ones but for those strangers and enemies, Judaism and Buddhism preached about loving kindness for all.

There are psychological research evidence that confirms that random acts of kindness bring about positive benefits to the individual giver’s mental and physical health as well as the one receiving the random act of kindness.

The act of doing something good for others is not only for their benefit, but the act of kindness is beneficial for an individual doing the act too.  For instance, those individuals who naturally volunteer to help have been associated with increasing their life satisfaction, decreased depression, lower blood pressure, and even increased longevity (Pressman, Kraft, & Cross, 2015).

Once an individual learns what feeling good is and they feel good, they tend to do good.  Positive emotions help to promote efficacy, this helps signal to people that they are capable of mustering effort to overcome challenging tasks and that their effort to overcome them with pay off.  Many people who are in a positive state are more likely to view events in their lives more optimistically, thus it helps them to interpret the outcomes of their behavior in a positive light.

Creativity, authenticity, and kindness are only three of the many positive character strengths that can help people to be happier and healthier in mind and in body.  The ability to use creativity is important to leading to a more authentic self.  When an individual reaches this point of realizing their positive selves, they become more prosocial and can become more involved in autonomous volunteering tasks of kindness. This is a way to enhance the personal qualities of people, and to make noticeable the character strengths that can lead them to their pursuit of happiness.

Creativity helps with the creation of new and useful ideas at work or in personal settings, that make the tasks easier and less challenging.  The process involves human flourishing and helping individuals to thrive and do better in their lives overall. 

Authenticity is about the self and discovering who the individual truly is.  That is, how a person imagines themselves to be better and perform better if they know their character strengths and how to use those to become happier. 

A more prosocial behavior can lead individuals to perform acts of kindness, whether they may be minimal to grand acts of kindness; they help others at a greater personal cost.  The experienced emotions of empathy through kindness can reduce tension, reduce personal guilt for not doing something to help, and it covers social and personal rewards to the individuals using kindness. 

Overall, these important factors help individuals to better themselves, their well-being, and physical health.  

References 

Akin, U., & Akin, A. (2014). Investigating the predictive role of authenticity on subjective vitality with structural equation modeling. Kuram Ve Uygulamada Eğitim Bilimleri14(6), 2043-2048. 

Aspy, D. J., & Proeve, M. (2017). Mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation: Effects on connectedness to humanity and to the natural world. Psychological Reports120(1), 102-117. doi:10.1177/0033294116685867 

Charyton, C., Hutchison, S., Snow, L., Rahman, M. A., & Elliott, J. O. (2009). Creativity as an attribute of positive psychology: The impact of positive and negative affect on the creative personality. Journal Of Creativity In Mental Health4(1), 57-66. 

Corley, C. (2010). Creative expression and resilience among Holocaust survivors. Journal Of Human Behavior In The Social Environment20(4), 542-552. doi:10.1080/10911350903275325 

de Cassia Nakano, T., Wechsler, S. M., Campos, C. R., & Milian, Q. G. (2015). Intelligence and creativity: Relationships and their implications for positive psychology. Psico-USF20(2), 195-206. doi:10.1590/1413-82712015200201 

Desmet, P., & Sääksjärvi, M. (2016). Form matters: Design creativity in positive psychological interventions. Psychology Of Well-Being: Theory, Research & Practice6(1), 1-17. doi:10.1186/s13612-016-0043-5 

Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist55(1), 34-43. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.34 

Held, B. S. (2005). The ‘virtues’ of positive psychology. Journal Of Theoretical And Philosophical Psychology25(1), 1-34. doi:10.1037/h0091249 

Layous, K., Nelson, S. K., Kurtz, J. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2017). What triggers prosocial effort? A positive feedback loop between positive activities, kindness, and well-being. Journal Of Positive Psychology12(4), 385. doi:10.1080/17439760.2016.1198924 

Medlock, G. (2012). The evolving ethic of authenticity: From humanistic to positive psychology. The Humanistic Psychologist40(1), 38-57. doi:10.1080/08873267.2012.643687 

Nelson, S. K., Layous, K., Cole, S. W., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2016). Do unto others or treat yourself? The effects of prosocial and self-focused behavior on psychological flourishing. Emotion16(6), 850-861. doi:10.1037/emo0000178 

Passmore, J., & Oades, L. G. (2015). Positive psychology techniques — Random acts of kindness and consistent acts of kindness and empathy. Coaching Psychologist11(2), 90-92. 

Pressman, S. D., Kraft, T. L., & Cross, M. P. (2015). It’s good to do good and receive good: The impact of a ‘pay it forward’ style kindness intervention on giver and receiver well-being. The Journal Of Positive Psychology10(4), 293-302. doi:10.1080/17439760.2014.965269 

Seligman, M. 2002. Positive psychology, positive prevention, and positive therapy. In C. Snyder & S. Lopez (Eds). Handbook of positive psychology. New York: Oxford. 

Taştan, S. B. (2016). Psychological capital: A positive psychological resource and its relationship with creative performance behavior. Anadolu University Journal Of Social Sciences16(1), 101-118. 

Tong, E. W., & Jia, L. (2017). Positive emotion, appraisal, and the role of appraisal overlap in positive emotion co-occurrence. Emotion17(1), 40-54. doi:10.1037/emo0000203 

van den Bosch, R., & Taris, T. W. (2014). The authentic worker’s well-being and performance: The relationship between authenticity at work, well-being, and work outcomes. Journal Of Psychology148(6), 659-681. 

Happiness, Well-Being, and Art

I sit here focusing on creating perhaps a unique logo for my website, for this very blog. Should I put the words into it, should it be just an image, should it be both? I was stressing over this. I stopped, I took a couple of bong hits and relaxed enough to focus on what I needed to do. I want this place to be something where not only do I focus on what I am drawing but also what makes me draw. I like to give something to people so they can use themselves as the first tool in life they need to be happy.

I was thinking about positive psychology and how learning about it in college helped me grow as a person. Positive psychology focuses on the scientific study of human flourishing and optimal functioning (Biswas-Diener, 2013).  Today, there is evidence that demonstrates that positive psychology works and people have the qualities to make their lives good by using their “…strengths everyday to produce authentic happiness and abundant gratification” (Seligman, 2002, p. 13; as cited in, Compton & Hoffman, 2013, p. 3).  

What strengths do you use every day that give you authentic happiness? What gives you true satisfaction? How do you use those strengths to help you live a great life?

Definitions of Happiness and Well-Being 

Authentic happiness is considered to have three broad life domains, the pleasant life, the good life of engagement, and the meaningful life (Seligman, 2002; as cited in, Compton & Hoffman, 2013).  First, the pleasant life is focused on positive emotions such as enjoying a good meal, to a complex combination of emotions, such as producing feelings of joy. 

If someone is experiencing some depressive symptoms, relying on positive emotions such as the feelings of joy from eating that small chocolate or making a big move like wanting to participate in a social gathering can be very healthy in decreasing negative emotions.

Second, engagement in activities can help absorb anyone who needs to get out of the slums into something that will help them promote their full participation in life. When people use their strengths, they tend to feel exhilarated and intensely enjoy that they have a sense of who their real selves are; this allows them to be expressive through their strengths.  Gratification from participating in activities where the strengths of individuals can be placed into work can enhance authentic happiness.

Third, a meaningful life uses the individual’s strengths to work towards something bigger and more significant than one’s individual self (Compton & Hoffman, 2013).  Positive emotions generated from participating in everyday pleasant activities and the ability to use one’s strengths for a purpose greater than the individual, helps to produce a meaningful life.  

For example, someone can be helped to consider that their volunteer work can promote their positive emotions, to working towards something greater than their selves, with what they give having a positive contribution to others and alongside promoting their own physical and emotional health.

Well-being is concerned with the overall wellness of an individual or a group of people.

There is a six-dimensional model of psychological well-being that consists of self-acceptance, personal growth, positive relations with other people, autonomy, purpose in life, and environmental mastery.  Well-being is not only about being physically well, it is about the complete state of the mental and social well-being as well as the physical.

For instance, someone’s well-being can be improved with their want and involvement of accepting who they are, what they can do with their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses, the building of positive relationships with other people, to create a purpose for their life to be a part of something that provides others with help, and to be surrounded with positive actions and emotions.

The top-down theory is an approach that is based on interventions to increase happiness and are used to focus on changing people’s attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, or personality traits .  There are studies that suggest that certain attitudes, self-perceptions, and personality traits are highly correlated with subjective well-being.  There have been consistent patterns that reveal that positive interpretations, how people feel, is determined by how they think about and interpret the events of their lives (Compton & Hoffman, 2013).  Self-esteem for instance, is more related to optimism, those who are more optimistic about the future and more hopeful are happier and can enjoy the greater life satisfaction than others who are less optimistic (Carver et al., 2009; Rand & Cheavens, 2009; Seligman, 2011; as cited in, Compton & Hoffman, 2013). 

Helping yourself to increase your own optimism can help you to adopt a viewpoint that leads towards a better future and to be more hopeful to living your life in a better emotional environment.  Increase in optimism can lead to more relationships, more effective coping with life’s issues and bumps on the road, and to help increase your emotional health.  Moreover, people do not have control over death, but they do have personal control and this can encourage your own emotional, motivational, behavioral, and physiological vigor that the demands of life brings upon you.  Learning about yourself and your own control over your happiness can lead to self-efficacy.  Self-efficacy is that of control and hope (Compton & Hoffman, 2013).  This leads to a better well-being through the use of having the sense of control, hope, and optimism that lead to positive outcomes.

Increasing Happiness and Life Satisfaction 

The increase of happiness involves knowing what level of happiness satisfies individuals to where they know that at that level is where they know they will experience true happiness. 

The intensity of emotions is important, as when a person experiences a more enjoyable time and at that moment it signifies a fabulous time. Then, the intensity of the emotions experienced is crucial for knowing what happiness is (Compton & Hoffman, 2013).  Nevertheless, intensity of the emotion is not as important as the frequency of emotions experienced during a happy event. The consistency of feeling better helps increase an overall well-being.  

Another way to experience happiness and increase happiness is to follow the fundamentals of happiness developed by Michael Fordyce. The fundamentals are grouped in the following way: 

  1. Change activities, to be more active; be more productive at meaningful work; get organized; 
  1. Change your thinking; be more optimistic; be in the present; lower expectations and aspirations; to place happiness first; 
  1. To nurture relationships; develop an outgoing and sociable personality; spend more time socializing with others; 
  1. To work on personal growth; 
  1. To decrease negative emotions (Compton & Hoffman, 2013, pp. 71-72). 

After following these fundamentals to increasing happiness, studies have found that they are helpful and can help people to practice living this way to fulfill their life satisfaction.  You do not need high reaching goals in order to feel better, to feel happy, and to have a good life.  The bar does not need to be set high and reached in order to fulfill feeling happiness.   Setting realistic goals can help you see that you are capable of reaching them, achieving them, and learning that the struggle of accomplishing them can lead to happiness and feeling better. 

You can have the feeling of happiness, overcome your own depressive state, and fulfill your life satisfaction by engaging yourself in the activities you know bring you joy and knowing that it is your strengths that help you feel better.  The positive development you achieve through your strengths can help you to grasp the sense of happiness.  A different type of happiness from before today, away, yet, a happiness that helps you feel you are fulfilling your life from a different perspective. 

Positive psychology has a way to help anyone who is in need of reaching their level of happiness.  There are many events in people’s lives that change how they function, they begin different habits that may not be the best to help them continue to strive to achieve life satisfaction.  Happiness is important for the overall well-being of people.  The development of positive psychology is important to help people that have issues with anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, suicide, and life changes that affect their well-being.  However, it is not only about the issues that life brings about, it is about continuing to know what happiness is, how it can be reached, and how to develop an attitude that will help to continue to reach achievable goals to fulfill one’s happiness. 

Overall, there needs to be a positive focus for people to know that if they are already happy, the continuation of their happiness depends on knowing that it feels good, and that feeling good leads to positive emotions that create new approaches to maintaining their happiness level through positive interactions. 

People can learn to approach life events with their strengths and positivity.  There are many emotions that people feel throughout various life events, those emotions are linked to memory that triggers feelings about those times.  The information that is learned through emotions is absorbed , if more emotions were to be positive then there would be more positive associations, and they hint at what life satisfaction is about. 

Negative emotions will always affect people, however, the way they are paid attention to is important.  The importance does not lie on the negative emotions that narrow thoughts and the actions of people.  The importance lies on what from the other positive emotions and positive strengths that people know they have experienced, can they use to broaden their thoughts and actions against this one negative moment.

I find happiness in my ability to do different kinds of art, I find true happiness in my family and giving them what they need to flourish and grow as excellent, healthy human beings, and I find true happiness in serving others through my knowledge, through my help to make them aware that they’re worth it.

This is it! KJB Eccentric Art WIP (Work in Progress)
I’ll continue to work on this throughout the week. This is the idea, working to completely figure it out. Can’t wait to see what we talk about next week!

Thank you for reading KJB Eccentric Art!

References 
Biswas-Diener, R. (2013). Invitation to positive psychology: Research and tools for the professional : a 6-week course. Milwaukie: Positive Acorn. 
Compton, W. C., & Hoffman, E. (2013). Positive psychology: The science of happiness and flourishing. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 
Mattis, J. S., Simpson, N. G., Powell, W., Anderson, R. E., Kimbro, L. R., & Mattis, J. H. (2016). Positive psychology in African Americans. In E. C. Chang, C. A. Downey, J. K. Hirsch, & N. J. Lin (Eds.), Positive psychology in racial and ethnic minority groups: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 83-107). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

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