Positive Psychology on Coursera by Dr Barbara Fredrickson


Despite being in the middle of an 8-week philosophy online course, a memoir workshop and a mentorship writing programme, I could not pass up the chance to learn more positive psychology, which I had read about. Thank goodness this 6-week course, with no certification (unless you sign up for the Signature Track programme which is payable) was easy, stress free and short.

The course is more a workshop discussion, rather than the lecture style I am used to. Dr Fredrickson sits with a panel, gives a short explanation on the work and papers she had done and gets the panelists to share their experience. The weekly 5-question multiple choice questions (MCQ) are easy to recap the topic for that week. Every week, we are also encouraged to participate in an experiment to improve our positive emotion.

In case you are not aware, here is the list of ten positive emotions – Joy, Gratitute, Security, Interest, Hope, Pride, Amusement, Inspiration, Awe and Love. There was a week where we were told to observe and note our daily positive emotions, as positive emotions are often masked and overlooked, unlike negative emotions like anger and sadness which tend to dominate. However, once you start noting your positive emotions, you are likely to see that there are often more positive emotions than negative emotions for most of us. For measurement, we can take positivity self-test on http://www.positivityresonance.com/survey.php?loc=pos to track. I was happy to note that I have been happily tracking my emotions on my Facebook status where an emocon announces my day – awe, blessed, happy, amused, appear regularly. My positive self test was also a high, until my hubby reminded me the reason could be that my teenage son, usually the bane in my daily life, had been away on boarding school for five weeks. True enough, my score plunged the day he returned.

To guard against negativity, I am thought to do Loving-Kindness meditation, something I was thought by my yoga teacher before but had not been practicing. http://www.positivityresonance.com/_avideo/Love%202.0%20Meditation%20Loving-Kindness_v2.mp3

Then there are other ways to improve positive emotions through micro-moments of connection. Micro-moments of love can be a smile for a stranger, a chat with a neighbour, something which is done in person, which makes whatsapp and facebook a poor substitute for micro-connection. Which is why I was delighted when my long lost cousin now living in USA, called me in person when before, we were just chatting over messenger. To hear her voice, even without seeing her brought us closer.

Positive emotion is a resonance with a rippling effect. (So too are negative emotions.) So practising and being aware of it helps make your environment a more pleasant one.

Incidentally, this course came when I was caught in a negative situation during the Chinese New Year and somehow, I drifted through the predicament without being adversely affected by it.

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About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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