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Martin Seligman on BBC2 Newsnight

Martin Seligman is in the UK promoting his book ‘Flourish’ (well, he might be doing other things, as well).
Fairly gentle interview with Paxman on BBC2 Newsnight, where he made reasonable (ie fairly practical, fairly not happy-clappy) points.
Paxman cited his well-being mnemonic: the acronym PERMA:

1. Positive Emotions
2. Engagement (or flow)
3. Relationships/social connections
4. Meaning (and purpose)
5. Accomplishment

My son (visiting) said “Doesn’t everyone know that already?” Maybe that just shows how well we brought him up – or maybe it shows how obvious lots of Positive Psychology is. I said: “Well, fifty years ago, most psychologists wouldn’t have thought that was obvious.” – and then I thought  ‘but maybe fifty years ago, many non-psychologists would have though it was obvious.’

Psychology laboriously uncovering what sensible, thoughtful people (like my son) already know – again?

I was impressed by Seligman’s book Authentic Happiness: it actually gives research evidence supporting the principles he suggests (and although the title might make you wince, it isn’t really about ‘happiness’).

His research lab has a web site at A lot of it is based around various scales and tests that I don’t find very exciting, but you can pick up the basic ideas without doing the tests.

Here’s a video of Seligman talking about positive psychology from elsewhere. I can’t find a clip from Newsnight. here are several good videos of Seligman on YouTube. His talk to the TED conference is a good start. He’s also on youtube=


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