Christian Long

Martin Seligman: The State of Psychology

In TED Talks on April 25, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Reflection by BRITTANY M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Martin Seligman:  The State of Psychology

“Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.” ~St. Augustine

One of the most lusted after things in the world is to find happiness and be content with one’s life. Sadly statistics done by the uplift program show that the rate of depressed children alone has increased to 23% and for people 18 and older at least 9.5% of people are effected by depression each year. These statistics are very saddening but what got me the most was that 15% of people with depression are likely to commit suicide.. Some may say depression can be avoided, others believe it is a sickness itself that must be treated just like any other disorder, either way it is very important we find a treatment to help these people see the joy in life but more importantly, to find lasting happiness.

Martin Seligman is a psychologist who decided to tackle the idea of positive psychology.

Positive psychology is different than other psychology. It focuses on finding peoples strengths and weaknesses and encourages them to pursue doing more things that they personally are stronger at. By doing things you are good at you become happier because more than likely you will succeed or at least feel better about yourself ,giving you a positive vibe. The one problem with this is finding the difference between being happy and not being depressed. It is possible to not be depressed but still not be happy. One of the problems with the way many psychologist work is that they focus on what is wrong but forget about the person them self and what they are trying to help them accomplish. Their goal should be to try to help make people’s lives normal and stable which in turn may help bring happiness. Positive psychology focus’ on what is best for the person and what will bring fulfillment to their lives.

The next step is to measure happiness in people and find what is a common variable in people who obtain happiness.

They found that people romantically involved with others had temporary happiness along with very social people. The only problem was that it was temporary happiness and it was dependant on others. They needed to find a common character that could be independent. Martin decided that the solution would come from the three steps of having a pleasant life, a good life, and lastly a meaningful life. In order to accomplish these goals one must perform skills that they excel in. Although this is a good step it is risky because patients can fall into a habituos lifestyle which can further the depression. A meaningful seems the most productive because it is easier to live a life with a purpose and have something to look forward to daily.

Overall Martin does an excellent job explaining positive psychology and how we can help those struggling with finding happiness.


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