Positive Psychology as Energonomics

23 January 2006 at 8:44 pm 2 comments

I picked up Martin Seligman’s Learned Optimism:  How to Change Your Mind and Your Life over the weekend and have read almost half of it so far.  Seligman is a founder of the “Positive Psychology” movement which studies healthy people and derives psychological theories from positive human qualities rather than their mental illness, which has been the model since Freud.  Seligman was mentioned in another book of psychology I finished recently called Destructive Emotions, which records dialogues between the Dalai Lama and Western psychologists and brain scientists and which also speaks of how we can literally change our minds, our synaptic connections, via meditation.  Learned Optimism speaks of the methods of Cognitive Therapy which direct us to pay attention to our self-talk and to change the destructive “explanatory styles” of interpreting our experience in pessimistic ways.

It occurred to me that this is another powerful example of “energonomics,” the concept I’ve created to lead us to focus on the literal energy flow into and through us.  The roots of the word suggest that we should consider our “management of energy,” and while this sounds like it applies to our use of fossil fuels (and it does, by God, it does!), it could also apply to our very thoughts.  If we remember that a mere 1% of the sun’s energy gets captured by plants and eventually makes its way into our body via food (I find it fascinating that British products label as “energy” what we label as calories), and that our brain, which is only 3% of our body’s weight, burns 20% of the sugar we consume, it becomes clear that our thoughts are a form of energy consumption.  Therefore, “changing our minds” by changing the way we think can be seen as a form of energy management, and trying to think more optimistically, as Seligman proposes we do in his book, is energonomically wise.

 

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Entry filed under: books, energonomics.

“Interpretive Energies” and Energonomics Quantum Epistemology

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eudaimonics « Scholaris Erratus  |  19 January 2008 at 7:13 pm

    […] is very much in line with my study of energonomics and echoes previous posts on “positive psychology” and “psychoenergonomics.”  Energonomics attempts to have us focus on managing […]

    Reply
  • 2. Eudaimonics « Scholaris Erratus  |  12 March 2008 at 12:51 am

    […] is very much in line with my study of energonomics and echoes previous posts on “positive psychology” and “psychoenergonomics.” Energonomics attempts to have us focus on managing […]

    Reply

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