Project

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Martin Seligman
Submitted to: Ms Rabia Javed Group Members Amna Rassul Bilal Mughal Syed Sajjad Shah

Table of Contents
About Martin Seligman........................................................................................................2 Learned Helplessness...........................................................................................................3 The Acquisition of Learned Helplessness............................................................................4 Learned Helplessness in Human Beings..............................................................................5 Learned Helplessness and Stress ........................................................................................6 Learned Helplessness and Depression.................................................................................8 Explanatory Style.................................................................................................................9 Positive Psychology .........................................................................................................12 Positive Therapy................................................................................................................13 The ABCDE Method of Learned Optimism......................................................................17 Adversity........................................................................................................................17 Belief..............................................................................................................................18 Consequences ................................................................................................................18 Disputation.....................................................................................................................18 Energization...................................................................................................................19 Criticism.............................................................................................................................19 References..........................................................................................................................21

About Martin Seligman
He was born on August 12, 1942, in Albany, New York. He is an American psychologist and writer of self-help books. He is well known for his work on the idea of "learned helplessness", and more recently, for his contributions to leadership in the field of positive psychology. Martin Seligman obtained his B.A at Princeton University in 1964 and did his graduate work in experimental psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his doctorate in 1967. he began his academic career that year as an assistant professor at Cornell University of Pennsylvania, where he is now professor of Psychology. Seligman has been awarded several visiting fellow at Maudsley Hospital University of London. In 1978 -79 he was in residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, and later he accepted a fellowship at the Max-Planck Institute in Berlin. Like many of the other personality theorists discussed din this book, Seligman is

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engaged in the practice of clinical psychology where he can apply the principles of his theory in helping people with real-life problems. Drawing on his clinical work and his teaching experience, Seligman has recently collaborated on a textbook in abnormal psychology, (Rosenhan and Seligman. 1984). In 1976, in recognition of his research and writing, the American Psychological Association presented Seligman with its Early Career Award.

Learned Helplessness
In the natural world, Seligman observes, traumatic events that pa person or an animal can do little or nothing to control may occur, when the organism discovers that it can do nothing to escape or ward off ward such an event when it learns that reinforcement and behavior are not contingent on each other it may acquire a reaction that Seligman calls learned helplessness. Learned helplessness has three components: emotional, motivational, and cognitive. First, Seligman says, the organism experiences emotional disruption, and intense experience peculiar to the situation of having no control over unpleasant events. Second, the organism experiences reduced motivation; it be have passively and appears to “give up” making little effort to escape a noxious stimulus. Third, and most serious of all, is cognitive deficit that interferes with the organism’s capacity to perceive the relation between response and reinforcement in other, similar situations in which control is possible. In the original formulation of his theory, Seligman proposed that learned helplessness and the psychotherapy phenomenon of depression have similar origins. The behaviors of the depressed person strikingly resembled behaviors associated with learned helplessness. More important, methods that reduced experimentally induced learned helplessness were shown to be effective also in treating depressive reactions. As we will see, this proposal if Seligman’s was rather widely criticized, and he has since revised his conception of the relations between learned helplessness and depression. To understand his current formulation, let us first look at his model of how learned helplessness is acquired.

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The Acquisition of Learned Helplessness
Seligman (Overmier and Seligman, 1967) demonstrated in an early experiment how the reaction of learned helplessness is acquired. A dog was placed in a shuttle box. Periodically, atone was sounded, and shortly after the tone the dog experienced a painful but physically harmless shock. At the onset of the shock, the dog whined and ran about. At one point, while the shock was still being administered, he happened to jump the barrier in the middle of the box. Immediately, both shock and tone ceased. With successive trials, the dog jumped the barrier more and more quickly. Eventually, he waited quite calmly in front of the barrier, nimbly jumping over it as soon as the tone sounded and thus avoiding the shocks. In the next phase of Seligman’s study, another dog was first placed in a restraining device, so that it could not move, and given a number of brief shocks. There was nothing the dog could do to escape or avoid these shocks. When this second dog was put into the shuttle box a day later, initially it acted muck like the first dog. Quickly, however differences became apparent. Even if the second dog accidentally jumped the barrier, it never learned specifically to cross the barrier to escape or avoid shock, Instead , it sat or lay passively, whimpering, until the tone and shock ended.

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Like the first dog in this study, almost all dogs learn the barrier jumping response to escape or avoid aversive stimulation. In contrast, like the second dog, most animals that are given uncontrollable shock experience respond passively to the shock in the shuttle box situation and show little or no learning of the barrier jumping response. This learned helplessness effect has been demonstrated not only in dogs but in cat (Thomas and Dewald, 1977), dish (Padilla, 1973), rats (Seligman and Beagley, 1975), and human beings (e.g., Hiroto and Seligman, 1975; Klein, Fencil-Morse, and Seligman, 1976).

Learned Helplessness in Human Beings
Learned helplessness can be induced in human subjects by uncontrollable unpleasant events that are not, however, necessarily physically noxious. Hiroto and Seligman (1975) presented three groups of college students with a shuttle box arrangement in which a subject could escape or avoid a loud noise by moving his or her hand from one side of the box to thee other. Before confronting this situation, one group of students was given discrimination learning problems that they could and did solve. The second group was given problems that were insoluble though the students did not know this. The third groups were given no problems at all. Subjects who had been given problems they could

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solve or no problems at all quickly learned how to escape the noise in the shuttle box situation. Subjects who had been given insoluble problems and thus subjected to failure did not learn. Seligman suggest that these results reveal primarily a motivational deficit in the second group of subjects; for some reason, these students were not motivated to initiate responses that would ward off undesirable outcomes. Another experiment highlighted the cognitive deficit that is one of the symptoms of learned helplessness. Miler and Seligman subjected group of students to an unpleasant noise that sounded periodically. The first groups of students were allowed to discover a response that terminated the noise. The second group, however, were let to believe that noting they did would affect the noise, that it would terminate for reasons out of their control. A third group of students received no pre treatment. Then, all groups were given a series of anagrams to solve. The group that had experience in escapable noise reached fewer solutions then did the other two groups. The emotional disturbance typical of learned helplessness has also been demonstrated. For example, glass and singer found that human subjects who were forced to endure noxious stimulation passively reported more emotional distress and physical upset than forming some instrumental act. Animal subjects similarly forced to endure noxious stimulation are more likely to develop ulcers and to show weight loss, loss of appetite, and other symptoms of severe emotional stress than are subjects whose responses control the duration of noxious events.

Learned Helplessness and Stress
If subjects have been exposed only briefly to inescapable stress, learned helplessness is a transitory phenomenon that wears off quickly. Investigations with animals show, however, that repeated exposure to stressful conditions may lead to severe emotional reactions and to prolonged motivational and cognitive deficits. Animals that have been brought up in laboratory settings and thus have had no opportunity to learn to cope with the rough and tumble of the natural world are far more prone to exhibit learned

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helplessness after exposure to unavoidable stress than are animals raised in natural settings (Seligman and Maier, 1967; Seligman and Groves, 1970). Human beings tested in the laboratory also differ in susceptibility to the helplessness syndrome. The life experiences that make some people particularly likely to become helpless are not known, but differences have been shown to be related to people’s answers on the Rotter I-E Scale( Rotter, 1966), which measures belief in internal versus external control of reinforcement (Hiroto, 1974; Dweck and Repucci, 1973). “External” people , who believe that what happens to then in life is a matter of luck and beyond control , are more likely to become helpless after exposure to inescapable stress than are “internal” people, who believe that their destiny is largely in their own hands. There is a rather simple “cure” for the fleeting kinds of helplessness induced in human subjects in the laboratory. We can give such people experience in successfully mastering some task soon after they have been exposed to inescapable aversive stimuli (e.g., Klein and Seligman, 1976). “Curing” people in real-life situations is a little more complicated. In one study, Dweck (1975) tested “treatment” procedures and principles, these children expected to fail, and they did badly in their school work when failure threatened. In addition, they were found more likely than other forces outside themselves and their failures to lack of ability (both of these causes are not controllable) rather than to their own lack of effort (a cause that is controllable). Dweck dividend her young subjects into two groups and, in an extended program, gave them problems to solve in each of a large number of sessions. In one group, the children were taught to take responsibility for their failures and to attribute them to lack of sufficient effort. In a second group, the children were given only success experiences. Then, in a post treatment test, all the children were given difficult problems and, inevitably, were unable to solve a number of them. The subsequent performance of the children who had success experiences deteriorated, but performance of the children trend to take personal responsibility held up or improved.

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Learned Helplessness and Depression
As we have said, in his early work, Seligman noted striking parallels between learned helplessness, induced in the laboratory, and the phenomenon of depression, specifically, reactive depression. Reactive depression gets its name from the common hypothesis that this state is a reaction to emotionally upsetting event such as the loss of one’s job, the death of a loved one, or failure in some valued activity. Most of us suffer mild depression from time to time; we are “blue”, or “down” but for some people that state may be severe and long lasting and even carry with it the possibility of suicide. People who are depressed are typically slowed in speech and movement. They generally indicate that they feel unable to act or to make decision. They may appear to have “given up” suffering from what one writer (beck, 1976) describes as a “paralysis of will.” When asked to perform some task, depressed people are likely to insist that it is hopeless to try because they are incapable of success and to describe their own performance as much worse than it actually is. All the foregoing behaviors are seen also in the learned helplessness syndrome, and Seligman originally proposed that underlying depression “is not a generalized pessimism, but pessimism specific to the effects of one’s own skilled actions” (1975, p. 122). This belief, that reinforcement is not contingent on one’s action is, of course, the core of learned helplessness. Thus, Seligman proposed, depression represents a type of learned helplessness and is triggered by the same cause: experiencing traumatic events that one’s best efforts cannot ward off and that one feels powerless to control. In a test of this model of depression, Miller and Seligman (1975) had groups of mildly depressed and nondepressed students perform two series of tasks; one involving skills and the other involving chance. Before each task, these investigators had the student state his or her expectation of success. On the skill task, the nondepressed students adjusted their expectations up and down, depending on whether they had succeeded or failed on the preceding problem; on the chance task, their expectations showed little change. The depressed students also shoed little change in expectations on the chance task, but they shoed the same pattern on the skill task. Moreover, nondepressed students who had been

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subjected to the inescapable noxious stimulus situation discussed earlier behaved like the depressed students. Thus in this study, helplessness that was induced in the laboratory and naturally occurring depression were shown to have the same effect, of reducing the expectation that one’s own efforts can influence outcomes. We have already noted that Seligman’s ideas about the relationship between learned helplessness and depression did not go unchallenged. As a matter of fact, his early work was criticized by a number of writers, (see, e.g. Blaney, 1977). One important criticism was that Seligman’s theory did not account adequately for the fact that depression and helplessness each may be chronic or transitory, general or specific. Another observation was that the theory did not address wee as in people who are depressed. Ina reformulation of his theory, Seligman (Abramson, Seligman, and Teasdale, 1978) proposed that learned helplessness is one risk factor (among others) in depression. By this he means that people who are extremely helpless are at a greater risk than others for developing depressive symptoms.

Explanatory Style
Seligman has undertaken a number of studies to evaluate his reformulated theory of learned helplessness and depression (these studies are summarized in Peterson and Seligman, 1984), and the new theory has received its share of criticism too (se, e.g., Cyone and Gotlieb, 1983; Wortman and Dintzer, 1978). Noticeable in the new theory, however and of particular interest to us is the personality variable that Seligman calls explanatory style, or the characteristic manner a person uses to explain events that occur in his or her life. Seligman is particularly interested in the way explanatory style enables people to handle bad things that happen in their lives, and her argues that explanatory style determines whether a person is at risk for feeling helpless and depressed. Explanatory style is reflected in three crucial factors: internal external, stable-transient, and global limited. According to Seligman, the depressive explanatory style is observed in people who use internal stable and global explanations for bad events in their lives. These are the people who say, “It’s me; it’s going to last forever; and it’s going to affect 9

everything I do” (Peterson and Seligman, 1984, p.350) Such people feel that they have no control over events and that no actions of their will control life in the future. They are according to Seligman, at a risk to develop symptoms of helplessness and possibly depression.

Factors That Reflect Explanatory Style
FACTOR Internal-External MANIFESTATION
Internal: My car is stuck in three feet of water because I am careless about where I park it. External: My car is stuck in three feet of water because the rainwater exceeded the dam's capacity and the street is flooded. Stable-Transient Stable: This bad event happened because I am careless and always will be. Transient: This bad event happened because of a temporary environmental condition; the rain will stop and the floodwaters will racede. Global-Limited Global: This bad event will affect everything else in my life; I may lose my job because I have no car in which to get work; without an income I will be evicted from my apartment; and so on. Limited: This bad event may cost a little money, in terms of replacements parts of my car and This bad event may cost a little money, in terms of replacements parts of my car and

In one study, Seligman and his co-worker examined college students’ reactions to low midterm grades (Metalsky, Abramson, Seligman, Semmel, and Peterson, 1982). The investigators predicted that students who used a depressive explanatory style-students who would explain a low midterm grade by thinking they were stupid, that they would always be stupid, and that they would never be graduated, get a good job, get married, have children, have a nice job, a nice care-would be likely to react to such grades with feelings of depression. Students who believed they received low grades because the test was poorly constructed and who also thought that the final would have better questions, 10

that the midterm was only 25 percent of the semester grade, and that this one course was not all that important to the future would be less likely to react in this manner.

Students in an introductory psychology course answered an explanatory-style questionnaire, indicating what their aspirations for midterm grades were- that is, what grades would make them happy and what grades would make them unhappy. Before the midterm and again after it, each student also filled out a checklist that assessed mood, including depressed mood. In the line with what they had predicted, the investigators found that students who received “bad” midterm grades (defined as grades that were

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lower than or equal to the grades they had initially said would make them unhappy), and who used internal, stable, and global explanations gave evidence of increased depressive moods after they received their midterm grades. In reformulating his theory, Seligman seems to have made it more central to personality theory. He has begun to use personality variable such as internal versus external control, and he has introduced a cognitive component- that is useful in the analysis of personality. Seligman is also interested in how personality variables may be changed, so that persons with particular explanatory styles may be helped to respond to “bad” events in more adaptive ways.

Positive Psychology
The field of Positive Psychology at the subjective level is about positive subjective experience: well being and satisfaction (past), and flow, joy, the sensual pleasures, and happiness (present), and constructive cognitions about the future-optimism, hope, and faith. At the individual level it is about positive individual traits -- the capacity for love and vocation, courage, interpersonal skill, aesthetic sensibility, perseverance, forgiveness, originality, future-mindedness, high talent, and wisdom. At the group level it is about the civic virtues and the institutions that move individuals toward better citizenship: responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance, and work ethic (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Gillham and Seligman, 1999). According to Martin Seligman, the notion of a Positive Psychology movement began at a moment in time a few months after I had been elected President of the American Psychological Association. It took place in my garden while I was weeding with my fiveyear old daughter, Nikki. I have to confess that even though I write books about children, I'm really not all that good with them. I am goal-oriented and time-urgent and when I'm weeding in the garden, I'm actually trying to get the weeding done. Nikki, however, was throwing weeds into the air and dancing around. I yelled at her. She walked away, came back, and said, "Daddy, I want to talk to you."

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"Yes, Nikki?" "Daddy, do you remember before my fifth birthday? From the time I was three to the time I was five, I was a whiner. I whined every day. When I turned five, I decided not to whine anymore. That was the hardest thing I've ever done. And if I can stop whining, you can stop being such a grouch." This was for me an epiphany, nothing less. I learned something about Nikki, something about raising kids, something about myself, and a great deal about my profession. First, I realized that raising Nikki was not about correcting whining. Nikki did that herself. Rather, I realized that raising Nikki is about taking this marvelous skill -- I call it "seeing into the soul," -- amplifying it, nurturing it, helping her to lead her life around it to buffer against her weaknesses and the storms of life. Raising children, I realized, is more than fixing what is wrong with them. It is about identifying and nurturing their strongest qualities, what they own and are best at, and helping them find niches in which they can best live out these positive qualities. As for my own life, Nikki hit the nail right on the head. I was a grouch. I had spent fifty years mostly enduring wet weather in my soul, and the last ten years being a nimbus cloud in a household of sunshine. Any good fortune I had was probably not due to my grouchiness, but in spite of it. In that moment, I resolved to change.

Positive Therapy
Martin Seligman has venture a radical proposition about why psychotherapy works as well as it does. He has suggested that Positive Psychology, albeit intuitive and inchoate, is a major effective ingredient in therapy as it is now done, and if recognized and honed, will become an even ore effective approach to psychotherapy. But before doing so, it is necessary to say what he believes about "specific" ingredients in therapy. He believes that there are some clear specifics in psychotherapy. Among them are: • Applied Tension for Blood and Injury Phobia

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• • • • •

Penile Squeeze for Premature Ejaculation Cognitive Therapy for Panic Relaxation for Phobia Exposure for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Behavior Therapy for Enuresis

His book, “What You Can Change and What You Can't”, (1994) documents the specifics and reviews the relevant literature. But specificity of technique to disorder is far from the whole story. There are three serious anomalies that present specificity theories of the effectiveness of psychotherapy stub their toes on. First, effectiveness studies (field studies of real world delivery), as opposed to laboratory efficacy studies of psychotherapy, show a substantially larger benefit of psychotherapy. The Consumer Reports study, for example, showed that over 90% of the respondents reported substantial benefits, as opposed to about 65% in efficacy studies of specific psychotherapies (Seligman, 1995, 1996). Second, when one active treatment is compared to another active treatment, specificity tends to disappear or becomes quite a small effect. Lester Luborsky's corpus and the National Collaborative Study of Depression are examples. The lack of robust specificity also is apparent in much of the drug literature. Methodologists argue endlessly over flaws in such outcome studies, but they cannot hatchet the general lack of specificity away. The fact is that almost no psychotherapy technique that I can think of (with the exceptions above) shows big, specific effects when it is compared to another form of psychotherapy or drug, adequately administered. Finally, add the seriously large "placebo" effect found in almost all studies of psychotherapy and of drugs. In the depression literature, a typical example, around 50% of patients will respond well to placebo drugs or therapies. Effective specific drugs or therapies usually add another 15% to this, and 75% of the effects of antidepressant drugs can be accounted for by their placebo nature (Kirsch & Sapirstein, 1998).

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So why is psychotherapy so robustly effective? Why is there so little specificity of psychotherapy techniques or specific drugs? Why is there such a huge placebo effect? Let him speculate on this pattern of questions. Much of the relevant ideas have been put forward under the derogatory misnomer "nonspecific." He has rename two classes of "nonspecific" as "tactics" and "deep strategies." Among the tactics of good therapy are: • • • • • • • • • Attention Authority Figure Rapport Tricks of the trade (e.g., "Let's pause here", rather than "Let's stop here") Paying for services Trust Opening up Naming the problem And many more.

The deep strategies are not mysteries. Good therapists almost always use them, but they do not have names, they are not studied, and locked into the disease model, we do not train our students to use them to better advantage. I believe that the deep strategies are all techniques of Positive Psychology and that they can be the subject of large scale science and of the invention of new techniques which maximize them. One major strategy is instilling hope (Seligman, 1991, Snyder, Ilardi, Michael, & Cheavens, 2000). But I am not going to discuss this one now, as it is often discussed elsewhere in the literature on placebo, on explanatory style and hopelessness, and on demoralization (Seligman, 1994). Another is the "Building of Buffering Strengths," the Nikki principle. He believes that it is a common strategy among almost all competent psychotherapists to first identify and then help their patients build a large variety of strengths, rather than just to deliver specific damage healing techniques. Among the strengths built in psychotherapy are:

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• • • • • • • • • • • •

Courage Interpersonal skill Rationality Insight Optimism Honesty Perseverance Realism Capacity for pleasure Putting troubles into perspective Future mindedness Finding purpose

Assume for a moment that the buffering effects of strength-building strategies have a larger effect size than the specific "healing" ingredients that have been discovered. If this is true, the relatively small specificity found when different active therapies and different drugs are compared and the massive placebo effects both follow. One illustrative deep strategy is "narration." He believes that telling the stories of our lives, making sense of what otherwise seems chaotic, distilling and discovering a trajectory in our lives, viewing our lives with a sense of agency rather than victim hood are all powerfully positive (Csikszentmihalyi, 1993). He believes that all competent psychotherapy forces such narration, and this buffers against mental disorder in just the same way hope does. Notice, however, that narration is not a primary subject of research on therapy process, that we do not have categories of narration, that we do not train our students to better facilitate narration, that we do not reimburse practitioners for it. The use of Positive Psychology in psychotherapy exposes a fundamental blind spot in outcome research: The search for EVT's (empirically-validated therapies) has in its present form handcuffed us by focusing only on validating the specific techniques that 16

repair damage and that map uniquely into DSM IV categories. The parallel emphasis in Managed Care Organizations on delivering only brief treatments directed solely at healing damage may rob patients of the very best weapons in the arsenal of therapy-making our patients stronger human beings. That by working in the medical model and looking solely for the salves to heal the wounds we have misplaced much of our science and much of our training. That by embracing the disease model of psychotherapy, we have lost our birthright as psychologists-a birthright that embraces both healing what is weak as well as nurturing what is strong.

The ABCDE Method of Learned Optimism
After discussing how optimistic people out-perform their pessimistic peers in almost every metric, he proposes a specific pattern of thoughts to eliminate the counterproductive aftermath of an unhappy experience. He believes that the most destructive part of the experience is the "down" period afterward, because when we're down (like when I'm having a stressful day at work), we don't deal with stressors as positively as we could if we were in a better mood. He calls his approach the ABCDE method. A – Adversity: Define the problem. B – Belief: Define the belief system that is interpreting that adversity. C – Consequences: Define the consequences arising from the adversity and the (in) action. D – Disputation: Argue the core belief and effectively dispute the belief that follows the adversity. E – Energization: The positive feelings that overcome the negative thoughts after the disputation step.

Adversity
This is the original stress that caused the behavior or thought pattern. "I yelled at the kids for being rowdy." As the Buddhists will tell you, "stuff happens". Some stressors can be

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eliminated by reorganizing your life, but you will always face challenges that can't be avoided.

Belief
This is the core of Seligman's technique. Pessimistic people (and people in a bad mood are that way because they're thinking pessimistically) believe their troubles are 3 things:
• • •

Permanent (a long-term problem that cannot be eliminated) Pervasive (reflecting a larger issue that dominates their life) Personal (it is part of who they are: they are completely responsible)

By contrast, optimistic people tend to believe their problems are:
• • •

Temporary (a short-term issue that will be resolved soon) Specific (a narrow problem that doesn't correlate to other areas of their life) Impersonal (cropping up because of a unique situation originating outside themselves)

Seligman makes a point of saying his method is not about pretending all your problems are someone else's fault, but rather not accepting responsibility for every bad thing that happens in your life just because you were involved.

Consequences
Your instinctive reaction to the event. "I felt angry and frustrated with myself for the rest of the afternoon." This is usually negative, or else we wouldn't be worried about it.

Disputation
This is where you take back control of your mind, using 4 techniques to counter the negative attitude that is poisoning the air around you (use as many as necessary to break the cycle):

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Evidence If you’re negative belief is "I have such a rotten temper" (permanent, pervasive and personal), think of other occasions that contradict it. "The last time they were rowdy, I thought it was cute and just smiled."

Alternatives The pessimistic answer is never the only one. Think of other lesspermanent, specific and impersonal possibilities that would explain the event, even if they feel less likely to you. “I’m stressed-out because of work today. I didn’t sleep well last night. They’re especially wild today because they didn’t get their naps.”

Implications Often, we over generalize our beliefs, making them more pervasive or permanent than is appropriate. Question this. “I have such a bad temper”; “They’re so badly-behaved”: does one occurrence really define an entire person? If so, don't the positive, generous occurrences in your life define you too?

Change Sometimes the negative thoughts are true and accurate (I really shouldn't yell at the kids), but not constructive. Instead of trying to deny them, focus on all the things you can do to change the problem. “We can practice calming down after an exciting event, so they don’t spiral out of control when they get riled up. I can take a deep breath before reprimanding them.”

Energization
This is the result of improving your attitude about the event. You'll have more energy to deal with the rest of your day, good events as well as bad. When you have energy, it manifests itself as compassion, generosity and joy that improves the lives of everyone you meet.

Criticism
Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and reformulation.

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Abramson, Lyn Y.; Seligman, Martin E.; Teasdale, John D. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Vol 87(1), Feb 1978, 49-74. Criticizes and reformulates the learned helplessness hypothesis. It is considered that the old hypothesis, when applied to learned helplessness in humans, has 2 major problems: (a) It does not distinguish between cases in which outcomes are uncontrollable for all people and cases in which they are uncontrollable only for some people (universal vs. personal helplessness), and (b) it does not explain when helplessness is general and when specific, or when chronic and when acute. A reformulation based on a revision of attribution theory is proposed to resolve these inadequacies. According to the reformulation, once people perceive noncontingency, they attribute their helplessness to a cause. This cause can be stable or unstable, global or specific, and internal or external. The attribution chosen influences whether expectation of future helplessness will be chronic or acute, broad or narrow and whether helplessness will lower self-esteem or not. The implications of this reformulation of human helplessness for the learned helplessness model of depression are outlined. (92 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved.

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References
Book

Websites: 1. http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/ppsnyderchapter.htm 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_psychology 3. http://www.econsultant.com/book-reviews/learned-ptimismby-martin-seligman.html 4. http://billgathen.com/cblog/index.php?/archives/3-LearnedOptimism-Martin-Seligman.html

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