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Positive psychology : A New Way to Aging Gracefully in India Presented By: Dr.
(Mrs. )Renu Jha- Principal(Education) Shri Jain-Divakar Mahavidyalaya,Indore In last one decade there has been lot of focus on Positive psychology for good and a departure from traditional psychology ,which targetted on fixing psychological problem related to pathology. Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology whose purpose was nicely explained.
Positive psychology is a science of positive aspects of human life, such as happiness, wellbeing and flourishing.It can be summarised in the words of its founder, Martin Seligman, as the ‘scientific study of optimal human functioning that aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive’. Aging is enevitable part of our life and despite the many advances in technology,gentics,it has not been possible to prevent Aging.
It is however, observed that with advancement in medical science aging population the world over is increasing.The country like India which is one of five largest economies in the world with its lop sided economic development,aging popoulation is increasing rapidly and it is estimated that within next two decade it be 30 crores . In the face of globalization, privatization, and liberalization, aging gracefully is quite a challenge specifically in countries like India where largest component of population is growing middle class,hence larger no. of middle class elders followed by poor and than economically well off rich class.Objective : To review the role of positive psychology as related to Aging Garcefully-Indian context. Method : Descriptive review : Review & analysis the previous studies and important researches in the areas of positive psychology & aging gracefully. Present paper reviews the important researches done in the area of Aging Gracefully with respect to positive psychology.
The paper also attempts the emphasis the importance of positive psychology as important ground in India on the subject ‘Aging Garcefully’.With rampant growth in population increase scarcity of resources resulted in race ti survive at any cost impacting social and moral values of individuals and disintegration of families from extended families to nuclear families and nuclear families to live-in relationship with ultimate consequence of isolation in old age resulting in number of socio-psychological complications e. g anxity,depression & other disorders. All these complications make it difficult to live happily and gracefully for Aging population. The Role of Positive Psychology becomes very important under such conditions.
As Psychology has more often than not emphasised the shortcomings of individuals as compared with their potentials. This particular approach focuses on the potentials. It is not targeted at fixing problems, but is focused on researching things that make life worth living instead.
In short, positive psychology is concerned not with how to transform, for example, –8 to –2 but with how to bring +2 to +8. Background Several humanistic psychologists—such as Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Erich Fromm—developed theories and practices that involved human happiness.Recently the theories of human flourishing developed by these humanistic psychologists have found empirical support from studies by positive psychologists. Positive psychology has also moved ahead in a number of new directions. Positive psychology began as a new area of psychology in 1998 when Martin Seligman, considered the father of the modern positive psychology movement,4 chose it as the theme for his term as president of the American Psychological Association,though the term originates with Maslow, in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality, and there have been indications that psychologists since the 1950s have been increasingly ocused on promoting mental health rather than merely treating illness. Seligman pointed out that for the half century clinical psychology “has been consumed by a single topic only – mental illness”, echoing Maslow’s comments. He urged psychologists to continue the earlier missions of psychology of nurturing talent and improving normal life.
Historical roots Positive psychology finds its roots in the humanistic psychology of the 20th century, which focused heavily on happiness and fulfillment.Earlier influences on positive psychology came primarily from philosophical and religious sources, as scientific psychology did not take its modern form until the late 19th century. Judaism promotes a Divine command theory of happiness: happiness and rewards follow from following the commands of the divine. The ancient Greeks had many schools of thought. Socrates advocated self-knowledge as the path to happiness. Plato’s allegory of the cave influenced western thinkers who believe that happiness is found by finding deeper meaning.Aristotle believed that happiness, or eudaimonia is constituted by rational activity in accordance with virtue over a complete life.
The Epicureans believed in reaching happiness through the enjoyment of simple pleasures. The Stoics believed they could remain happy by being objective and reasonable, and they describe many “spiritual exercises” that have been compared to the psychological exercises employed in CBT and Positive Psychology. Christianity continued to follow the Divine command theory of happiness.In the Middle Ages, Christianity taught that true happiness would not be found until the afterlife. The seven deadly sins are about earthly self-indulgence and narcissism.
On the other hand, the Four Cardinal Virtues and Three Theological Virtues were supposed to keep one from sin. During the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment, individualism came to be valued. Simultaneously, creative individuals gained prestige, as they were now considered to be artists, not just craftsmen.
Utilitarian philosophers such as John Stuart Mill believed that moral actions are those actions that maximize happiness for the most number of people, suggesting an empirical science of happiness should be used to determine which actions are moral (a science of morality). Thomas Jefferson and other proponents of democracy believed that “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are inalienable rights, and that it justifies the overthrow of the government. The Romantics valued individual emotional expression and sought their emotional “true selves,” which were unhindered by social norms.
At the same time, love and intimacy became the main motivations for people to get married. Indology also suggested most systematically virtues of being happy for age groups e. g. detachment, care, charity,tahnkfullness,meditation etc. First, the affirmation of a spiritual dimension to human existence for thousands of years in the Indian soil has shifted the search for ultimate happiness within rather than without, thereby rendering the pursuit of happiness in material-social world secondary.
The sense of happiness and well-being is considered as intrinsic to human nature rather than being contingent on external sources. This perspective has provided a framework to evaluate the relative significance of all the different sources of happiness and well-being contemporarily studied such as money, relationships, biological and psychological needs, religion, etc. This is illustrated through many stories and folk tales and the one which is often highlighted is the dialogue between Nachiketa the boy and Yama the lord of death, in Upanishads.While the latter offers all the tantalizing sources of pleasure and happiness the former sticks to his request to reveal the secret of death, which in other words is what ensures a person lasting happiness and well-being.
Previous studies have proved that there is a positive link between positive psychology and aging gracefully. This paper tries study and explore the role of positive psychology in Aging Well & Gracefully with several parmeters/mathods and approaches adopted to helping elders to live a Good Life –Live Gracefully. ************************************************************************** REFERENCES 1. Ageing and Work : A New Vista In HRD, Tabassum Rashid and Akbar Husain, Depat.
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