Positive Psychology, happiness, and motivation

I've been listening and reading a lot of books on positive psychology this year.  I heard about this fairly new field of psychology back in January and I've just been fascinated ever since.  After so many years of investigating what's wrong with people, psychologists started to ask what are the characteristics of thriving, happy people?  There's a lot to learn from these books. I guess the short answer is that meditation; getting immersed in your work or hobby; having a good relationship with your partner, or family, or friends; and feeling part of something larger (religion or community) are all key ingredients that lead to happiness.  It seems obvious but there are a lot of interesting things in there.  I didn't realize work was so important.  I thought I was mistaken to work so hard all my life but it turns out that was a good thing.  Last year I decided to work less and I was less happy.   I am a really lousy meditator, but I'm thinking I will make time for that and give it a try.  I have a hard time sitting still!

Why am I posting about this here?   Because I think there's a lot in the books that can help a person be motivated to eat healthy.  Dr. Fuhrman teaches us what to do, but it goes so much again the grain of our society, that it ends up being very hard for most people who try this.  I think these books really help.  Instead of feeling different and embarrassed about my food choices in public situations, I'm learning to feel  proud of my choices and accomplishments.  Here's a list of some of the books I've read so far, listed in order of my favorites (but it totally depends on your own geekiness and other personality traits which you would like most, and I like them all):  The Happiness Hypothesis, Flow, Authentic Happiness, The Happiness Advantage, and Positivity.  I'm listening to The Joy of Living right now.

Another book that is more directly related to eating healthy is the Beck Diet Solution.   It uses Cognitive Therapy to make you "think like a thin person".  I translate that to "think like a healthy person."  You learn to change your habits through training and replacing "sabotaging thoughts" with "helpful responses."  An author I recently discovered who I think I like even better is Linda Spangle.  She wrote "100 days of Weight Loss" and "Life is Hard, Food is Easy:  The 5-step plan to overcome emotional eating and lose weight on any diet."   She offers a free 100-day workbook on her website.

Finally, another book directly related to eating healthy is The Pleasure Trap.  This is an excellent book about the physiology and psychology of eating healthy vs unhealthy foods; it discusses the difference between happiness and pleasure.  I've posted about it before here.