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The psychological health model since it’s inception has largely focused on dealing with deficits and needs within an individuals life. This paradigm is shifting, however, largely due to an increasing emphasis on strengths-based interventions and approaches. One of the pioneering researchers in positive psychology right now is Dr. Martin Seligman. He’s the head of Penn University’s Positive Psychology Center. I recommend checking out his webpage and looking at some of the quizzes and surveys he has posted. They all illuminate various strengths the individual taking the quiz possesses.  As a mental health worker, I am in support of moving from being deficit based to strengths based.  I don’t think that it is reasonable to expect an individual or family to grow by not recognizing the metaphorical fertile soil within and without.  As a mental health worker, I hope that I continue to recognize the strengths and talents the individuals and families I work with possess.  As a field, together we can move from bringing people to the baseline to pointing people to happiness.

At the end of your life, what will have made it a success?  What will leave you happy?

Will it be to have worked for the highest position in your field?  Maybe to have achieved multiple graduate degrees?  Or a house in the city with a cabin the country?  Are the best things of life things?  Is the most satisfying calling we have one to achieve?

Research put out by the University of Rochester found prelimiary data that suggests that happiness isn’t found in extrinsic goals like aquiring stuff or job titles, but is instead found in relationships, service to others, and self growth.

It’s good to know that even when so many people’s earning power is being decreased and jobs are hard to come by, happiness isn’t ultimately found in the stuff money can buy.University of Rochester (2009, May 14). Achieving Fame, Wealth And Beauty Are Psychological Dead Ends, Study Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 14, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/05/090514111402.htm

It has been empirically supported that brain chemicals and outside substances have an influence on sperm and egg cells, thus subsequently, the embryos and children that those gametes eventually produce.  A scientist in Mexico recently proposed that endorphins and thus happiness may be one of the brain chemicals that plays a role in determining the genetic make up of gametes.  This is in addition to and aside from existing genetic make up affecting temperament.

Elsevier (2009, May 14). Can Happiness Be Inherited?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 14, 2009, from­ /releases/2009/05/090514101937.htm

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