Dr Seligman's New Book

Chapter 7 describes the beginnings of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness - You will see how it all started.

In his latest book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, Seligman announces, “I actually detest the word happiness, which is so overused that it has become almost meaningless.”

The term, he writes, is unworkable for science, any practical goal such as education or therapy, or just changing your life. A student sparked his epiphany a few years ago when she bravely told Seligman that his theory had a gaping hole. He had left out success and mastery, which drive accomplishment for its own sake and leave money and happiness in the dust as motivators. The goal of positive psychology is what we choose for its own sake, he says. It cannot be in service of anything, least of all a mood like happiness.

Seligman, at 68, recasts the main topic of positive psychology as “well-being,” a construct no more real than the weather, but like it possessing measurable elements. As he renders it, well-being is pillared by five autonomous elements, fashioned into the mnemonic PERMA: positive emotion, engagement, meaning, accomplishment, and positive relationships.

Rather than increasing happiness, the goal of the new theory is to increase the amount of flourishing in one’s own life and on the planet. He defines flourishing as PERMA plus at least three of five other qualities: positive self-esteem, optimism, resilience, vitality and self-determination. (Denmark, with 33% of its citizens flourishing, led 23 European nations studied by researchers; in contrast, slightly more than 5% of citizens in Bulgaria, Portugal, and Russia were flourishing.)

Scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being. (The most satisfying moment of Seligman’s life came after buying $100 worth of stamps and giving them away to a long, frustrated line in the post office.) Throughout the book Seligman shares a variety of exercises he says will increase well-being. One that I have begun practicing, though the science of it seems dubious, goes like this: each night for a week, before sleep, write down three good things that happened during the day and briefly say why.

Read about Larry Dewey and his exceptional work with Veterans and Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress

Based on his 20+ years' experience of treating combat veterans, Dr Larry Dewey explores the war trauma and life adaptation of combatants over two decades of intensive treatment. He addresses moral, spiritual and existential issues while also attending to the important physiological and psychological symptoms. Using case material, thoughts, experiences and, literally, the words of 65 veterans of various wars, he portrays in depth and with meaningful detail the process of successful treatment and the eventual positive adaptation for these veterans. 

The volume explores the deep pain and burden of killing and the role of propaganda and love in starting and maintaining war. Through the veterans' stories the author portrays the personal war of the ordinary combatant and the burden of guilt, grief and pain they often carry afterwards. The second part tackles the actual healing process, and part three explores the concepts of sin, confession, mercy, forgiveness, redemption and love, and how veterans have used them in aiding their own recovery from war's grief and moral pain.



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