Gonzaga University News Feature
By Mary Jantsch
Monica Bartlett marches into class and waves her hands in the air to announce: “Alright everyone, here we go!” It’s a normal start to her Human Flourishing psychology class, but it’s no normal class.
The course focuses on a movement called positive psychology, begun in 1998 and defined as “the scientific pursuit of optimal human functioning and the building of a field focusing on human strength and virtue.”
Bartlett’s eyes grow large and her arms fly up for emphasis.
“Positive psychology is another set of tools to help you live your healthiest lifestyle,” she says. “The fixing sickness and disease aspect of psychology is hugely important but something was missing. That (approach) takes people from negative ten to neutral, but positive psychology moves people from zero to positive ten.”
How can it be applied to economic malaise?
Be grateful for what we have, not angry for what we don’t, she says.
Research shows that once our basic needs are met, money does not appear to buy happiness. A study measuring the happiness of people from various socioeconomic levels on a scale of 1 to 7 found the richest Americans averaged 5.7; same as the Pennsylvania Amish.
Bartlett applies it to her life and her children.
“There will be hard things and walls but we should capitalize on strengths,” she says.
An attitude of gratitude increases well-being and is free, says Bartlett, who has students write a letter to someone they are grateful to but have never told. The results are always powerful.
“You need to take the moment, become in the moment,” she says. “Really think about it. Express your gratitude.”
Thank you, Professor Bartlett.
Click on the following link to view a video of Professor Bartlett explaining positive psychology.