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Diener et al's (1999) review in Psychological Bulletin provides an excellent entry point into the well-being literature. It reviews the literature with regards to the many causes and correlates of well-being. Individual Differences First, individual differences explain a lot of variance in well-being. This is often seen in terms of personality traits such ...


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As far as I know, it has not been shown that a positive attitude has any effect on the immune system (ignoring the less significant placebo effect). What has been shown is that long-term stress has a negative effect on the immune system. Short-term stress actually has a positive effect on the immune system, but long-term stress has been correlated with ...


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Ahh yes, The Secret. I'd recommend starting with Wikipedia for a critical view of the "law of attraction" and the book as a whole. The former page has some particularly good excerpts to offer (emphasis added; hyperlinks not preserved, though I'd appreciate help editing them back in): Skeptical Inquirer magazine criticized the lack of falsifiability and ...


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Writing therapy There is quite a lot of research on writing therapy and expressive writing more generally. As you note, much of this research relates to writing about negative emotional experiences. There is some support for the positive mental health benefits in writing about traumatic events (e.g., see the meta-analysis by Smyth, 1998). While the ...


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I'm giving this as an answer, because it is too long for a comment: The Law of Attraction and Positive Thinking are not the same and should not be confused as they are in the question. The Law of Attraction – as it was developed in the New Thought Movement, taken up and spread in the New Age community by Esther and Jerry Hicks, and made popular by the ...


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I would look at Jennifer Crocker and Brenda Major's paper in 1989, Psychological Review, entitled "Social Stigma and Self-Esteem: The Self-Protective Properties of Stigma" which focuses on how being the target of social stigma can actually be protective of one's self-esteem. It's not precisely what you're discussing but it comes the closest in the ...


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Empirically supported treatments are specific interventions which controlled (generally quantitative) research has demonstrated to be effective for specific populations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence-based_practice). The empirical literature on gratitude is rapidly expanding, but, as many of the reviews I will mention note, still emerging. Several ...


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It seems like a few distinctions are relevant here. First there is a distinction between morality and evolutionary adaptiveness. Overt displays of arrogance are often considered a character flaw and immoral. Whether being arrogant is beneficial from an evolutionary perspective is a very different question. Thus, it would not be a contradiction to say that ...


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Just to be clear, Wood et al (2009) summarise their propositions on page 861: Thus, we propose that positive self-statements have the potential to make one feel worse if they lie outside one’s latitude of acceptance, are self-discrepant and thereby highlight one’s failures to meet one’s standards, and arouse self-verification motives. We further ...



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