Positive psychology may help overcome fear, trauma
Baseer Syed, Toronto Star
When Shannon Polly served as a juror for a drug case recently, she did something that made her go into panic mode: she sniffed a vial containing a dangerous illegal drug.
As part of the trial, jurors were asked to smell a closed vial of PCP to determine whether the drug has an easily distinguishable odour. Polly did so as directed, but a second later she felt she had made a terrible mistake — because she was pregnant.
Instantly, her heart started to race and her throat went dry.
“I started to ‘catastrophize,’” says Polly, who works as a corporate communications trainer, facilitator and coach in Washington, D.C.“I thought to myself, ‘what if my baby comes out deformed? My husband would hate me and divorce me, and my parents would disown me.’”
Polly says such sudden bursts of dark thoughts can happen to anyone, including someone such as herself: a practitioner of positive psychology. Polly was able to calm herself by applying one of the techniques she learned from new research into the science of positive psychology. She realized her fears were based on a false assumption, namely that sniffing a closed vial of PCP is harmful.
The technique, which she refers to as a “positive approach to coping with stress,” involves separating fact from fiction. She asked herself, ‘where is the evidence for what I am telling myself?’ Then she saw a gynaecologist, who confirmed that her fears were baseless.
In recent years there has been a large increase in public demand for learning about positive psychology, says Lisa Sansom, a Toronto organizational consultant and board member of theCanadian Positive Psychology Association (CPPA).
“The recent growth of positive psychology is enormous,” Sansom says. “It went from being an idea to a movement.”
To read the full article: http://www.thestar.com/living/health/article/1237153--positive-psychology-may-help-overcome-fear-trauma