If you are a positive person and you have a lot of confidence and you make a mistake, then you can say to yourself `OK, you have made a mistake, get up and try again. If you make another one you can always eventually get it right, even if you have to ask for help.’ But I think if you are very non-confident person, then you think `Oh, I have made a mistake. I can’t do it!’ And that’s one of the main things I have heard from friends, that `I can’t do it’. But you always have to try!
Since the turn of the twenty-first century, key figures in the field of psychology such as Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2000) have called on us to explore human capacity rather than focusing on failings or inadequacies.
In 2000 the American Psychologist devoted much of the sixth issue of volume 55 to papers that made the argument from many perspectives. Additionally, the Handbook of positive psychology (Snyder and Lopez, 2002) has alerted us to the benefits of considering psychology from a positive perspective rather than one of pathology and incapacity.
Consistent with that approach is the ever-growing interest in the areas of health promotion and prevention and in those of coping and resilience. Resilience and how to achieve it is part of the well-being factor. Two additional areas, the achievement of happiness and the development of emotional intelligence assisted by social coping skills, contribute to today’s positive orientation of psychology.
The three major contexts that influence development ± family, school and community ± exert their impact at times singly and at others in concert. As the large-scale study by Resnick and colleagues (1997, cited in chapters 2 and 8) demonstrated, family connectedness and school connectedness were protective factors against health risk behaviours such as violence, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse (cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana) and early pregnancy. Furthermore, the combination of coping responses that are maximally associated with well-being involves the use of positive reappraisal and problem-solving and resigned acceptance.
Adolescents who used less problem-solving, less positive reappraisal, more logical analysis, more cognitive avoidance, and more resigned acceptance, were more depressed and anxious. Thus family and school connectedness can be construed as resources that come to the service of the individual.
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