Positive Psychology Portland ME

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Werner Laura Lmt Massage & Polarity
(207) 772-7979
25 Middle St
Portland, ME
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Massage Practitioner, Psychologist

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Reed Linda Counslr
(207) 871-1000
95 Exchange St
Portland, ME
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Psychologist

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Ferrier Mary Jane Psychologst
(207) 774-7306
19 South St
Portland, ME
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Psychologist, Registered Nurse

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Hood Betsy Counslr
(207) 828-1512
22 Free St
Portland, ME
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Psychologist

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Gardner Judith Dodrill Md
(207) 780-8148
225 Commercial St
Portland, ME
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Osteopath (DO), Psychologist

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Sortwell Cynthia G Md
(207) 879-2556
95 India St
Portland, ME
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Osteopath (DO), Psychologist

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Kohaut Susan Psycholgst
(207) 772-4211
30 Pleasant St
Portland, ME
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Psychologist

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Drach Kerry M Psycholgst
(207) 761-9401
132 Pleasant St
Portland, ME
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Psychologist

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Mckim Barbara J Psycholgst
(207) 774-9615
57 Exchange St
Portland, ME
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Psychologist

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Rough James H Phd Psychologist
(207) 771-2001
10 Moulton St
Portland, ME
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Psychologist

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Making Happiness a Habit

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By Nancy Ross-Flanigan

One weekend last winter, while my husband was off bonding with the menfolk in his family, I indulged in a thoroughly girly pastime: reading my earliest diaries. Sandwiched between covers of green leatherette and puffy pink vinyl were all the daily details of my preteen and early teenage years, and I wondered for a moment before cracking the first volume if I really wanted to dredge them up. Would I find page after page of melancholy meanderings documenting my adolescent angst? Woeful accounts of heartbreak and angry outbursts against authority?

I took a deep breath, began to read, and then began to smile, surprised and delighted that the girl I found living in those yellowed pages was happy, happy, happy, nearly every day. Parties, bike rides, and bowling were “a blast,” but even dissecting a frog or giving a speech in class was fun. She loved her friends, her family, her life, and, clearly, herself.

“I’m discovering my inner Gidget,” I told a friend who called while I was immersed in the diaries. But then, as I closed the cover on my 13-year-old life and stepped back into my 53-year-old existence, I had to wonder where Gidget had gone. Not that my life felt unhappy that November day—it was still filled with pleasurable pursuits and satisfying relationships—but my overall bliss-o-meter seemed to be registering several degrees lower. When was the last time a party had been a blast? Probably sometime in the sixties. Most social events now had become more obligatory than festive. Maybe the dimming of delight was an inevitable consequence of growing up and getting responsible, but I wanted to believe it was possible to boost happiness at any stage of life. The question was, how?

Luckily for me, a whole new branch of psychology has been exploring just that issue. Instead of focusing on negative states of mind, such as depression and anger, positive psychology seeks to understand and enhance upbeat emotions. And rather than telling people to work on correcting their weaknesses, this new approach suggests that they’ll be happier if they identify and find ways to use their inherent strengths.

It sounds like a tabloid headline—“Researchers Discover Secrets of Happiness!”—but this line of inquiry, which incorporates findings about how our brains are wired as well as observations about how we behave, has brought forth some simple and reliable ways to become happier. And dovetailing with these findings are striking new insights into the mood-boosting effects of meditation. By wiring up Buddhist monks and regular stressed-out schlumps who’ve been taught to meditate, researchers are finding that the practice literally shifts brain activity toward the sunny side.

The science of happiness is still in its formative years, and proponents all have their own takes on how to put its principles into practice. But the basic approach revolves around what medical psychologist Dan Baker calls happiness traps and tools. Hanging our hopes ...

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