Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

Kabat-Zinn, Jon (1990). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. Dell.

This book is considered true breakthrough in the area of mindfulness meditation as a psychological intervention that has proven over the years as an effective method to enhance wellbeing – both physical and psychological, and reduce distress and pain. Over the years, the book has established itself as a beginner’s guide to meditation and as the bible for a mind/body movement that has transformed Western medicine,by coverging it with Buddhist thinking. This step-by-step guide to mindfulness meditation is based on a eight-week theraputic programme for stress reduction developed by the author (MBSR), at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Boston.

Enjoy!

Dr Rona Hart

Here’s a link to the ebook:

Kabat-Zinn 1991 full catastrophe living

 

Choosing Schools – Choosing Identities in London

Hart R., (2011) Choosing Schools – Choosing Identities in London: A Study of Parental Choice Among Members of an Immigrant Group in London. UK/USA: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.

 

Dear Friends

 

I am delighted to announce the publication of my first book (which is my PhD dissertation) by Lambert Academic Publishing.

 

Here is the abstract:

 

This ethnographic study delineates the experiences of immigrant families living in London as they engage with local schools. The findings chapters of the study explore issues of access, by following the parents as they enter London’s educational marketplace and as they choose a school for their children. The study portrays the process of educational choice from their perspective as newcomers, highlighting their positioning in the educational marketplace and the significance of their skills and resources as educational consumers.

 

The findings reveal eight types of capitals that these families draw on as they engage with the education market. These are: cultural properties, social resources, identities, symbolic assets, psychological empowerment, cognitive capacities, economic means and statutory positioning. The analyses highlight the development that occurred in the choosers’ consumerist skills over time, suggesting that there may be a way to empower disadvantaged choosers to obtain improved positions as educational consumers.

 

A central theme in this study is the occurrence of a communal pattern of schooling among this group of families. Searching for the factors that occasion segregation in education, the focus of the research shifted to explore the role of the choosers’ networks. The findings suggest that by using various control mechanisms, these networks engendered a continual pattern of schooling resulting in segregation and closure.

 

‘Choosing schools – choosing identities’ stands for the main argument of this study which states that the choice of school, as an act of consumerism, represents the choosers’ collective identities, and at the same time plays a significant role in reinventing these identities.

 

Enjoy!!

 

Rona

 

Dr Rona Hart
Director
Heart Enterprises Ltd
London UK
Tel 020 – 8931-3333
mob 07980-709821
Email: rona@hart2heart.co.uk
www.positivepsychology4u.com

The Optimism Bias

Dear friends

In The Optimism Bias Dr. Tali Sharot, from University College London, discusses our natural tendency to overestimate the likelihood of experiencing positive events in our lives in the future, and to underestimate the likelihood of negative events occuring in our lives.

The book is written from her perspective as a neuroscientist’s and therefore she explores this bias as it appears in our brain function, looking at the biological aspects of our thought patters – optimism and pessimism.

Our memories are far from being accurate…

In her early studies, Sharot asked participants to recall past memories. We may be aware of the inaccuracies in our memory – and this was perhaps no surprise for Sharot to discover that our recollections are indeed inaccurate.

However, Sharot went a step further. Using brain imaging technology, she found that the areas in the brain that are engaged when we remember events from the past – are the same areas in the brain that are engaged when we think about the future. Recollection, she claims, is very much a reconstructive process, more like story telling, rather than a video-rerun of past experiences. It is thus susceptible to inaccuracies.

Sharot went on to record people’s brain activity when they imagined everyday future events. What she discovered was that the majority of people had pleasant scenarios in their minds, of rather routine and dull future events.

She then found that most people expect more positive than negative or neutral events to take place in the future. They also expected those positive events to take place sooner rather than later. This made her question whether this natural bias towards optimism is related to our brain structure.

We are biased towards optimism

She conducted her research in 3 countries – UK, USA and Israel. All of them provided similar results: it seems that hard-wired for optimism.

Building on the research of other psychologists she argues that optimism in effect serves an evolutionary purpose: those positive expectations of the future, seem to enhanced the probability of survival.

Evidently, optimism is not productive if it is overdone. It can have grave outcomes. If we cannot realistically predict what will happen in the future, and are not well prepared to the challenges of life – we may not be able to handle them when they occur.

Nevertheless, Sharot claims that optimism is functional. It can protect us from becoming depressed and hopeless about the future. It can reduce stress and fear, hightening motivation and inclination to take action.

Sharot argues that there are parts in our brain that give us the capacity to imagine ourselves in the future. This future orientation is important because it enable us to set goals, plan ahead, save and money, and maintain our diet and health. This futuristic thinking and optimism is what motivates us and drives us to develop and improve ourselves.

But, do our expectations change our reality?

 

 

Sharot claims that when we are optimistic – ie expecting good things in our future – happiness and success, indeed, that raises our chances of success and happiness. What we see at work here is the old “self fulfilling profecy”!

But what about pessimism and depression?

Sharot found, and this is very much in line with other studies, that who are depressed – tend to be negative and pessimistic. Antidepressants, Sharot argues, do not directly change people’s moods. What they change is their cognitive bias – they slowly become less pessimistic and more optimistic. This is why it takes time for antidepressants to work – they first change perceptions, attention, and memory and only then begin to affect people’s emotional state.

Dr. Sharot claims that resilience training that helps people redirect cognitive bias toward the positive optimistic view, can, in fact, protect against depression.

The Optimism Bias reveals the neuroscience behind hope and optimism and how the brains of optimists and pessimists differ. It also shows us why we are not very good at predicting what will make us happy. For those of you who want to understanding the biological processes that affect our outlook and attitudes, this is a great read.

And here is Dr Sharot herself discussing her book:

 

 

Enjoy!

 

To your success!

 

Rona

 

Dr Rona Hart
Director
Heart Enterprises Ltd
London UK
Tel 020 – 8931-3333
mob 07980-709821
Email: rona@hart2heart.co.uk
www.positivepsychology4u.com

Spirit Junkie

Dear friends

 

 

In this inspirational Gabrielle Bernstein shares her personal story of how she turned her life around from being a New York City publicist and party girl – into a student of A Course in Miracles, and into a spiritual guide. In her new book, Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles, Bernstein offers her spiritual beliefs for overcoming fear, changing perceptions, shifting negative thoughts into positive ones, and creating a life where she lives her calling.

 

Enjoy!

 
 

 

To your success!

 

Rona

 

Dr Rona Hart
Director
Heart Enterprises Ltd
London UK
Tel 020 – 8931-3333
mob 07980-709821
Email: rona@hart2heart.co.uk
www.positivepsychology4u.com

The Leadership Challenge

Kouzes, J.M. and B. Z. Posner (2008) The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

 

Dear friends,

 

The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner is one of the basic texts in business studies today. In this talk, Jim Kouzes summerizes the essence of leadership, by giving us some key lessons about what makes a great leader:

* Why would and why should people follow a leader?

* What is the one attribute that is the foundation of leadership?

* What’s the one quality and one practice that enables a leader to make a positive impact on others?

* What separates leaders from others?

* What’s is the most difficult lesson for leaders?

* What does it take to become a great leader?

* What is the secret of successful leadership?

 

 

Enjoy,


 

 

To your success!

 

Rona

 

Dr Rona Hart

Director

Heart Enterprises Ltd

London UK

Tel 020 – 8931-3333

mob 07980-709821

Email: rona@hart2heart.co.uk

www.positivepsychology4u.com