Review Articles

Transforming stress to happiness: Positive couple therapy with distressed couples

Emel Genç

Journal of Happiness and Health, Vol. 1 No. 1 (2021), 1 October 2021, Page 4-15

Many romantic couples experience challenges at some point in their relationship, which generally escalates the tension in relationships. Although misunderstandings and conflict between partners are unavoidable, distressed couples can work through their problems effectively and compassionately that might lead to loving relationships. Thus, the purpose of this study is to review the features of distressed couples and offer a positive couple therapy model for positive and meaningful change in negative circumstances. Positive couple therapy fosters couples’ positive feelings through positive interaction, which are essential to develop and maintain satisfying relationships. To heal distressed couples, this article structured the positive psychology therapy model in three phases: Phase one involves rebuilding the relationship with increasing cohesion and positive behaviors between couples. In phase two, the couple therapist works to identify negative communication patterns and improve positive couple communication. Lastly, the final phase is designed for the maintenance of change, which includes practicing new communication patterns in stressful situations and couples’ reflection of new experiences to each other. Each phase consisted of specific interventions such as three good things, best possible future self, strengths and fulfilled genogram, emotional bank account, and loving-kindness meditation. Along with these interventions, this paper offers practical suggestions for mental health professionals, who work with distressed couples, to help distressed couples to improve their couple’s functioning as well as happiness.

Cognitive, mental and social benefits of interacting with nature: A systematic review

Emine Zehra Kasap, Feyza Ağzıtemiz, Gülten Ünal

Journal of Happiness and Health, Vol. 1 No. 1 (2021), 1 October 2021, Page 16-27

Nature experiences have a positive effect on mental health, especially on psychological well-being because nature is perceived as a supportive, peaceful environment, and an emotional sanctuary. This paper aims to review and document a broad range of empirical evidence regarding the benefits of the experience of nature from cognitive, clinical, and social dimensions separately. The findings investigating the social aspects of interacting with nature point out the connective feature of natural entities through revealing hedonic and self-transcendent feelings and modifying the self-other perception (e.g., self-diminishment) in favor of facilitating social value orientation and oneness among human beings. Having contact with nature also extends cognitive abilities by replenishing attention, memory, executive functioning, and learning capacities, and bolstering creative potential. The experience of nature has uplifting benefits on positive mood, empowers psychological well-being, recovery, and relaxation via mitigating stress and anxiety levels. Socially, contact with nature elicits social cohesiveness through facilitating social value orientation, perspective-taking, and helping behavior. Improving well-being via nature connectedness may be effective in decreasing psychological symptoms such as stress, negative mood states, and expectedly mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. The several ways of how nature contributes to individual and societal well-being are discussed in the light of the literature.

Research Articles

Flourishing during COVID-19: Exploration of the factors that impacted the wellbeing of school leaders during the pandemic in Ireland

Majella Dempsey, Jolanta Burke

Journal of Happiness and Health, Vol. 1 No. 1 (2021), 1 October 2021, Page 28-39

The COVID-19 outbreak impacted the wellbeing of school communities worldwide. However, little is known about the factors that helped individuals maintain their wellbeing amid the pandemic. The current paper presented selected results from two surveys carried out with primary school leaders in the Republic of Ireland in relation to the factors that protected their wellbeing during the COVID-19 school closure. The first survey took place two months after the school closure (Time 1, N= 939); the second one, three months after the school re-opening (Time 2, N= 861). Participants’ wellbeing was assessed using the Mental Health Continuum Short Form (MHC-SF). The findings showed that participants’ wellbeing decline from Time 1 to Time 2. Descriptive analysis showed that approximately half of the sample at both times experienced flourishing. Finally, the qualitative analysis identified similarities among flourishing and non-flourishing leaders in relation to them becoming more health-conscious and seeking social connection. However, compared with flourishing leaders, non-flourishing leaders reported feeling overwhelmed and seeking help. Equally, flourishing leaders reported scheduling personal time, professional development, and having a more positive outlook, which may have affected their wellbeing. Discussed are the implications of the current study that can inform the policy and practice of school leaders in Ireland and worldwide

Validation and utility of the Meaning in Life Measure for Turkish university students

Murat Yıldırım, Gökmen Arslan, Zane Asher Green, Farzana Ashraf, Daichi Sugawara, Ahmet Tanhan, Mehtap Asağlı, Mai Helmy , İlhan Çiçek

Journal of Happiness and Health, Vol. 1 No. 1 (2021), 1 October 2021, Page 40-48

The Meaning in Life Measure (MILM) is a new measure for assessing meaning in life by addressing problems associated with existing measures of meaning in life (absence of items related to reflectivity, felt sense, and mattering). For the first time, this study aimed to test the psychometric properties of the MILM for university students in Turkey. We used a sample of 376 university students (Mage=24.03±4.65 years) who participated in an online survey including the MILM, the Adult Dispositional Hope Scale, and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale – 21. To study the factor structure of the MILM, we firstly employed a dual approach including exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, which provided support for the goodness of a two-factor model (experience and reflectivity). We secondly tested the convergent and predictive validity of the measure by respectively applying correlation and regression analyses. Our findings supported the convergent validity of the MILM, showing correlations with hope, anxiety, and depression. The predictive validity was also confirmed; the experience subscale of MILM uniquely predicted hope, anxiety, and depression after controlling for covariates (age and gender). Thirdly, our findings showed that the MILM and its subscales had high internal consistency reliability. The Turkish version of the MILM is provided to be a reliable and valid instrument for assessing meaning in life for university students in Turkey.