Academic journal article Journal of Management and Public Policy

Positive Forces of Life and Psychological Well-Being among Corporate Professionals

Academic journal article Journal of Management and Public Policy

Positive Forces of Life and Psychological Well-Being among Corporate Professionals

Article excerpt

Introduction

The megatrends of change are everywhere today. There is a rapid transition from an industrial to an information society. Perhaps the most powerful of the global changes are the breathtaking rapid advances in technological world. Although the upside is the dramatically greater ability to accomplish things, the downside is the pressure to constantly learn more quickly, lest we be left behind in the 'digital divide'. Therefore the modern world, which is said to be a world of technological achievement, is also a world of stress due to the cut-throat competition among nations, regions and enterprises on a global scale. The enterprises have to update their knowledge and skill in information technology on the one hand and flexible responses to market change on the other. The option for the growth, survival and stay ahead in business requires swift adaption to fast changing circumstances. As a result, managers and staff are pressurized for technological achievements, profit motives and productivity.

Challenge, stress and strain have thus passed on the work force at large. Employees now have to face and cope with leaner working conditions, increased flexibility with time pressure and long working hours due to narrowing deadlines and altogether with increased work load demands, at the same time being aware that the jobs are no longer stable and the work is becoming precarious and unemployment indeed is real threat. These contemporary social and economic pressures on an unusually massive scale make it harder for them to adapt in the highly developed ways they expect. Although they still want to believe in their ability to learn, change and master stressful situations, today's turbulent changes can be undermining, if they lack the capabilities that lead to resilience. In these stressful situations, many people become undermined in their performance, conduct, or health. They may fail to meet deadlines or reach goals. They may cut corners or disregard rules. They may have sleep problems, headaches, upset stomachs, or even worse symptoms as the time spent under stress increases. Experiencing the same stressful circumstances, however, some people possess the ability of an optimistic explanatory style, are resilient and survive rather than be undermined. Their performance, conduct and health remain unaffected, as they find ways to shoulder all the different kinds of stress. Further, some of these resilient people not only survive, but actually thrive. They thrive by finding ways to turn stressful circumstances into opportunities for personal growth. Such optimistic and resilient people tend to enjoy good health (Peterson & Bossio, 1991), their immune systems work better (Singh & Pareek, 2007) and they cope better with stress using more effective coping strategies such as reappraisal and problem solving.

Positive forces of life such as joy, happiness, contentment, optimism, hopefulness, resilience, humorous, life satisfaction etc. play an important role in life. Research shows that positive emotions serve a buffering function, provide a protection from negative emotions and ill health (Fredrickson, 2000) and are favourable for healthy functioning (Trama and Kaur, 2009). These imply experiences of marvel and wonder (Fuller, 2006); broaden momentary thought processes and build personal resources which help the individual to deal with stress. It develops strengths, so individuals can realize their potential and thrive under adversities (Seligman, 2002). This in turn, fosters personal growth and well-being. A number of studies provide evidence that positivity and various positive forces may play an important role in psychological well-being and good health outcomes. For example, in a meta-analysis that examined not only correlational studies, but also those using longitudinal and experimental designs, the results clearly indicated that positive, happy people had better physical and mental health outcomes and behaviour (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005) and in a recent update of the literature, Lyubomirsky (2008, p. …

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