7 psychology researches that changed our thinking of what it is to be human.

by Komal Sharma, freelance contributor 

 

This article is a digest for everyone who thinks psychology is common sense and for wiser others too.

Today you will read about intriguing psychological studies (scientifically proven) showing our default mode of being which is interwoven thickly in our system. You will find most of them, if not all, resonate with your experiences and will also give meaning to them.

 

1) Forgetting is intelligent :

 

Our brain actively works to gather  and store information from our immediate surrounding beyond our awareness too, but it also functions to discard information to optimize decision-making. According to recent research at University of Toronto, forgetting helps us eradicate outdated information and helps in making better decisions in given circumstances by understanding bigger picture over specific details. This concept is called ‘regularization’ in Artificial Intelligence for building computer models. Now you can quote this research when you forget some General Trivia Question next time!

 

2) Warmth over competency: 

 

If you are one of those who worry to perfect your first impression by trying very hard not to do anything stupid? You can do something much simpler. Harvard research finds that 80% of our judgments about people come down to warmth and competence. And given in any situation your skills do not complement, the more important quality to focus on is warmth. To put it candidly, we all, all of us, will prefer a company of lovable moron over a competent jerk most of the time.

 

3) False Consensus:

 

Do you think most people have same belief and faith system as yours? To your (mis)fortune, I am going to prick your bubble! According to a 1977 – Stanford University psychology experiment showed that we can incorrectly infer that others think the same way they do, or form a “false consensus” about the beliefs and preferences of others. So the next time your girlfriend does not like your favorite food, cut her some slack!

 

4) Cognitive Dissonance:

 

Mount Everest is ‘not’ the tallest mountain. It is Mauna Kea if we measure area underwater! Did you feel little uncomfortable with this information? There will be a tacit shift how you see another tall mountain now. This concept of cognitive dissonance was studied by Leon Festinger, he addresses to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This conflict produces an innate sense of unsettlement and discomfort. It requires a change in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to mitigate or eliminate the discomfort and restore balance.

 

5) Bad Habits or choices?

 

You do not actively think for 50% of your day, as you have learnt it by repetitively doing it. Basketball coaches emphasize on learning the right arm-action to hoop a ball through net otherwise it will become a natural way of shooting impacting your overall game. A Duke study shows a full 40% of your daily choices aren’t choices — they’re habits. So if your habits are not building you, you’re simply a machine functioning around screwing your life up. You need to understand how bad habits work, how to snap out of the loop, and how to ‘replace’ it with better habits.

 
6) Halo Effect:

 

Do you think attractive people have it easy? Well, we let them have it easy by associating goodness with them. It is a University of Michigan study where The Halo Effect states that people generally assume that people who are physically attractive are more likely to be intelligent, friendly, and display good judgment. Halo Effect impacts personal logic, judgment, inferences and then produces more complex social behaviors (which we can talk about the next time).

 

7) Emotional Intelligence:

 

Were your exams screwed due to emotional turbulence during that phase? Yes, that’s most of us. Emotional intelligence often matters more than cognitive intelligence when it comes to acing in life. It is just not about your academic aptitude which will lead you to success; ability to channelize your emotions to work in your favor is far more a rare and important competency that contributes to your growth in personal and professional domains.

 

-If these were not enough for your psychological appetite, then use Boredom to your benefit – Research suggests that you will do a good job when you pursue creative tasks when bored. Is that a hack to your boredom?

 

Komal is a post-graduate in Psychology, an alumnus of Delhi University, with a number of academic research papers published. Her core interests lie in psychoanalysis, social psychology and understanding gender roles. She values the importance of an overall emphasis on the holistic fitness of mind and body. In her alternate world, she reads for profession and her passion. She is young, intense and aware of the gravity of the work she does.
Mail: komal7722@gmail.com

 

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10 signs that you are dealing with a narcissist

by Avnie Garg, freelance contributor 

Narcissism is basically a personality disorder comprising of a distended sense of self-importance, a need for entitlement, preoccupation with grandeur, lack of empathy, intolerance for criticism etc. In this sense, narcissism is very different from self-love, self-esteem and self-care. Some of the signs of a narcissist are:

 

1) Controller

A narcissists want people and situations to be under their control. They like things going their way to avoid experiencing feelings of anxiety (yes, narcissists suffer from anxiety).

 

 

2) Self-admirer

 

Most narcissists are their own favorites. They surmise that nobody in the world can match their standards. Nevertheless, they view some really successful and rich people as their ideal; but their list may include anyone from Adolf Hitler to Elon Musk.

 

 

3) Apathetic

They are indifferent to emotions of others. They care the least if anyone is crying before them. They don’t even mind using people emotionally for their own benefit. Egotism is their slogan.

 

4) Feels superior to others

Arrogance is their swagger. They experience feelings of grandiosity and thus cannot handle criticism. They place themselves on the top of the ladder.

 

5) Needs validation

A narcissist wants others to validate his/her standpoint. The phrase “you are (always) right” is music to their ears. Even if you disagree with their opinion, they’ll make sure that you are convinced with what they say before the discussion gets over.

 

6) Irresponsible and blaming 

They do not accept responsibility for anything. Even if they do and the results don’t go their way, they give enough excuses to justify themselves. They may even resort to generalized or specified blaming. Example- a narcissist might say, “yes I got angry but that is because you made me so.”

7) Interrupts conversations

Narcissists cannot really bear anyone going against them or their viewpoint. During a conversation, they‘ll interrupt you the moment you speak something opposite to what they believe in. They expect you to comply with whatever they say.

 

 

8) Belittles others

Many narcissists are sadists; most of them get a kick out of disparaging others. They are pretty confident about themselves and don’t hesitate to criticize others at their face.

 

9) Thinks she/he is not a narcissist

Most of the narcissists, shy or outgoing, have a hard time believing the fact that they actually are narcissists. Ironically, a narcissist often believes that she/he is really good at heart and empathetic towards others.

 

10) Has a history of bad relationships

They have had romantic relationships which ended up as a disaster. Also, their professional life would have been quite messy. Simply, they cannot handle any kind of relationship well.

 

 

After you identify that the person you are dealing with is a narcissist, you need to accept his/her limitations and try to be compassionate. Devise some ways to express your own self-worth. Give only sincere compliments and comply only when you want to.

 

 

7 lessons I learnt by looking back at my teenage

by Komal Sharma, Freelance Contributor

 

Quite early in our life, based on hit and trial encounters with our environment we subconsciously start to settle ourselves on a particular approach towards dealing with situations we face in life. More often than not, it becomes our default system in how we manage ourselves in contextually similar situations. there are 7 such patterns that I have identified which help me to take a step-back from the situation I am in and look at it objectively. I use this to reflect, and to address it later;  in a healthier and more progressive manner.

 

1. Attachment style

All of us either have a secure or an insecure pattern in which we inter-personally attach to our family, partner, authority figure, subordinate etc. Every time we feel fearful, anxious, overwhelmed to an extent that it shuts down our normal functioning, it is time to be conscious of rapid changes in our bodily and psychological dynamics. Mostly we will find ways of dealing with this in the retrospective analysis of situations that aroused similar emotions within us in the past.

Mantra I follow: Identify problem area -> Detach from your maladaptive approach -> Critical identification of a better response –> And finally; mindful responding

2. Teach them how to love you and learn how to love them

“I don’t think it’s their mistake, maybe I cannot be loved”
“My partner is trying so hard but I don’t feel loved”
“We are happy, but not in love, not like ‘it was before”

We all have been there with our parents, friends, partners and others in our inner circle. It is a two-way process – come a little closer to them, try to reveal your held-back ways of receiving  love, hold out your arm when you need their re-assurance, the chances are that you will end up feeling better about your relationship with them. To have a ‘childish’ conversation of what you need and how you need it is radical in creating foundation of a secure relationship. Let there be nervousness of how they might react, but for that conversation to culminate into a fruitful conclusion, both the sides must yearn to know, share and cultivate the bond.

3. Sometimes give, give, give, and let go

Are you chasing a void of never realizing the outcome you ferociously set out to achieve?
Are you feeding the void with a lack of self-esteem born out of already having put in so much without having anything to show for it?
You are attached to a void that does nothing but disturb your mental peace
This void may be because of a person, desire, any interest or pursuit for which you have not only extended your abilities but also stretched yourself off limits; but without giving it enough time to give you back. Relax. Let go of your troubles. Let life unfold.

4. Pay attention to your emotions

Emotions need expression but more than that, they need articulation. If suppressed, they eventually leak through cracks; jeopardizing our work, relations, health and more.
Have you not had a moment when a friend starts talking in an odd and unexpected manner, and you’re just wondering what went wrong at your end?
It may be just that they had a heated exchange at the office, or they are just plain hungry. A psychological exercise as described by Dan Siegel may be helpful in such a situation– ‘name it to tame it’. If you are able to sit with the emotion and pass it through you while expressing through verbal, written, or kinesthetic modes, you have mastered your mind!

5. To be sensitive is bold

Only brave-hearts can endure paying detailed attention. It understates that they care and are willing to go an extra mile to understand. From slight changes in the immediate environment to energy draining human personalities, they are alert. This helps them to stay away or foresee a conflict and develop meaningful relationships which serve growth at both ends.
A sensitive person naturally evaluates the mood and accordingly, in a non-taxing manner is able to put forth their response. It is a skill highly regarded if you’d like to make most of ‘now’.

6. To be assertive is freedom

We often find difficult to communicate what we want or think is right, and it is arduous to even do that when we are not used to standing up for our needs. To be assertive is to put your own will with due respect and consideration which is critically reasoned well.
Assertiveness is the wisest of personal qualities any person can develop to express effectively. It is an integral element of communication style which improves relation to self (confidence & satisfaction for being heard) and others (self-worth & earned respect for managing emotions). The most powerful assertion is to say ‘No’ without pulling wrong chords.

7. Develop your night time routine

We all have heard about morning routines but little to no emphasis is given to a night routine. We wake up with the mood we sleep with – why not develop a regime that works for us?
It’s natural to witness events in our life beyond our control when there is awfully much to absorb all the time. A night routine which can be combination of few activities like reading novel or quotes, meditating, sipping an organic drink, reflecting on the present day, or reckoning to-do list for next day and more. You are a winner if you bring the agency of your life back before tomorrow starts-off!

8 Ways to stop overthinking

By Kritika Joshi, Freelance Contributor 

 

“To think too much is a disease.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky

What is holding people back from the life they truly want to live and enjoy? That one very common and destructive thing is that they think too much. Overthinking is equally deliberate as it is common. Here are 8 ways to stop overthinking-

Notice when you are overthinking-

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Before you understand how to cope with your habit of overthinking, you need to learn to be aware of when it is
happening. Awareness is the seed of the change you want to make. Once you notice that you are overthinking you can stop yourself from getting lost in the thought.

Keep yourself busy-

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One main reason you overthink is that you have the time to do so. Keep yourself busy. Be active throughout the day and tire your body out, so that you have no time left for the over analysis. Not one day can be fruitful if more time than necessary is allowed for aimless thinking.

Change your mind-

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Distract yourself into happiness once you feel that you are falling prey to overthinking. Sometimes it is helpful to have a way to distract yourself with happy, positive, healthy alternatives. Things like meditation, dancing, exercise, learning an instrument, drawing, painting can distance you from the issues enough to shut down the over analysis.

Sleep-

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Sleeping is like pressing the reboot button on your mind. When you haven’t slept you become more vulnerable to overthinking. Get plenty of good quality sleep. Sleeping leads to a fresh mind which disrupts the complex web of overthinking. Listening to some good music may help to get a good sleep.

Practice mindfulness-

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It is an activity where one focuses on the present moment without judgement. As the obsessive, worrying thoughts come in; you acknowledge them and then let them go, energetically release them clearing your space. One of the biggest struggle is the ability to live in the present moment. Control what you think.

Use positive daily affirmations for anxiety-

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Affirmations are statements that help you overcome negative thoughts. Some good affirmations for anxiety are- “I have the power to decide what I will think about. My thoughts do not control me”; “I refuse to allow my imagination to show me disastrous future.” Use these affirmations daily to stop negative thoughts of overthinking.

List your thoughts down-

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Make a list of things that are troubling you down. Keep a diary of things that are troubling you. Jot down all the things on your mind every day. Go over what you have written; try to deal with the thoughts yourself. Ask for advice if you are finding it difficult to deal with things by yourself. Ask for advice if needed.

Realise that no good can be achieved by overthinking-

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Overthinking may lead to excessive worrying, anxiety, panic, fatigue, inability to concentrate, muscle tension, digestive disorders etc. There are more cons of overthinking than its pros. Overthinking leads to no good and may lead to severe health issues. Nothing can be achieved by overthinking. You cannot predict the future, and thus should not waste your efforts on stressing about things.

7 ways in which we delude ourselves

 

by Ridhi Murari, Freelance Contributor

 

Resistance stems from a deep and intense struggle between wanting to change and wanting to hold on to our habitual patterns of reacting, emoting and behaving; more often than not in a desperate attempt in protecting ourselves from facing our demons. When we actually confront a problem which is seen by us as unmanageable or difficult we fall into a pattern of deluding ourselves; here are 7 ways in which we do that:

 

 

  1. Publishing Odd Future GIF-downsized_largeREPRESSION When we forget things we find unpleasant, it is called repression. We all have incidents that shake our core from within, hitting us with the impact of a physical blow. This is where repression comes in. The thoughts that flow through our minds in this stage are typically, “Oh, I’m so mad at her that I can actually pick up a matchstick and burn her in hell, oh God, how did I become so violent? Let me not think of her this way. “

 

 

 

  1. sad love and hip hop GIF by VH1-downsized_large            SUPPRESSION- When one is aware that a particular feeling, thought, or want has made way into ones consciousness and yet they make a deliberate effort to not dwell on it―one, by not thinking about it (internally) and two, by not acting on it (externally). for eg a wife may be peeved about her husband’s behavior but because of some guests around her, she may control her reaction at that time. But one should also be aware of the possibility that these impulses and thoughts might make way again, and that they will need to be dealt with at the time that they do.

 

              

 

               

  1. world series no GIF by Brett Eldredge-downsized_large           DEPRIVATION- He has it and I don’t and the endless discourses on how the world is an unfair place to live in which follow; such comparison is inevitable, someone has the intangibles we want. This deprived state leads to complaining, resenting, and dwelling in a spiral of negativity and eventually, being exhausted by the process, seeking refuge in a sea of optimism through any means possible. PS- Beware of over-enthusiastic people, it’s often a reversal of the deprived state that makes them overjoyed.

 

 

 

  1. Brendan Fraser What GIF-downsized_large                   AMBIGUITY INTOLERANCE- “But you have to tell me what do I do next?” “If I knew what to do why would I come to you?”; to avoid those uncomfortable situations of awareness, reflection and introspection, we would do anything in the world for another being to dictate the steps of our life so I can later blame them for all of it. The degree to which an individual is comfortable with uncertainty, unpredictability, conflicting directions, and multiple demands. In essence, tolerance for ambiguity is manifest in a person’s ability to operate effectively in an uncertain environment.

 

                                                                                                                                                                              

  1. like GIF-downsized_large                                         INERTIA- “Okay, let’s do one thing since I’ve tried everything from my end, there is nothing more I can do so let it be. This is my fate and destiny, so what’s the point?”. This is the world of the inertia, of people who have given up and entered the realm of learned helplessness. The psychological meaning of the word “inertia” implies an indisposition to change – a certain “stuckness” due to human programming. It represents the inevitability of behaving in a certain way, to the extent that it may have been indelibly inscribed somewhere in the brain.
  2. routine GIF-downsized_largeROUTINE SEEKING- There are, among us, people who need to know what to do at each step. Bound by routine, they are beings who hate stepping out of their comfort zones. Change is uncomfortable for most of us, even if this resistance does not manifest itself in the form of an incessant need to stick to a staunch routine. Not that all routines are bad. We need routines, but the question is: who is the master? us or the routine.

 

 

 

7. hd GIF-downsized_largeENTITLEMENT– We all want things. But some people feel they are entitled to whatever it is they want, and they feel they deserve it all now. That can make for very difficult relationships, a lot of disappointment, and never receiving what is most important in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 things people with social anxiety disorder go through

By Pallavi Kandhari, Freelance Contributor 

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Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. Social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people. A person suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) may sometimes think that people would ‘judge’ them if they talk about this fear. But it is the most common anxiety disorder with up to 10% of people being affected at some point in their life. So, you are not alone. Here are some points every person going through SAD can relate to-

1) Excessive worry about one’s looks

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They tend to spend more time in getting ready than what an average person would do and that is because of the fear of being negatively “judged” by people they don’t really know… So, they need to look their best every time they step out of the house in order to avoid the fear of being negatively evaluated. And as Eleanor Roosevelt said rightly,” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
2) Being the center of attention is a NIGHTMARE

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Have to give a presentation at work, school or college? Have to give a speech? The mere thought of being the center of attention is equivalent to a nightmare and cripples them with fear and anxiety. They are afraid that what if people notice, how anxious they are? Sweating, trembling and other physiological reactions come naturally when asked to give a speech or presentation.
3) Shyness is a pervasive personal state

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Having any sort of conversation with any stranger or sometimes even known people triggers shyness related anxiety and they begin to having irrational thoughts that they might end up getting judged, mocked or negatively percieved in some way. However it is important to remember that many people who are shy do not have the negative emotions and feelings that accompany social anxiety disorder. They live a normal life, and do not view shyness as a negative trait.
4) Hesitance and low self confidence tend to be mostly around the corner

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People with social anxiety usually (but not always) tend to have a low self esteem due to the fear of being rejected or being mocked at. They try to avoid conversations as much as possible in order to avoid being judged or evaluated. They constantly have the fear of being criticized and disapproved. They sometimes hesitate to take decisions and risk ending up coming across as ill-equipped in handling pressure situations.
5) Ordering food is not meant for them.

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Ordering food in person or on phone can be very stressful as it involves taking a decision and then interacting with a stranger. When they go to a restaurant they constantly feel that people will judge and laugh at them. Sometimes they may have the fear of pronouncing something wrong and that raises their anxiety even before they order as they feel that they may end up sounding silly.
6) Escape becomes their best friend

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Leaving a party, social gathering or a family function after spending a brief amount of time is very common. They are the last ones to enter and the first one to leave. Escaping from these situations when anxiety raises can sometimes help them to calm down and they have no regrets of leaving early or escaping from anxiety provoking social gatherings.
7) They become their own best friends

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With the constant fear of being negatively evaluated or criticized by people, they mostly avoid their company and start to enjoy their own company. They become their own best friends and end up spending a lot of time with themselves which sometimes curbs the anxiety provoking thoughts and make them a feel a bit relaxed.

 

10 Positive Psychology concepts that’ll give you a different perspective on life

 

Kritika Joshi, Freelance Contributor

Stay positive, all other choices are pointless punishments to your psyche”  – Joe Peterson

The “positive psychology” field has been around for decades, but only in the recent years, thanks to some notable researches have we been able to recognize its profound impact on society. Fortunately, many of these studies point to specific ways of thinking and acting that can strongly impact our sense of happiness and peace of mind.

So here are 10 Positive Psychology concepts that’ll give you a different perspective on life.

  1. ENVIRONMENTAL MASTERY

 

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It is the degree to which you feel competent to meet the demands of your situation. It is the sense that we have an influence on the events in our lives. We can say it is the sense that we are capable of acting on our own behalf. In simple terms, environmental mastery is the ability to create environment suitable to satisfy one’s own psychological needs.

  1. FLOURISHING

 

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The ability to flourish is defined as the ability for a person to grow as a human being through good times and through life struggles. Flourishing is the product of pursuit and engagement of an authentic life that brings inner joy and happiness. It is a state where people experience positive emotions, positive psychological functioning and positive social functioning most of the time.

 

  1. LEARNED OPTIMISM

 

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Coined by the famous positive psychologist Seligman, It is a mechanism where people systematically remove depressive thoughts by concentrating on the positive. Optimists have a belief that they have control over situations and because of this, the opportunity to influence the result they are highly motivated to achieve. It can be summed up as a pattern of persisting in the face of difficulty.

 

  1. FLOW

 

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The idea of flow is that “a person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening ‘outside’, just by changing the contents of consciousness. Happiness is about changing the contents of our consciousness and the way to do this is by putting ourselves in the state of optimal experience called flow. Flow is that state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.

 

  1. UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD

 

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The concept of unconditional positive regard requires a person to suspend any form of personal judgement and accepts other human beings, regardless of the content of any disclosure they may have made or any behavior they may have displayed. It can help create better relationships with your spouse, friends, relatives and even strangers.

 

  1. CONGRUENCE

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Congruence is when the inner beliefs and concepts of a person match his experience of the external world. According to Carl Rogers, personality is like a triangle made up of ideal self, real self and perceived self. When there is a good fit between these three the person has congruence.

 

  1. CONDITIONS OF WORTH

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Conditions of Worth are the conditions we think we must meet in order for other people to accept us as worthy of their love or positive regard. Children raised in an environment of unconditional positive regard have the opportunity to fully actualize themselves. Those raised in an environment of conditional positive regard feel worthy only if they match conditions that have been laid down for them by others

 

  1. EUDAIMONIC WELL BEING

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Eudaimonic well being refers to effectiveness of an individual’s psychological functioning that helps them to realize their true potential. True happiness is found in expression of goodness. Eudaimonic  view of well being conceptualizes well being in terms of cultivation of personal strengths or acting in accordance with one’s inner nature and deeply held values.

 

  1. GOAL ORIENTATION

 

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It refers to the goals individuals implicitly pursue while attaining performance outcomes. It can be differentiated into two types – mastery and performance goals. Mastery goals involve learning and developing mastery as one approaches tasks. Performance goals involve approaching tasks with a focus on performance relative to others.

 

  1. TRANSCEDENCE

 

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It means ‘going beyond’ a prior state. It involves connection to something or someone larger than oneself, a theme that unites the character associated with it. In positive psychology, the virtue of transcendence is associated with the strengths of meaning that connects you with the larger world and helps you make sense of it.