Stop and think about it. You are AMAZING.
You are a member of the most intellectually advanced, ecologically successful species on the planet. You spend roughly 20-25% of your energy in a day keeping your big, giant brain burning bright. You experience emotion, learn rapidly, let language trip from your tongue, and pay attention to intricate social detail. You are a very, very clever animal. Your mind - and its physical shell, the brain - are worthy and then some, of a few high fives.
And that’s how the field of Psychology began, with curious researchers who were interested in understanding how our species'’ greatest survival asset - our minds and our behaviour - worked. Were there patterns within our thinking? Did we perceive the world in the same ways? To answer these questions, early psychologists observed humans doing what we do and took careful notes and observations. After a while, they started to learn a thing or two about the mind and its wonders.
For most of the 20th century, much of the attention of psychological research focused on helping people overcome illness. This goal of improving mental health was pursued with great success, yet also left room to grow for Psychology’s remaining goals of learning more about how humans make the most of their extraordinary talents. Enter the call to the field at the turn of the millennium made by a leading researcher in depression - Dr. Martin Seligman, the head of the American Psychological Association at the time - that ‘psychology as usual’ was altogether too negative. In its desire to alleviate suffering, the field was behaving as if suffering was all there was to the human experience. And as anyone who has heard a baby laugh for the first time knows - there is so much more to our story than that.
The field of Positive Psychology has taken flight since then. As a specialty, it focuses on learning more about what happens when things go right with people. Creativity, joy, purpose, gratitude, courage and hope. All of these subjects have received more attention. As a result, psychologists know quite a bit more about why we have these experiences and what benefits they confer upon us.
The raising of offspring from pregnancy to adulthood could be one of the most energetically expensive task of our lives. It calls on every talent, every strength, every resource in our well-stocked minds. It swings us through every emotion the brain is wired to experience, and can introduce them in combinations never before imagined. It is the Olympic Marathon Time Trials of mental functioning.
As a mother, we believe you can benefit from learning about the findings of psychology not just because you might battle an illness, but because you are the most behaviourally advanced creature on the planet, engaging in one of the most complex and important tasks you might ever be tasked with, and you do it REALLY WELL.
Science needs to know way more about you. And you deserve to know more about you. Like how you adapt and adjust, how you bounce back, and what you need to stay strong.
So, as you read through much of the psychology we review on our pages, celebrate the positive slant. After all, if psychologists are looking for examples of what’s going right in the world, they can’t get much better than it’s Mothers.