In Honor of International Day of Happiness: New Book Inspires Focused Positivity 

Psychological research has confirmed that we would all be happier and more successful if we could think more positively. Yet, as many of us are aware, thinking positively can be a challenge. Timed for International Day of Happiness (March 20), Focused PositivityThe Path to Success and Peace of Mind (Rowman & Littlefield; ISBN: 9781538153284), from author John F. Tholen, Ph.D., presents a science-based program that makes positive thinking accessible. Cognitive therapy (CT) has become recognized as the “gold standard” of psychological treatments, and the most efficient form of CT is the focused positivity strategy. 

Over his 40-plus years in practice as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Tholen created thousands of messages to improve the self-talk of clients whose motivation and emotional well-being had been disrupted by excessive attention to dysfunctional thoughts—those that cause distress without motivating constructive action. After retiring in 2017, he began compiling and categorizing alternative thoughts that are functional—likely to inspire hope and self-assertion. The result is Focused Positivity, a user-friendly manual for overcoming counterproductive thought patterns to permit a more fulfilling life.

Focused Positivity integrates psychological philosophy with research discoveries about the relationship among our thoughts, feelings and actions, as well as about assertiveness, relaxation, habit change and even the competition that occurs between the two sides of the brain. The book presents a unique set of easy-to-follow steps that can be accomplished in a few minutes each day. Dr. Tholen’s focused positivity strategy employs the closest thing we have to a “superpower”—our ability to shift the focus of our attention—to diminish anxiety, inspire self-assertion and gradually attain a more balanced view of our circumstances, capabilities and potential.

In the book, readers will learn:

– How to counteract our inherent negativity bias—the disproportionate attention we pay to whatever most angers or frightens us—so that we can attain a more balanced and reasonable perspective on both ourselves and the world around us.

– How to recognize the dysfunctional thoughts that spontaneously pop into our minds and disrupt our emotional state and motivation—even though they are almost always unreasonable, incomplete or completely wrong.

– How to find—and focus on—reasonable alternative thoughts that are more functional; in other words, balanced, reassuring and motivating.

– How to use our own personal belief system—whatever that may be—to create functional thoughts that can be powerful for each of us, even in what seems the worst of times.

– Strategies for managing excessive self-criticism,reprogramming prejudicial self-talk, taming dysfunctional fear, reframing trauma andcreating the illusions that we think of as personal strengths, such as willpower, self-discipline and even resilience.

– How to become comfortable being respectfully self-assertive to enhance self-esteem and establish balanced relationships.

– Healthy methods of relaxationand mindful meditation for managing anxiety, fear and anger … and more!

Enlightening and empowering, Focused Positivity offers expert guidance and a proven action plan for overcoming self-defeating thoughts, improving self-confidence, attaining personal goals and enhancing peace of mind.

About the Author

John F. Tholen, Ph.D.,is a cognitive psychologist with more than 40 years of experience helping clients shift the focus of their attention to achieve their goals, strengthen their relationships and feel better about themselves. For more information about the book, please visit