What is Positive Psychology?
Positive psychology is a relatively new field that has gained increasing popularity in recent years. It is a branch of psychology that focuses on the promotion of wellbeing and on identifying factors which contribute to good mental health. Rather than focusing on diagnosing and treating mental illness, positive psychology focuses on understanding the factors which contribute to mental wellness.
One of the key principles of positive psychology is the idea that happiness is not simply the absence of negative emotions, but rather a separate and distinct construct that can be cultivated and enhanced through intentional practices. This means that we can take proactive steps to increase our levels of happiness and wellbeing, rather than simply waiting for negative feelings to pass.
Positive psychology interventions are evidence-based practices that have been shown to promote positive emotions, increase life satisfaction, and build resilience. Some of the most well-known interventions from positive psychology include:
Gratitude practices: These involve regularly reflecting on and expressing appreciation for the positive aspects of your life, such as personal relationships, accomplishments, and good health. Research has shown that gratitude practices can increase feelings of well-being, improve relationships, and even boost physical health.
Mindfulness meditation: This involves cultivating a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, which has been found to help reduce stress and promote positive emotions. Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of mental health issues, and can also be used as a tool for enhancing well-being.
Positive social connections: This includes building and maintaining supportive relationships with family, friends, and other members of one's community. Social support has been linked to a range of positive outcomes, including better mental health, increased happiness, and even improved physical health.
Identifying and using personal strengths: This involves recognising and leveraging your unique strengths and abilities in order to pursue goals and contribute to society. Research has shown that using one's strengths can increase feelings of happiness, motivation, and engagement in life.
Positive self-talk: This involves intentionally directing your thoughts and internal dialogue in a positive and self-affirming manner, which has been found to help reduce stress and promote a more optimistic outlook. Positive self-talk can help individuals build resilience, cope with challenges, and increase their overall well-being.
Positive psychology is not about denying or avoiding negative emotions, but rather about building resilience and cultivating positive experiences that can help us weather life's challenges. By intentionally focusing on the positive aspects of our lives, we can increase our levels of happiness and well-being, and build a more fulfilling life for ourselves and those around us. If you are experiencing extreme or enduring negative emotions, you may want to consider having some therapy to work through some of your difficulties before incorporating some of the above practices into your daily life.
Over the next few weeks, we will post about each of the above practices in more detail.