INTRODUCTION TO POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
Have you ever heard the term Positive Psychology? I know that in history, Psychology has been quite prominent looking at both getting you better and giving you the tools to remain in that state. However, there is a newer version looking into the Positive side of life now, and it is known as “Positive Psychology”. It is defined as being a scientific study of what makes life worth living. It studies human thoughts, feelings, and behaviour, with focus on strengths instead of weaknesses, building the good in life instead of repairing the bad, and taking the lives of average people up to “great” instead of focusing solely on moving those who are struggling up to “normal”.
Positive psychology focuses on the positive events and influences in life, including Positive experiences (like happiness, joy, inspiration, and love); Positive states and traits (like gratitude, resilience , and compassion); Positive institutions (applying positive principles within institutions). It spends much of its time thinking about topics like character strengths, optimism, life satisfaction, happiness, well-being, gratitude, compassion (as well as self-compassion), self-esteem and self-confidence, hope, and elevation and these help people flourish and live their best lives.
Now we all like to be happy, don’t we? So, it is only natural to want to learn how we can remain happy, so that we can live a fulfilling life.
The most important thing to understand about positive psychology is that it is indeed a science—it is a subfield of psychology, and although it is sometimes derided as a “soft science” or a “pseudoscience,” it is still based on the scientific method of evaluating theories based on the evidence.
It was founded by Professor Seligman, and he believed that for the most part, most people are happy; happiness is one of the causes of the good things in life, and also promotes more happiness; most people are pretty resilient; happiness, character strengths, and good social relationships act as buffers against disappointments and setbacks; crises reveal character; other people matter (in terms of what makes life worth living); religion matters (and/or spirituality); work also matters in terms of making life worth living, as long as we are engaged and draw meaning and purpose from it; money has diminishing returns on our happiness after a certain point, but we can buy some happiness by spending money on other people; Eudaimonia (well-being, deeper form of satisfaction than happiness) is more important than hedonism (sole focus on pleasure and positive emotions) for living the good life; the “heart” matters more than the “head,” meaning that things like empathy and compassion are just as important as critical thinking; nearly all good days have three things in common: a sense of autonomy, competence, and connection to others; the good life can be taught.
It certainly is an area, that needs further investigation, to allow us to live that all fulfilling life, that we all dream of. After all, there is always a reason for everything that happens in our lives.