Positive psychology is the study of how human beings flourish.
Positive psychology is used to figure out the meaning of life if and improves the quality of life.
For this reason, many people assume that positive psychology is meant to fix negative aspects of life; however, that is not entirely the correct approach.
Positive psychology focuses on the positive aspects of life and teaches us how to use these positives to the fullest.
People with such mental health issues as anxiety and depression can benefit from positive psychology because it teaches them to focus on the positive aspects of their life and on the things they can do well rather than their issues.
But despite its considerable benefits, it still cannot replace the treatments that address these disorders.
Even those people who don't suffer from mental health disorders can benefit greatly from positive psychology because it teaches them how to maintain and grow their levels of happiness and focus on positive things in their lives.
1. Positive reinforcement psychology vs. positive psychology.
Although the names sound deceptively similar, these two do not mean the same thing.
Positive reinforcement psychology focuses on correcting negative behavior, which is not the main focus of positive psychology.
Positive reinforcement psychology is often used with children to teach them how to make the right decisions.
However, adults can also use it to improve their lifestyles and to reward themselves when they successfully complete a task.
2. Three dimensions of happiness.
One of the first scientists who studied positive psychology was Dr. Martin Seligman. According to Dr. Seligman, there are three dimensions of happiness, which are the pleasant life, the good life, and meaningful life.
If you satisfy your own basic human needs such as the need for companionship your body needs and the need for a safe environment, you are leaving a pleasant life.
In order to achieve a good life, you will need more mental work. You will need to pursue the activities that will help you reach your full potential and enhance your creativity. If you want to achieve what Dr. Seligman describes is the meaningful life, you need to use your strength to serve others in the society.
Numerous studies have shown that human beings feel more satisfied with their lives when their actions benefit others. Feeling satisfaction from bringing benefits to your fellow human beings is the definition of a meaningful life.
Dr. Seligman discussed the positive psychology movement during his TED Talk. Watch his video - 'New era of positive psychology. The study of happiness is a major pillar upon which this movement rests.
Before doctor Seligman's ideas, psychology mainly focused on solving mental health issues however he proposed that it could make people happier and benefit not only people who suffer from mental health disorders (such as anxiety, chronic anger, depression, and excessive pessimism) but also so healthy people who simply wish to improve their quality of life.
3. How to use positive psychology in your everyday life?
As research proves the benefits of positive psychology, more and more individuals want to apply this method to their own lives. You can do this as well by engaging in some positive psychology exercises.
Think about something funny that has happened to you today.
At the end of your day, look back at it and try to find something that amused you. You can write it down, or you can tell it to somebody else. Research shows that when we think about something humorous, it can boost happiness hormones in our body and make us feel good.
Keep a journal. Write down everything that has happened to you during the day. Later on or even after several days, read it again and try to focus on the positives. Once the Passions have cooled and you are no longer in the moment, you may find that you had much more to be pleased with during that day than you thought.
Visualize your future in a positive way. You can visualize a positive scenario that you want to play out in the future, or you can keep the so-called future journal where you write down your future goals and aspirations.
Think about a major goal you want to achieve in the near future and think about specific ways in which you can achieve this goal. Be mindful of your feelings.
Being self-aware and knowing how we feel at all times will help us manage those feelings better. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, and it starts kicking in, it may help you if you acknowledge the feeling and remind yourself that they will pass.
4. You don't have to practice positive psychology on your own.
It can be a group activity that you do with your friends and loved ones. Here are some group exercises that you can engage in.
Name each other's strengths. Give a piece of paper to each member of the group and have them anonymously write down somebody else's name and their positive quality on that piece of paper.
Then shuffle the pieces of paper and give each piece of paper to the person whose name is written on it.
Make each person read out their own strengths. These will boost their confidence and make them see if their own positive characteristics.
Alternatively, you can ask each of your team members what they consider their own strengths to be. In addition, you can make up a hypothetical difficulty and ask the person to use their strength to find a solution.
If you are doing a group project, try to focus on the things that went well. Name at least three things that your team has accomplished successfully. This will not only boost your team’s self-confidence, but it will also motivate them to do better in the future and use the winning techniques to perform future tasks.
For more in-depth reading, you can check out BetterHelp for additional knowledge about positive psychology and its application in your everyday life.
You can also look for a certified counselor who has experience in this field and can teach you the ways to practice positive psychology every day.