What is Positive Psychology?
In simple terms, positive psychology is defined as “the scientific study of what makes life most worth living” (Peterson, 2008). It studies human thoughts, feelings, and behavior, with a 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” (Peterson, 2008).
What Does Positive Psychology Focus On?
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 entire organizations and institutions).
What Are Some Benefits of Positive Psychology?
While it would be nearly impossible to list all the benefits of positive psychology, some important benefits to note include:
- It teaches us the power of shifting one’s perspective
- A relatively small change in one’s perspective can lead to astounding shifts in wellbeing and quality of life
- Injecting a bit more optimism and gratitude into your life is a simple action that can give you a radically more positive outlook on life
How Can You Practice Positive Psychology?
- Make a gratitude visit
- Write a letter, send a text, or call someone to express how much you appreciate them. If the person lives close enough to visit and it is safe to do so, it is encouraged to visit and drop off the letter. This exercise provides a significant boost to both gratitude and well-being.
- Focus on building personal strengths instead of weaknesses
- Identify some personal strengths, focus on them in your daily life, and work to provide yourself with more opportunities to use them.
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Keeping a gratitude journal allows someone to identify and reflect on all of the good things in their life and the things they are grateful for. Often, people practice writing in their journals first thing in the morning or before bed.
- Attend positive psychotherapy sessions
- Positive psychotherapy focuses on building positive emotions, character strengths, and a sense of meaning in life. Twelve exercises are generally practiced in this form of therapy. This includes exercises on using your signature strengths, keeping a gratitude journal, and making a gratitude visit (Harvard Health Publishing, 2008).
Do you need help?
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