Traditional psychology has focused on what doesn’t work in an attempt to fix it. What’s wrong with that we hear you ask? Nothing, sometimes that’s exactly what we need, but Positive psychology is different. So what exactly is positive psychology? Sometimes referred to as the ‘science of happiness’ positive psychology takes a new perspective, examining instead, what makes human beings flourish. So what is positive psychology and why is it important? We take a look at who’s using it & the benefits of incorporating positive psychology into your day. If you’re interested in finding out more about the science of human flourishing, join us for a whistle stop tour around the world of positive psychology.
What is Positive Psychology? The Definition:
“Positive Psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing, and an applied approach to optimal functioning. It has also been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities and organisations to thrive.” Source: Positive Psychology Institute. Or, as we like to describe it, positive psychology is the science of being you at your best.
Positive Psychology & Seligman:
It would be hard to answer ‘What is positive psychology’ without talking about Martin Seligman. Positive psychology was popularised by Seligman and his work into ‘Learned Optimism’ & ‘Authentic Happiness. Often referred to as the ‘father’ of positive psychology and with good reason. His research over the past 15 years into the field of what makes us tick has been prolific. A huge promoter of positive psychology, Seligman has studied resilience, optimism, learned helplessness, depression, character strengths and happiness. Heralding a new era in psychology, the work of those early pioneers has been used by individuals and companies the world over. Seligman provides many of the building blocks of positive psychology. He’s also responsible for the PERMA model (you can find out more about PERMA by checking out our blog post here https://planetpositivechange.com/tag/perma-model/)
Who is Using Positive Psychology?
The concept of positive psychology has been used to improve the everyday life of thousands of people. It has multiple applications from people using it to manage depression and anxiety, those who are interested in increasing their level of happiness alongside organisations who want to increase wellbeing and employee engagement. The business case for positive psychology in the workplace really does suggest that happy employees are more productive and that makes perfect sense to us. Happy people means happier more effective workplaces.
Our 4 Simple Positive Psychology Exercises For You:
Ok, now you’ve got the what is positive psychology? question licked, how about the application of positive psychology in everyday life? If you’re looking for positive psychology interventions that work we’ve put together 4 simple positive psychology examples for you. Here’s how to incorporate the science of happiness into your daily routine.
The first of our positive psychology techniques is cultivating an attitude of gratitude. At the end of each day put pen to paper and write down three good things that have happened. Those three good things can be anything; a conversation with a stranger, maybe a colleague made you coffee or you made someone smile. Run through your day and come up with the top 3 things that gave you a warm glow inside. Describe exactly what happened, how you felt as a result and who or what was involved. Create as much detail as you can. When you do this you are rewiring your brain to search for the positive and taking in the good.
This is one of our favourites. Look for opportunities to practice kindness during your day. Kindness can be anything from giving up your seat on public transport for someone who looks as though they need it, to paying it forward and buying a coffee for the next person in line, donating to a local food bank as you shop or simply smiling at someone. Want to optimise kindness? Include acts of kindness that you see others practicing. Counting kind gestures sets a positive vibe for your day, helping you to share the love at the same time. What’s not to like?
Say Thank You:
We know just how easy it is to notice what isn’t working well or how something could be improved (sometimes it’s hard not to verbalise it, especially when you’re frustrated). The next time you’re tempted to complain about something, switch gears. Actively look for things to say ‘Thank you’ for. Whether it’s great service from a company, sterling work from a colleague, a great meal in a restaurant or seamless check in at a hotel, make sure you take a note of the person’s name and send a thank you email or card. Look for occasions when you can thank others, you’ll be making their day and your own.
4. Self Esteem Journal:
If your self esteem has taken a bit of a bashing recently you might want to create a self
esteem journal. You could create a journal (for your eyes only) or create your very own self
esteem worksheet. Try the following suggestions as prompts;
- I was proud of myself today when…
- Something I found tricky today but did anyway was…
- Today was fun because…
- I achieved…….today
- Today was positive because…
- I helped someone else by…
- I made an effort today when
- I am happy that ….. happened today
This will help you to identify the positive, notice what you’re doing well and acknowledge what you’re good at. As the photo says, everything has beauty but not everyone can see it. This is how you can train yourself to see what’s is really there.
If you have more lingering ‘What is positive psychology?’ questions, or want to hone your positive psychology skills even more, then check out our free growth mindset toolkit https://planetpositivechange.com/growth-mindset-toolkit/ with tons of ideas for using positive psychology to be the best that you can be.
Want to know more? We run international positive psychology workshops, coaching, half day sessions & conferences as well as working with companies to implement positive psychology strategies. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org we’d love to hear from you.