Exploring the realm of Positive Psychology
How can one be truly happy, is one of biggest questions asked by people from time immemorial. Positive psychology and associated study seek to provide an answer to this question.
The never-ending search for happiness and the never-ending effort to live a life that is meaningful have given rise to a whole industry devoted to prioritizing our health by offering many programmes, guides, treatments, and advice on how to lead a positive and optimistic existence.
Theory and Concept of Positive Psychology
Positive psychology is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings, and behavior, by focusing more on their strengths instead of weaknesses. Instead of the traditional Medical model which focuses on treatment of illness, Positive Psychology focused on preventing illnesses. It is a Wellness model used to live a happy and healthier life. Studies have shown that people who live for more than 100 years have this belief in common as Positive Psychologists.
Positive Psychology is based on the Scientific method on evaluating the theories based on evidence As University of Michigan professor and positive psychology legend Christopher Peterson put it:
“…positive psychology is not to be confused with untested self -help, footless affirmation, or secular religion- no matter how good these may make us feel. Positive Psychology is neither a recycled version of the power of positive thinking nor a sequel to “The Secret “. (2008)
He was the founder of Positive Psychology and became APA President in 1998. His interest lied towards the fields of Resilience and Optimism. He also had an inclination towards positive approaches such as well-being, flourishing, happiness, exceptionalism and strengths. His foundational paper in the field of Positive Psychology was published in the year 2000 along with the founding father of flow.
What Positive Psychology focuses on?
Positive Psychology focuses on positive events and influences in life which includes the following:
- Positive experiences like happiness, joy, inspiration and love.
- Positive states and traits like gratitude, resilience and compassion.
- Positive institutions and outcomes of the above 2 points (applying positive principles within entire organizations and institutions, optimism ,satisfaction
What are Positive Psychology's Three Levels?
The “Three Levels of Positive Psychology” are frequently used by proponents of positive psychology as a framework for their work. They include:
- Subjective level: Sensations of joy, contentment, optimism, and other comparable emotions or feelings as they pertain to your day-to-day experience are the focus of the subjective level.
- Individual level: The individual level combines the subjective level emotions of wellbeing with the traits or virtues that make you a complete person, such courage, love, and forgiveness.
- Group level: The group level is concerned with how well you connect with your neighbors and includes characteristics that make social ties stronger, such as altruism and social responsibility.
The PERMA Model and positive psychology
Positive psychology places a lot of emphasis on promoting wellbeing. Longer lifespans, higher levels of productivity, and happier relationships are all associated with higher levels of well-being. Seligman suggested the PERMA model in this regard to clarify and define well-being in a more general sense. The acronym for the five components of wellbeing is PERMA, and it has gained widespread acceptance as a model in the discipline of positive psychology. Here is a brief explanation of the PERMA theory:
P – Positive Emotions :Positive emotions have a significant impact on improving wellbeing. Fostering appreciation and forgiveness for the past, taking pleasure in the present, and having hope for the future can all lead to positive emotions.
E – Engagement: Increasing your sense of engagement is another significant way to improve your well-being. You can achieve this by immersing yourself fully in a task that you enjoy and are good at. This level of commitment results in “flow,” a state of mind you experience when your abilities are adequate for a given challenge and a specific objective is in mind. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, a pioneer in the field of positive psychology, is the author of the term “flow.”
R – Relationships: Humans are social creatures, and in order to succeed, they frequently depend on developing relationships with other people. The support we receive from these relationships can give our lives direction and significance.
M – Meaning: Living a happy life requires more than just experiencing good feelings. Finding meaning, according to Seligman, is the pinnacle of happiness. Applying your abilities to something bigger than yourself, like a social cause, making a significant contribution to the community you live in, or performing a philanthropic act can give your life meaning.
A – Accomplishment: There is no denying that we get a sense of fulfillment when we accomplish our aims and succeed. It is challenging to get a true sense of well-being if the motivation to achieve goals isn’t present.
Positive Psychology is all about maintaining positive attitude towards life. There are ways of building positivity.
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Bringing positive emotions in Workplace
Positive psychology also lends itself to improvements in the workplace; studies from the field have found that:
- Positive emotions boost our job performance;
- Positive emotions in the workplace are contagious, which means one positive person or team can have a ripple effect that extends through the entire organization;
- Small, simple actions can have a big impact on our happiness, meaning that it doesn’t take much to encourage your workplace to become a happier and more positive place (Kjerulf, 2016)
Those who intentionally cultivate a positive mood to match the outward emotion they need to display (i.e., in emotional labor) benefit by more genuinely experiencing the positive mood. In other words, “putting on a happy face” won’t necessarily make you feel happier, but putting in a little bit of effort likely will (Scott & Barnes, 2011)
By concentrating on doing more of the things that make you happy, you can increase your sense of genuine happiness, according to Seligman’s advice. This will help you to enjoy your everyday routines and feel more cheerful. Along with strengthening your bonds with friends and family, you should attempt to make your relationships better.