Positive psychology is an emerging subfield in psychology that has been prevalent since its development in 1998 by Martin Seligman. Results from the meta-analysis show that positive psychology interventions in one’s life would improve subjective and psychological well-being, besides reducing depressive symptoms.
In this article, let’s look at what positive psychology is and the benefits it offers.
What is Positive Psychology?
Positive psychology is the study of the factors that let people live fulfilling lives. Optimizing thoughts, feelings, and behavior for a better life is its key focus. It differs from following the assumptions of the disease model–which concentrates on mental illness–by giving as much attention to the positive attributes of life.
Positive psychology began when Seligman didn’t like psychology fixating on the negatives, like mental illness, trauma, suffering, and others. Becoming president of the American Psychological Association (APA), he started a new subfield of psychology that also emphasize the positives. Positive psychology thus centers on positive experiences and traits, including, joy, love, happiness, gratitude, and compassion.
According to Seligman, positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments (often known as PERMA) are the five elements essential for happiness and well-being. Positive psychology aims to define and pivot on these five factors to maximize its benefits.
A simple way to adopt positive psychology into one’s life would be by writing a gratitude journal. Elaborately writing what we are grateful for would immediately boost happiness. Being kind and helping others when possible is another way. Overall, having an optimistic view of life and the future will help us maintain positive emotions.
What are the Benefits of Positive Psychology?
We can broadly classify the benefits of positive psychology into two categories: happiness and better engagement.
Happiness increases as people are in a positive, optimistic state. Rather than dwelling on negatives, they can embark on meaningful things that make them happy, and they will be keen to solve problems than vent. As people become more kind, generous, and confident, their relationships with others and society improve, leading them to have a greater outlook on life.
2. Better Engagement
Positive psychology includes narrowing our attention down to our strengths. We become resourceful and perform better if we work on what we are good at. By doing this, we can enter a mental state of “flow” where we fully immerse in what we do or be in the zone.
It makes us resilient and improves our ability to deal with challenges. We can lead a peaceful, purposeful life by attaining fulfillment from meaningful accomplishments.
A Bit of Optimism and Gratitude
So far, we’ve answered the question: what is positive psychology? And we looked at some relevant benefits. Living in a world that seems to have endless bad news in store, imbibing a bit of optimism and gratitude is not a bad idea. Along with working on things that improve our life, it can positively affect the overall quality of our lives.