Each time something goes wrong in your life, something else is going right. Good and bad have always complimented one another. Yet, in our society, we tend to only focus on the bad.
For example, researchers investigate the minds of serial killers. However, they spend hardly any time on investigating why other people are not serial killers.
Our society is obsessed with finding out what is wrong with ourselves, our communities and our world. We want to put a diagnosis on everything, thinking that will explain our negative actions and reactions.
Only in the last two decades has there been an interest in finding out what makes people think and act positively. Figuring out what makes people happy or content or anti-violence could be huge. Then we could focus on recovery strategies based on this information.
Positive Psychology is the name of this field of study.
What is Applied Positive Psychology
Positive psychology is based on science and often uses the scientific method to make analyses. It is simply taking the flip side of traditional psychology (figuring out what makes us depressed, anxious, etc.) and focusing on positive attributes (what makes us feel pleasure, positive thinking, happiness).
Just like researchers who study unpleasant symptoms, positive psychologists study pleasing symptoms. They then apply what they find to the treatment of people seeking a better well-being. While it may seem they are trying to push aside traditional therapies, this is not the case.
The two therapies can go hand in hand to help those suffering from a mental illness. There are many benefits of applied positive psychology. Seven are listed below.
Compliments Traditional Psychology
If you go to therapy with symptoms of mild depression due to a recent breakup, the therapist can choose between three paths. One, they can help you focus on your dysfunction, why you are depressed. They can give you a diagnosis, maybe some medication and see you again next week.
They can focus on what is functioning well in your life. The therapist can teach you how to look on the brighter side of life. They help you find the reasons that make life worth living for you. Or, they canpair both styles of psychology.
Good therapists will always address immediate needs and concerns of clients. But when only giving attention to your depressive symptoms, you are likely to stay focused on those negative symptoms.
Once the negative symptoms have been addressed, redirecting your attention to the positives in your life will allow you to feel the hope of a better future.
Encourages Commitment to Health
There are times when someone with mental illness feels like giving up. This is understandable when all that is being addressed is negative outcomes, negative behaviors, or negative past experiences.
Positive psychology, when applied alongside traditional therapy, strives to help a person get committed to improving their situation through various goals.
The Positive Psychology Institute claims the goals of this technique is to help people feel they have a greater purpose. They are taught to seek experiences that give back to the community and extend past their own illness.
Positive psychology also teaches people how to cope with adversity, be productive and build positive relationships with others.
Focus on Personal Strengths
Positive psychology practices are designed to show a person they have strengths as well as weaknesses. A therapist in this field will teach a client how to recognize their own strengths and build upon them to become stronger.
Through strengths coaching, people become more confident, have more energy and enthusiasm for life, and become more resilient.
Focus on Relationships
Studies have shown that people with the highest degree of happiness also had strong and positive relationships with family and friends.
How you communicate with others is important. Responding in a positive, yet still truthful, a way can benefit you and the person you are communicating with.
Too often today, people communicate poorly with one another. Learning to properly build relationships through verbal and even body language can enhance your overall well-being.
Improves the Workplace
There are many ways to implement positive psychology in the workplace. Teaching employees to have a better outlook about work can increase their enjoyment. Giving them a new perspective can improve how they respond to customers also.
For instance, looking at challenges as opportunities for growth versus just an unpleasant experience.
Positive psychology can make employees feel valued and as if they are a priority over their duties. When people feel appreciated and valued, they perform better. When they feel important, they make efforts to increase success within the organization.
Communities, just like individuals, have a collective mental and physical health. The overall well-being of a community needs to be cared for and influenced positively.
If a community experiences a tragedy, all its members are affected. How each member reacts to the tragedy can determine whether the community will thrive or not. It is important to know what makes communities flourish and become resilient.
Positive psychology can teach community members to bond together in good times and bad. This means the group can avoid internal divisions.
Positive psychology does not mean that undesirable things will stop happening in your life. It does mean you will change your thoughts about the events taking place in your life.
Fear of failure can be difficult for many. By changing how you look at failure and giving it less power in your life, you can feel confident in facing obstacles that arise.
You can start to see failure as a way to learn and become better, rather than view it as a part of your identity. Failure is just another way to become stronger.
Positive psychology can help you achieve your goals. It can do so by giving you a new way to look at road blocks and the enthusiasm to be persistent even when those road blocks seem insurmountable.
To learn more about positive psychology, talk to your therapist. Let them know you want to implement the tools and techniques of positive psychology into your regular treatments. If it can offer a more positive outlook, improved emotions, better relationships, and a stronger community, it is worth it.