Have you been experiencing little interest of pleasure in doing things? Are you having trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much? Perhaps, like many of us, you’ve Googled mental health keywords such as “depression,” “sleep apnea” and “panic attacks” before coming face to face with long questionnaires that quiz you about all the things that may be wrong with you. These questionnaires can be daunting. It’s not exactly a pleasant experience to have a magnifying glass held against the problems you’re facing.
But you should be proud of yourself for seeking help. After all, it’s important to be aware of our problems before we can get help and start to feel better. Any endeavour to be more self aware about your mental health deserves to be celebrated. You deserve to be celebrated, along with your strengths and the positivity in your life.
Enter Positive Psychology. It is fundamentally different, focussing on the positive things within our control and our strengths so that we can build a life of meaning and purpose. This is a wonderfully empowering idea. Instead of asking about your problems and flaws, it asks, “What are the already great things about you that you can improve to make you a happier person?”
How can seeing the positivity in our life and our character help us to be happy, you might ask? When we do so, we are essentially honing our awareness of ourselves, our surroundings and our experiences. Seeing the bigger picture becomes easier, which in turn helps us to see the available options in problem solving. Additionally, these positive qualities are intrinsically motivating. They help us to make our life worth living. Only when we know what positivity looks like can be become equipped with defining, quantifying and creating it.
Recognising and celebrating positivity and our strengths may seem intuitive, but they are very much learned experiences. We’ve prepared a flowchart to paint a picture of what Positive Psychology may look like in practice. You can do a self-check here:
How did you fare? Different people may have different responses to the various scenarios, and it’s probably easier to see what the best choices are when they’re presented to you hypothetically. How then can we internalise the principles behind these good choices and put them into practice?
In the remainder of our six-part series, we provide clear, easy-to-follow examples of things you can start to do as you go about your daily life to practise Positive Psychology. Read on as we delve into some principles of Positive Psychology and how they can work hand in hand with the process of diagnosis and treatment to make us happier, more resilient people.
Thank you to Alex, our contributor in the psychology field, for your expertise!
To find out more about Positive Psychology, read the other parts of our Positive Psychology series:
(Positive Psychology Series: Part 2/6) P for Positive Emotion
(Positive Psychology Series: Part 3/6) E for Engagement
(Positive Psychology Series: Part 4/6) R for Relationships
(Positive Psychology Series: Part 5/6) M for Meaning
(Positive Psychology Series: Part 6/6) A for Accomplishments