What is Positive Psychology?

In recent years, people worldwide have been using terminology such as “positive psychology” much more frequently. But what really constitutes this esoteric field? Positive psychology is defined as the study of the “good life”, or, the positive aspects of what makes a human life worth living. It is centered around biopsychosocial factors that contribute to happiness and success of an individual or a community. Positive psychology celebrates strengths rather than denouncing weaknesses, and it has been gaining traction in recent years due to its positive outlook on the field of mental health as a whole.

The main topics positive psychology aims to cover are character strengths, optimism, self-confidence, gratitude, and more. It empowers individuals and communities to alter their perspectives on the influence of certain things, such as money, on happiness, overall allowing people to recognize what they truly value in life. This is really crucial, especially in a time of crisis like the one we are currently in. Oftentimes people don’t take enough time to get to know themselves in and out, but by using practices in positive psychology this is much more easily achievable. Actually understanding what makes you happy can be extraordinarily beneficial—you can use this information to your advantage and specifically incorporate activities and experiences that make you happy into your daily life! 

Keeping a daily gratitude journal, giving yourself compliments on a regular basis, and helping others are all prime examples of how to infuse positive psychology into your life. University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman, a major proponent of this new avenue of mental health, describes the practice of positive psychology as aiming to “build what’s strong”, rather than to “fix what’s wrong”. Mental health and therapy mostly focuses on attacking issues, but it is much rarer that it is centered around highlighting positivity and optimism unrelated to preexisting problems. Instead of perseverating on the negative facets of life, by utilizing positive psychology you can give your overall mental health a lasting boost. In a world ravaged by bad news and stress, taking some time for yourself can make a remarkable impact on both your emotions and those of everyone around you.

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