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Characteristics of Positive Psychology

The key characteristics of positive psychology are about embracing people’s strengths as opposed to focusing on their weaknesses. This approach that is contrary to the traditional disease model is effective because it boosts a person’s confidence and autonomy. As one of the newest branches of psychology to emerge, positive psychology has identified three different layers to the meaning of happiness, namely 1) pleasure and gratification, 2) embodiment of strengths and virtues, and 3) meaning and purpose. It can benefit people at different stages of the mental health spectrum, but if you are really struggling it’s recommended to get professional help. If you wish to learn to practice positive psychology yourself, various methods and techniques are readily available on the Internet.

Pursuing Non-Zero Sum Goals

Whether you’re setting career targets, relationship and familial objectives, or daily objectives, it’s pertinent to comprehend what your objectives are to be able to establish goals that you could ultimately attain. It’s not helpful to set goals that are vague, outside your reach, or that you are not motivated to achieve. According to Bruce Headey’s study on life targets and happiness, it’s pertinent to set up non-zero goals instead of zero-sum targets. What does this mean? A zero-sum target is a representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain or loss of utility is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the utility of the other participants. Examples are life goals such as prioritizing career and material goals that may be transient and not beneficial to all. On the other hand, non-zero sum goals which include a commitment to volunteering, and also to family and friends, promote life satisfaction without taking anything away from anyone else. As such, targets and commitments related to philanthropy¬†and spirituality play an important part in the restoration of meaning.

Vital Pieces of Positive Psychology

Research in positive psychology has proven the value of daily journaling on life satisfaction and well-being. For example, keeping a gratitude journal focuses on what it is you’re grateful for. Gratitude has been demonstrated to be clearly connected with compassion and mental resilience, which are key ingredients to positive growth after trauma. However, attaining happiness isn’t the ultimate aim of positive psychology. Through its three central concerns: positive experiences, positive individual traits, and positive institutions, the strive is for contentment with the past, happiness in the present, and hope for the future with the goal of¬†promoting the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive and be fulfilled.

Understanding Positive Psychology

There are lots of perspectives that a person have to take into consideration to understand and follow the practice of positive psychology. It is helpful to self-reflect to get a feeling of your own well-being as a starting point. Awareness of thoughts and feelings are of great importance in the process. Recurring negative thoughts are typically a reflection of issues with health, relationships, and life satisfaction. Such thoughts lead to fixed beliefs over time that represents your ideas about yourself, others, and the future. The best way to deal with unhelpful thoughts that influence your behavior, relationships, health, and other aspects of your daily life, is to cultivate an awareness, challenge the underlying false beliefs, and distinguish between circumstances that you can and cannot change.

More on: Anxiety, Depression, Psychoeducation
Latest update: June 29, 2018