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Positive Psychology in Everyday Life

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Positive Psychology is a branch of science that deals with the most fundamental subject of human life focusing on positive emotions and aspects. It is incomplete if we only consider the bad aspects while completely ignoring the positive ones.

About the Article:-

> What is Positive Psychology?

> History of Positive Psychology

> The Father of Positive Psychology

> Who is Martin Seligman?

> The PERMA Model of Positive Psychology

> How is Positive Psychology Applied in Everyday Life?

> How Can Positive Psychology Help in Coaching?

Not a single day goes when a quote or a message about happiness or life doesn’t come on our feed. We blindly even react to it, by liking, by sharing and yet continue to live life without making a change. 

Both conscious and unconscious are a part of our psyche. Human psyche has been under study since we can remember. In the beginning, everything was philosophised. Then based on proofs and contradictions, many branches were formed from the subject, one of which is called psychology. 

Human psychology is ever-expanding. Right! Now, there is a significant shift across the globe about mental health awareness, making psychology an everyday essential. Even without realising it, we take the help of psychology in our daily lives. 

We as a society have become more accepting of the choices people make. We are taught the importance of rest, acknowledging emotions and coping with anxiety. In short, we are more aware than ever. Everyday is better because we are breaking the stereotypical ‘what breaks you makes you’ ideology. 

We will now follow a trail that will lead us to Positive Psychology and its application in daily life. 

What is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology was developed to help us flourish and learn from the best, after years of classifying and healing the worst of human experience. This broad and diverse study today encompasses a wide range of topics, drawing on Aristotelian and Maslowian theories and methods.

Traditionally, the focus of psychology has been on recognising and treating mental health issues such as depression. This is vital for people dealing with mental illness, yet it only gives a partial picture of mental wellness. Positive psychology is a relatively young discipline of psychology that focuses on promoting wellbeing and the building of a meaningful life filled with pleasure, engagement, positive connections, and accomplishment rather than what is clinically wrong.

It is “… the study of the factors and activities that contribute to the thriving or optimal functioning of people, organisations, and institutions,” according to Gable and Haidt (2005).

Positive psychology is not about putting on a pleasant face all the time. Life can be difficult, and disappointments and difficulties are unavoidable. Scientific study, on the other hand, has revealed that there are some tactics and abilities that can help people negotiate life’s problems more effectively and enjoy life more.

Positive psychology moves the scientific perspective from a focus on stress, disorder, and dysfunction to a focus on well-being, health, and optimal functioning. It offers a distinct perspective on human experience. Recent discoveries have resulted in the development of a shared paradigm that ties the study of positive feelings, strengths, and virtues to crucial life outcomes.

Recent research suggests that rather than established diagnostic categories of mental disease, difficulties in psychological functioning may be better treated as the lack, excess, or inverse of these qualities. Positive psychology’s main premise, that the study of health, fulfilment, and well-being is just as worthy of study as illness, dysfunction, and misery, has found favour with both academics and the general public.

Positive psychology’s single most important contribution has been to establish a collective identity—a common voice and vocabulary for scholars and practitioners of all stripes who share an interest in health as well as sickness, in realising potential as well as alleviating pathology.

Academic psychologists may specialise in aberrant, cognitive, developmental, or social psychology while still identifying as positive psychologists. Professional psychologists can operate in a variety of settings, including clinical counselling, education, forensics, health, and industrial/organisational settings, yet still consider themselves to be positive psychology practitioners.

Positive psychology is distinctive in that it transcends standard psychological dualities and divisions to offer truly integrative and cross-setting approaches to problem solving. A positive psychologist is as natural for a neuroscientist investigating positive affect as it is for a social psychologist exploring religious experience, a developmental psychologist studying resilience, or a health psychologist working to enhance health and well-being.

History of Positive Psychology

Even before Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, philosophers in Ancient Greece pondered over what it meant to live a virtuous life and how a person could aspire to find contentment.

In the late 19th century, a link was clearly established between local regions of the brain and specific motor skills and behaviour, and modern psychology transitioned from thought experiment to scientific inquiry. In 1874, one of the earliest psychologists, Wilhelm Wundt, published the seminal Principles of Physiological Psychology. Psychology as a research field blossomed in less than three decades, and theories like operant and classical conditioning shaped the behaviouristic paradigm of the early twentieth century.

Positive psychology became a prominent trend that emerged in the late 1990s and it has since grown in popularity. It is a discipline of psychology that focuses on the qualities, virtues, and talents that enable individuals and societies to prosper. Martin Seligman, a past president of the American Psychological Association, was the driving force behind it.

Positive psychology has its roots in twentieth-century humanistic psychology, which placed a strong emphasis on happiness and fulfilment. A number of humanistic psychologists, including Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Erich Fromm, established theories and practises related to human pleasure. Positive psychologists have now discovered empirical evidence for the notions of human flourishing espoused by these humanistic psychologists. Positive psychology has also advanced in a variety of new directions: rather than treating mental illness, positive psychologists attempt “to uncover and develop brilliance and talent,” and “to make normal life more fulfilling,”.

Positive psychology shifted the attention away from “what’s broken” and toward “what works.” Contentment with the past, happiness in the now, and optimism for the future are the defining pillars of positive psychology, according to Christopher Peterson, a co-author with Seligman and a professor at the University of Michigan. 

Presently, positive psychology is being used by experts in a wide range of sectors. Positive psychology is used by businesses to analyse employee engagement, retain critical talent, improve job happiness, and match people to the most productive jobs within their organisations. When giving constructive comments or developing mental and physical wellness initiatives in the workplace, key research can help. Positive psychology is important in practically every sector, and it equips leaders with a deeper knowledge of happiness to drive staff.

The Father of Positive Psychology

Psychology used to be all about figuring out what was wrong with you before the term “positive psychology” was coined.

It was when Martin Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 1998, the phrase “positive psychology” was coined. As a result, he is commonly referred to as the father of positive psychology.”

All available psychology resources were dedicated toward researching and treating psychological problems in the aftermath of World War II due to humanitarian crises. And it is for this reason that psychology has come to operate inside a sickness paradigm. 

However, there developed a gap in the science and study of psychology because of the neglect to investigate positive characteristics such as abilities, strengths, and so on. This is due to the simple truth that when a branch of science deals with the most fundamental subject of human life, it is incomplete if it only considers the bad aspects while completely ignoring the positive ones.

However, at a Ted Talk in 2008, Martin Seligman highlighted why he believes positive psychology should focus on both mental health and mental well-being. He said, 

“Psychology should be just as concerned with human strength as it is with weakness. It should also be as interesting in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst, and it should just be as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling, and with nurturing high talent as with healing pathology.”

The most significant contribution of positive psychology in mental health counseling and therapy is the introduction of happiness as a treatment goal (Gruman, Schneider, & Coutts, 2017).However, one positive outcome of this paradigm is that fourteen formerly incurable psychological disorders such as low self-esteem, PTSD, confusion, demotivation,can now be treated.

Who is Martin Seligman?

Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman is the Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology at Penn. He’s also the programme director for the Penn Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP). 

In 1998, he served as President of the American Psychological Association, and one of his presidential initiatives was to promote Positive Psychology as a scientific field. In the subjects of positive psychology, resilience, learned optimism, depression, optimism, and pessimism, he is a major authority. He’s also an expert in therapies that help people avoid depression and improve their strengths and well-being. He has over 350 scholarly publications and 30 books to his credit.

[ A picture of Martin]

The Hope Circuit (Public Affairs, 2018), Flourish (Free Press, 2011), Authentic Happiness (Free Press, 2002), Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991), What You Can Change & What You Can’t (Knopf, 1993), The Optimistic Child (Houghton Mifflin, 1995), Helplessness (Freeman, 1975, 1993), and Abnormal Psychology (Freeman, 1975, 1993) are among his more well-known works (Norton, 1982, 1988, 1995, with David Rosenhan). With Christopher Peterson, he co-authored the book Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (Oxford, 2004). The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Parents, Fortune, Family Circle, USA Today, and many more popular magazines have featured his work on their front pages.

Dr. Martin Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 1996 with the greatest vote in the organisation’s history. His main goal as APA President was to bring practice and science together so that both might thrive, a goal that he has pursued throughout his career as a psychologist. The prevention of ethnopolitical violence and the study of positive psychology were two of his key objectives. His main objective has been to promote the field of positive psychology since 2000.

Dr. Seligman received his A.B. from Princeton University, Summa Cum Laude (Philosophy), 1964; Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (Psychology), 1967; Ph.D., Honoris causa, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1989; Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris causa, Massachusetts College of Professional Psychology, 1997; Ph.D., Honoris causa, Complutense University, Spain, 2003; and Ph.D., Honoris causa, University of East London, 2006.

The PERMA Model of Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is a natural extension of happiness research, with the goal of figuring out what makes individuals happy or fulfilled rather than diagnosing and treating what makes them unhappy. Nonetheless, the problem of suffering must be addressed. Positive psychologists, on the other hand, take a different approach.

Martin Seligman is a pioneer of Positive Psychology (the phrase was coined by Abraham Maslow), not just because he has a coherent theory about why happy people are happy, but also because he investigates it using scientific methods. Seligman discovered that the most satisfied and upbeat people were those who had discovered and used their unique combination of “signature qualities,” such as humanity, temperance, and tenacity. 

Confucius, Mencius, and Aristotle’s virtue ethics are combined with modern psychology theories of motivation in this vision of happiness. According to Seligman, happiness can be nurtured in three dimensions: the Pleasant Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life.

Seligman gave the theory of PERMA for Positive Psychology 

“Seligman originally suggested that Positive psychology can be delineated into three overlapping areas of research.

Pleasant Life:Research into the Pleasant Life, or the “life of enjoyment,” examines how people optimally experience, forecast, and savour the positive feelings and emotions that are part of normal and healthy living (relationships, hobbies, interests, entertainment, and so forth). Seligman has suggested that this is the most transient element of happiness and may be the least important, despite the attention it is given.

Good Life: The study of the Good Life, or the “life of engagement,” investigates the beneficial effects of immersion, absorption, and flow that individuals feel when optimally engaged with their primary activities. These states are experienced when there is a positive match between a person’s strength and the task they are doing, in other words, when they feel confident that they can accomplish the tasks they face.

Meaningful Life: Inquiry into the Meaningful Life, or “life of affiliation,” questions how individuals derive a positive sense of well-being, belonging, meaning, and purpose from being part of and contributing back to something larger and more permanent than themselves (such as nature, social groups, organisations, movements, traditions, belief systems).

Seligman later suggested that “Meaningful Life” would be better considered as three different categories, resulting in five elements of well being with the acronym PERMA.

Positive psychology: New World Encyclopedia. Org

Seligman created the PERMA model to explain and define well-being in a larger sense in this regard. The term PERMA stands for “five elements of well-being,” and it is a well-known concept in the field of positive psychology. 

  • P: Positive Emotion

Positive emotions have a significant impact on improving well-being. Gratitude and forgiveness for past experiences, enjoying oneself in the moment, and being enthusiastic about the future can all lead to positive emotions.

  • E: Engagement

It’s also crucial to cultivate a sense of participation in order to improve your well-being. This can be accomplished by thoroughly immersing oneself in something you enjoy and excel at. This level of commitment leads to the sensation of “flow”, which occurs when your talents are adequate for a specific challenge with a specific goal in mind. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, a pioneer in the field of positive psychology, invented the term “flow.”

  • R: Relationships

Individuals rely on forming connections with other people to live as social creatures, and the support we receive from these ties can give life meaning and purpose.

  • M: Meaning 

It is not enough to have positive emotions to live a happy life. Finding meaning, according to Seligman, is the highest form of  happiness. Applying your personal strengths to something larger than yourself, such as a social cause, a significant contribution to a community you’re a member of, or a philanthropic duty, can provide meaning.

  • A: Achievement

There’s no denying that when we reach our objectives and succeed, we feel fulfilled. A true sense of well-being is difficult to achieve if the motivation to achieve these goals is lacking.

How is Positive Psychology Applied in Everyday Life?

Positive psychology concepts resemble self-help strategies rather than scientifically validated theories. Positive psychology techniques are now being employed in more traditional aspects of therapy, and their usefulness has been proven.

The value of each of the components in PERMA in contributing to our overall well-being, whether at home or at work, has been well investigated, and we can think of these factors as the foundations of our individual and communal well-being. It’s unlikely that any one of these factors can motivate you to get out of bed and go to work every day. But when we look at them all together, we can see how we perform as a person, team, or organisation on each of them.

You can use some of the key discoveries of positive psychology to your daily life in the following ways to become a more thoughtful, thankful, and positive leader.

1. Express Gratitude

When you show appreciation, you focus your attention on the good things in your life. Gratitude practised consistently and on a daily basis is an effective technique to reprogram your brain. It will become second nature to you to focus on the positive aspects of your life.

Make a gratitude journal to help you count your accomplishments consciously and thoughtfully. You’ll notice that by training your “gratitude muscle,” you’ve developed a positive mindset.

2. Nurture Relationships with Family and Friends

Nurturing our relationships is one method to increase life engagement. People who exploit their strengths are happier and more confident, less stressed, more resilient, and more engaged in their self-development, according to research. We establish stronger and more cooperative connections by combining our skills with others’ and aiding them in using theirs, allowing for greater collaboration and teamwork.

3. Practice Optimism Regarding the Future

Look for the silver lining. People who are happy are those who can find the positive in every situation. Positive psychology urges people to look for a positive lesson in every setback. Because you need to have a proactive mindset to manage critical difficulties, this attitude is incredibly effective and useful.

Find the silver lining in everyday problems to help you apply this fundamental lesson in your life. You’ll find it easier to fix larger and more difficult situations as you retrain your brain to pick answers and hunt for positives.

4. Savor the Positive Experience in Life

Being present and mindful is the mantra for relishing a moment. We can more effectively judge and respond to situations and people when we approach the world with mindful awareness. We grow more accepting of ourselves and others by recognising and detaching ourselves from old ideas and worries.

Mindfulness is a skill that takes practice and time to master, but it does not take long to see substantial results and the advantages are instant. While there are numerous mindfulness techniques available, such as meditation and yoga, it is not difficult to incorporate awareness into our daily lives. All we have to do is pay attention to what’s going on and savour our experiences with awareness.

5. Commit to and Make Meaningful Goals

All of us want to have a larger-than-life purpose. Make a list of your objectives and consider whether they are leading you toward a positive outcome or away from a negative scenario. Focus on the chance of finding a new and meaningful career in a new location to change your aim. This will lead you to a happier objective and will help you tap into positive energies.

Make your dreams a reality by making them a part of your daily routine. To stay motivated, you’ll tap into positive emotions like excitement and courage.

How Can Positive Psychology Help in Coaching?

Positive psychology is a natural fit with coaching. 

Coaching is chiefly centred around assisting and developing people and teams in achieving their objectives and realising their full potential. It is a process and a relationship that focuses on allowing for effective learning and development, and consequently improved performance.

Clients seek coaching for a variety of reasons, but beneath all of these concerns and needs is an unspoken desire to improve their overall happiness and well-being. The methodologies that coaches employ to help clients achieve their goals on the path to improved well-being are based on positive psychology.

One of the most important constructive practices you can utilise as a coach, leader, or trainer to enable people to be the best they can be is looking for what they do well and helping them develop their skills.

People tend to focus on fixing problems or “growth areas” far too often. While it’s critical to help people learn to handle their flaws, teaching them to play to their strengths more effectively will increase their performance and make them feel more motivated and fulfilled.

In either case, the more skills you give people for producing positive emotions, cultivating a growth mindset, practising mindfulness, building resilience, learning optimism, expressing gratitude, and developing strengths, the happier and more successful they will be.

Positive psychology also recommends particular techniques and practices that can be successfully implemented in the coaching relationship. Positive psychology coaching, on the other hand, provides clients with a combined precision instrument for increasing happiness, success, and the ability to thrive in work and life more consistently.

It’s an evidence-based coaching method that puts what positive psychology experts have learned about the process of human flourishing into practice.

To Conclude..

To summarise, positive psychology is not about being cheerful all of the time. It does not encourage toxic positivity. It does not strive to undermine or replace traditional psychology in any manner, and it does not ignore “bad” emotions and experiences.

Quite simply, positive psychology focuses on enhancing the positive aspects of your life. When your mind is in a favourable state, you’re more likely to experience progress and happiness.

Happiness and positive emotions should not be chased. To prosper, you don’t have to be cheery all of the time. Rather, seek for flow states and serve something greater than yourself. Well-being is multidimensional, with numerous components. Understand yourself and your key strengths, and put them to good use on a daily basis. Establish deep bonds with others. There’s no need to give up everything to live in a monastery. But don’t put all of your attention on it. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

We’ve looked at some positive psychology principles that may be useful to you. Now, give them a try in your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is positive psychology?

Positive Psychology is a discipline of psychology that focuses on the most basic part of human life: positive feelings and aspects. If we just consider the negative features while fully ignoring the favorable ones, it is incomplete. It is the study of the factors and behaviours that contribute to people’s, organizations’, and institutions’ flourishing or optimal functioning.

Who is the father of positive psychology?

The term “positive psychology” was coined when Martin Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 1998. As a result, he has earned the moniker “Father of Positive Psychology.”

Why positive psychology is important?

Positive Psychology helps in many ways, some of them are as follows:

  • Express Gratitude
  • Nurture Relationships with Family and Friends
  • Practice Optimism Regarding the Future
  • Savor the Positive Experience in Life

What is the PERMA Model of Positive Psychology?

Martin Seligman is a pioneer of Positive Psychology (the term was coined by Abraham Maslow), not only because he has a cohesive theory about why happy people are happy, but also because he uses scientific methods to examine it. People who had identified and employed their unique blend of “signature qualities,” such as humanity, temperance, and tenacity, were the most contented and upbeat, according to Seligman.

How does Positive psychology fit with coaching?

Positive psychology also suggests specific approaches and practises that can be used successfully in a coaching relationship. Positive psychology coaching, on the other hand, offers customers a combined precision instrument for constantly boosting happiness, success, and the ability to thrive in work and life.

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