In the last two years, being positive has attained new significance…
…yes, all of us shuddered listening to the term positive – Covid Positive!
Once, we are Covid positive, we are robbed of all our positivity. Considering the social quarantine, medication, and painful recovery process, we become negative. Our psychology gets impacted severely which we don’t take notice of because we are busy getting physically better. Physically we get cured, but psychological disturbance or ailment persists.
This is where ‘Positive Psychology’ attains significance which is critical for a person’s mental well-being and overall happiness.
By definition: “Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living” (Peterson, 2008).
Positive psychology focuses on the positive events and influences in life, like positive experiences of happiness, joy, inspiration, and love, Positive traits like gratitude, resilience, and compassion, or positive institutions like the application of positive principles.
As a field, positive psychology spends much of its time thinking about topics like character strengths, optimism, life satisfaction, happiness, wellbeing, gratitude, compassion (as well as self-compassion), self-esteem and self-confidence, hope, and elevation.
As expressed by the father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, “The aim of positive psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life.”
Indeed, it is easier said than done, considering the scenario globally where mental health is not that big a priority, as the patient is subject to a lot of discomforts (humiliation) socially and emotionally.
Hence, we must explore the potential benefits of positive psychology, that teaches us the power of shifting one’s perspective. A relatively small change in one’s perspective can lead to astounding shifts in wellbeing and quality of life. Injecting a bit more optimism and gratitude into your life is a simple action that can give you a radically more positive outlook on life.
Of course, no respected positive psychologist would tell you to think about, act out, and focus on only the positive in life -balance is important. Positive psychology was not established to replace traditional psychology, but to complement it with a positive bias that’s just as strong as psychology’s negative bias over the last several decades.
Studies and research have proven that Positive psychology teaches how to harness the power of shifting one’s perspective to maximize the potential for happiness in many of our everyday behaviours.
So how can we improve our quality of life:
- By not overestimating the impact of money on our happiness. Yes, it does have some influence, but not nearly as much as we might think, so focusing less on attaining wealth will likely make you happier.
- Spending money on experiences provides a bigger boost to happiness than spending money on material possessions.
- Gratitude is a big contributor to happiness in life, suggesting that the more we cultivate gratitude, the happier we will be.
- Intentionally cultivating a positive mood to match the outward emotion they need to display benefits more genuinely experiencing the positive mood. In other words, “putting on a happy face” won’t necessarily make you feel happier, but putting in a little bit of effort likely will.
- Happiness is contagious; those with happy friends and significant others are more likely to be happy in the future.
- People who perform acts of kindness toward others not only get a boost in well-being but are also more accepted by their peers.
- Volunteering time to a cause you believe in improves your wellbeing and life satisfaction and may even reduce symptoms of depression.
- Spending money on other people results in greater happiness for the giver.
One of the benefits of practicing a positive psychological outlook is, to put it broadly, success! Not only does success make us happier, but feeling happy and experiencing positive emotions increases our chances of success.
Author Jwalant Swaroop is founder & CEO, HappyHo.