Positive Psychology is a relatively new field of psychology that aims to discover what makes people happier and what causes them to feel better. Instead of seeking pathology-based solutions, it looks at a range of situations that allow individuals to improve and feel better about themselves, as well as handling tension more effectively.
The roots of Positive Psychology can be traced back to the beliefs of humanistic psychologists; they were less interested in pathological aspects and focused more on a healthy mental state. These theories were supported by psychologists such as Abraham Maslow. However, it did not become known as a common term until 1998. The American Psychological Association was used by Martin Seligman as a platform for taking these concepts to the forefront.
Seligman’s daughter was his main source of inspiration to help develop this new area of psychology. That happened as he was considering which parenting strategies are better for raising his young kid. He knew a lot about the importance of pathology in terms of psychological well-being; but not much about encouraging mental strength, commitment, and emotional stability. Therefore, he decided to help expand this field of research.
What Positive Psychology Wants to Achieve
Positive Psychology focuses on finding out what makes people thrive. It explores questions such as, ‘’What circumstances lead to happiness’’, ‘’What is the impact of positive emotions on health?’’ and ‘’How can people become more resilient’’?
This field of psychology has also made significant contributions so far. For example, it is already well-established that when a person has negative emotions such as anxiety, tension or frustration, it has a significantly negative impact on our overall health. It can even lead to chronic stress and increase the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, Positive Psychology studies show that positive feelings can in fact counteract those outcomes.
Usage in Stress Management
Positive Psychology has identified a vast range of positive emotional states which can contribute to improved mental well-being, strength, and feelings of fulfillment. You can find a couple of them below.
Oftentimes when we are so engaged in something we do, we lose track of time – whether it is a job or a hobby we love. This is called ‘’flow’’ and all of us can relate to it. So, what are you waiting for? Go and find an activity that will have your full attention!
If you value what you already have, you will feel happy and satisfied. Therefore, having the things you want and appreciating the fact that you have them, makes you feel thankful. Being aware of this every day also helps – for instance, by keeping a diary. As a result, by being grateful for the things you have, you feel fulfilled and just happier overall.
This means being conscious of the moment and completely acknowledging one’s feelings, thoughts and senses. Mastering this takes some time but it is definitely worth it in the end.
It may seem cliché, but it is actually true that people who think optimistically instead of pessimistically, end up finding more joy. It’s always up to the individual to choose whether they want to be optimistic; it’s all about wanting to make this mindset part of our daily life.
Whatever direction you take, having a sense of spirituality will add more meaning to your life, and it can also give you the power to cope with stress. Prayer and meditation are basic ways of fostering spirituality. As an additional benefit, connecting yourself with spiritual groups and organizations helps in finding social support.
Using these techniques and habits will help you hit the next level of self-development. By focusing on the things that make you happy in life, you will become a happier, fuller person.
What is “positive influence”? It is when you channel the force of positivity in everything – from engaging with others to solving the challenges of life. On the other hand, the “negative effect” means facing problems with a negative mindset which includes the environment and relationships. While these situations are opposites, they function independently from each other. Therefore, there is a possibility to feel both at the same level – high or low – or high in only one.
Positive Affect and Stress
There are other characteristics that people who feel happy exhibit, other than positive affect. These include traits such as feeling productive, being extroverted and having an ambitious attitude. The importance of being able to build a greater resistance towards stress should not be overlooked. It functions as a virtuous circle – if you feel happy, you develop more resistance to stress, which in turn makes it possible to achieve positive outcomes.
Opposite of that, negative affect will result in a vicious circle where your perceptions of negative affect make it hard for you to cope with stress. That results in deeper feelings of negative impact. Therefore, it is important to focus on the joys of life and developing a positive attitude. You need to remember that these emotions are not just about seeking instant pleasure in the moment; they are about a long-term purpose of maintaining a stress-free, meaningful life.
Ways to Cultivate Positive Affect
Positive affect is not a thing that you can achieve overnight; creating it requires time and effort. It is clear that the brains of certain people are hardwired to send off positive vibrations as a core part of their being. But there are actions that can be taken by anyone to improve their behaviors and experience positive affect more often, resulting in optimistic feelings. So, get ready to do something! You can start by shifting the way you think and not placing yourself in positions where you might experience negative things.
Here are a few other methods you can use to improve positive affect:
1. One of the many ways to experience increased positive affect levels is by recording your positive thoughts in a journal; this will ensure that these feelings will follow you in the long term. Focus particularly on the things that you are grateful for the most.
2. Let yourself embrace the things you love. When you make it a priority to plan activities that make you feel good, you will improve the feelings of positive affect, and all the other positive stuff that goes with it. Making sure to bring new delights from time to time into your life, will keep it exciting.
3. Choose your hobby. While it may seem that you don’t have time for new interests, it is vital that you have them in your schedule. This also distracts the mind from the pressures of life, and brings the feeling of achieving something.
4. Practice loving kindness meditation. Mediation is a powerful way to relieve stress, but loving kindness medication is an extremely good way to do so. It includes giving out love, kindness and warm emotions to others by quietly repeating optimistic words to yourself.
5. Exercise – but do it in an enjoyable way! Being physically active is one of the best methods of relieving stress. The key part is being motivated, which is why you should choose a fun-filled activity, rather than something intensive. You do not need to learn to play kickbox or basketball; it can be something as easy as taking a walk with a friend.