“Positive psychology is the branch of psychology that uses scientific understanding and effective interventions to aid in the achievement of a satisfactory life, rather than merely treating mental illness” (Wikipedia). It focuses on growth and well-being. It centers around making people happier and more productive. It offers strategies to help people develop and build personal strengths such as courage, social skills, honesty, optimism, and hope. Positive psychology is not to replace traditional psychology, or to deny how things go wrong, but to emphasize the importance of how things go right.
Dr. Martin Seligman is a leader in the positive psychology movement. In 1998 Martin Seligman, “suggested that psychology turn toward understanding and building human strengths to complement the traditional emphasis on healing damage. Psychology had neglected the positive side of life, having spent much of the last half century primarily concerned with psychopathology” (Seligman, 2002). Some of the major findings of positive psychology include people being happier, building stronger relationships and characters to help combat disappointments, engaging in work that is meaningful, learning to be happier by developing optimism and gratitude. Happiness is a choice and there is no single definition for happiness. Happiness has a different meaning for each individual and is based on how we feel about our lives. There are ways one can raise their level of happiness:
- finding something to look forward to
- looking at the positives even when something goes wrong
- identifying what you are grateful for
The list is endless and everyone has different things that make them happy. I encourage you to participate in an activity that makes you happy and work on making it part of your routine. Besides, it takes 21 days to form a habit-right?
Our brains get stuck in repetitive behaviors or thinking, so when we look for negatives, we get the negatives. We need to retrain our brain to look for the good things. According to Wikipedia, “the Tetris effect occurs when people devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams.” So, instead of creating a pattern that looks for negatives, flip the switch and look for opportunities that allow success and positivity to grow. We benefit when we focus on the positives. We become happier, we become more grateful, and we become more optimistic.
So, why not think about ways you can substitute positive patterns?