Positive psychology is the study of optimal human functioning. In this sense, it studies the positive experiences and positive individual traits of individuals, in order to prevent or reduce pathologies. The ultimate goal is to feel happy.
Until a few years ago, psychology placed more emphasis on suffering and its causes. To this end, numerous techniques and programs designed to alleviate suffering have been developed over time. In recent years, and thanks to Dr. Martin Seligman, creator of this current, it has been seen that it is not only necessary to alleviate suffering, but to enhance the strengths, virtues and skills of the individual to increase subjective levels of well-being and that these moments of well-being are more frequent than moments of suffering.
People want more than to alleviate their suffering, they need to develop the states that make life worth living, to find meaning in life.
In short, positive psychology is a way to increase positive emotions, knowing our own strengths and implementing our personal skills.
Applications of positive psychology
The practical application of this current is in all areas of life. On a personal level, it teaches us to increase our positive emotions, to think in a healthier way in order to achieve our goals. It also allows us to know our strengths in order to develop them to the maximum and make them present in our life.
The applications that positive psychology has at a business level are also well known, enhancing the optimal development of the individual in the company, being aware of what we are good at and helping others to develop their own potential.
Techniques to enhance positive psychology
There are numerous techniques aimed at increasing positive emotions, as well as those aimed at discovering our personal strengths. Some of the main strengths are:
- Curiosity about the world
- Love for learning
Each of us has more or less innate strengths, talents in certain fields for which we show a special ability, which we are good at doing or which arouse our interest. Thus, strengths are natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviors that can be productively applied in our daily lives.
For example, take the strength of creativity, defined as the process of using originality to devise new ways to contribute positively to one’s own life or the lives of others. Creative people are able to apply their imagination in new and surprising ways in order to solve the problems they face. One idea to enhance this strength would be, for example, to create an original idea in an area of your interest, such as making a personalized gift for someone that is not bought in any store.
A very powerful technique to develop the strength of gratitude, for example, is to write down at the end of the day, 10 things for which we feel grateful in the day, as we often take for granted the good things that happen to us.
There are techniques focused on increasing levels of optimism, based on putting our attention on the positive aspects of a situation. This helps to relativize problems, focusing on their solution. In this way we will learn to have a positive mental attitude that will make us more resilient to the ups and downs of life.
Does positive psychology have contraindications?
There are no known contraindications in the application of positive psychology techniques. It is important to note that the goal of positive psychology is not to “be happy all the time” or to make us immune to life’s normal mishaps, as we are all vulnerable to suffering and it is part of life. It is therefore about learning to make the most of ourselves and what life has to offer.