APA defines Positive Psychology as a field of psychological theory and research that focuses on the psychological states (e.g., contentment, joy), individual traits or character strengths (e.g., intimacy, integrity, altruism, wisdom), and social institutions that enhance subjective well-being and make life most worth living. Positive Psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing, and an applied approach to optimal functioning.
Psychology as a behavioral science shares common characteristics with other physical and biological sciences. All sciences have practical application to deal with human problems and improve their quality of life. Psychologists have also developed a number of techniques to help people lead a fuller and happier life by promoting/enhancing their psychological health. Psychologists also cure and help in prevention of various psychological and emotional problems (behavior disorders).
Positive psychology often referred to as having three different levels:
- Subjective level: It focuses on feelings of happiness, well-being, and optimism, and how these feelings transform your daily experience.
- Individual level: It is a combination of the feelings in the subjective level and virtues such as forgiveness, love, and courage.
- Group level: It is a positive interaction with your community, including virtues like altruism and social responsibility that strengthen social bonds.
Within psychology’s recent history, the humanistic movement may have been one of the strongest voices for a more positive psychology. Humanistic psychology also criticized the tendency of traditional psychology to focus on negative aspects of human functioning.
Positive psychology draws on research and theory from established areas of psychology. It is, a mosaic of research and theory from many different areas of psychology. Moreover it is tied together by their focus on positive aspects of human behavior. Let’s see the fields of positive psychology below:
- In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
- Flow is a state of optimal experience arising from intense involvement in an activity that is enjoyable.
- It includes playing a sport, performing a musical passage, or writing a creative piece.
- Flow arises when one’s skills are fully utilized yet equal to the demands of the task, intrinsic motivation is at a peak.
- One loses self-consciousness and temporal awareness, and one has a sense of total control, effortlessness, and complete concentration on the immediate situation.
- Gratification is the state of satisfaction following the fulfillment of a desire or the meeting of a need.
- Instant (or immediate) gratification is a term that refers to the temptation, and resulting tendency, to forego a future benefit in order to obtain a less rewarding but more immediate benefit.
- Delayed gratification is the act of resisting an impulse to take an immediately available reward in the hope of obtaining a more-valued reward in the future. The ability to delay gratification is essential to self-regulation, or self-control.
- It is the satisfaction or pleasure you feel when you get something you wanted or worked for.
- Gratitude is a positive emotion that involves being thankful and appreciative and is associated with several mental and physical health benefits.
- When you experience gratitude, you feel grateful for something or someone in your life and respond with feelings of kindness, warmth, and other forms of generosity.
- It is a sense of thankfulness and happiness in response to receiving a gift, either a tangible benefit (e.g., a present, favor) given by someone or a fortunate happenstance.
4. Happiness/ Pleasures.
- Happiness is a state of emotional well-being that a person experiences either in a narrow sense
- When good things happen in a specific moment, or more broadly, as a positive evaluation of one’s life and accomplishments overall—that is, subjective well-being.
- An emotion of joy, gladness, satisfaction, and well-being.
- Pleasure is the emotion or sensation induced by the enjoyment or anticipation of what is felt or viewed as good or desirable
- Helplessness a state of incapacity, vulnerability, or powerlessness associated with the perception that one cannot do much to improve a negative situation that has arisen.
- Helplessness is the belief that there is nothing that anyone can do to improve a bad situation (such as being diagnosed with an illness).
- In many ways, then, helplessness is a belief that control over the situation or its outcomes is impossible.
- Hope is a positive cognitive state based on a sense of successful goal-directed determination and planning to meet these goals.
- In other words, hope is like a snap-shot of a person’s current goal-directed thinking, highlighting the motivated pursuit of goals and the expectation that those goals can be achieved.
- It is the expectation that one will have positive experiences or that a potentially threatening or negative situation will not materialize or will ultimately result in a favorable state of affairs.
- Hope characterized in the psychological literature in various ways, including as a character strength.
- An emotion; a component of motivation that is critical to goal attainment.
- A mechanism that facilitates coping with loss, illness, and other significant stresses; or an integrated combination of these features.
- Mindfulness is the awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings.
- Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
- Mindfulness teaches you the skill of paying attention to the present by noticing when your mind wanders off.
- Optimism goes beyond seeing the bright side of a situation or expecting good things.
- It’s also a way of explaining what has already happened.
- When something good happens, optimists think about what they did to make the situation turn out so well. They see their abilities as permanent, stable parts of themselves.
- Hopefulness: the attitude that good things will happen and that people’s wishes or aims will fulfill ultimately.
9. Positive Thinking.
- Positive thinking, is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation.
- It can have a big impact on your physical and mental health.
- Positive thinking just means approaching unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way.
- It often starts with self talk.
- Resilience in positive psychology refers to the ability to cope with whatever life throws at you.
- Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences. Especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.
- The ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity.
- Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York City, NY: Atria Books.
- Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, S. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist.