Positive psychology is a relatively new form of psychology. It emphasizes the positive influences in a person’s life. It is the behavioral science which deals with the behavior of an organism. These might include character strengths, optimistic emotions, and constructive institutions. This theory is based on the belief that happiness is derived from both emotional and mental factors.
This area of psychology focuses on how to help human beings prosper and lead healthy, happy lives. However, the goal is to minimize pathological thoughts that may arise in a hopeless mindset and to develop a sense of optimism toward life.
Positive psychologists seek to encourage acceptance of one’s past. Whereas, excitement and optimism about one’s future experiences, and a sense of contentment and well-being in the present.
the benefits of five factors essential to happiness and wellbeing: positive emotions, engagement, meaning, relationships and accomplishment (often known as PERMA).
RELATED: Positive Psychology and the PERMA Model
Positive psychology is not simply the focus on positive thinking and positive emotions. It‘s much more than that. Indeed, the area of positive psychology focuses on what makes individuals and communities flourish, rather than languish. Flourishing is defined as “a state of positive mental health; to thrive, to prosper and to fare well in endeavors free of mental illness, filled with emotional vitality and function positively in private and social realms”.
It simply studies different (and often far more interesting) topics and asks slightly different questions, such as “what works?” rather than “what doesn‘t?” or “what is right with this person?” rather than, “what is wrong?”.
Three Levels of Positive Psychology.
Positive psychology does not end to feeling a sense of individual well-being itself. Rather proponents of this science often refer to the “Three Levels of Positive Psychology”:
- Subjective level.: The subjective level centers around feelings of happiness, well-being, optimism, and similar emotions or feelings as they relate to your daily experience.
- Individual level.: The individual level combines the subjective level feelings of well-being with the qualities or virtues that make you a well-rounded person. For example forgiveness, love, and courage.
- Group level.: The group level focuses on positive interaction with your community, and includes traits like altruism, social responsibility, and other virtues that strengthen social bonds.
Positive psychology has led to the development of several key concepts. These have proven to be highly therapeutic for people with depression and anxiety. Some studies show that a lack of positivity may contribute to a low or depressed mood. However, depression does not develop solely because of this lack. Positive psychology does not solely target negative symptoms. It also seeks to enhance character strengths and positive emotions. All in all it can benefit people who wish to develop in these areas.
It focuses on the positive events and influences in life, including:
- Positive experiences (like happiness, joy, inspiration, and love).
- Gratitude, resilience, and compassion included in Positive states and traits
- Positive institutions (applying positive principles within entire organizations and institutions).
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.
These topics are studied in order to learn how to help people flourish and live their best lives.