Since the beginning of psychology as a discipline, it was predominantly focused on mental illness, trauma, and other negative experiences. Understanding these aspects of life can help you solve your issues and re-discover your connection to life. However, balance is just as important in psychology as in anywhere else in life. That’s how positive psychology emerged. It is a scientific study that introduces a way to focus on your positive characteristics, traits, and emotions instead of dwelling into negative ones. That said, positive psychology aims to help people find a balance that makes life worth living, meaning that positive psychology works together with other disciplines instead of denying their methods.
The name “positive psychology” is pretty self-explanatory. But not only does it focus on positive experiences, traits, and states, but it also looks for an organic way to implement those experiences in a person’s life. After all, feeding a natural pessimist with phrases like “just be happy” or “just think positively” might do more harm than good. That’s why positive psychology tries to teach everyone how to find their own joy, meaning, and happiness in life without any barriers, pressure, or regulations. We all have different strengths – positive psychology allows us to understand those strengths and start using them in creating our well-being. If we combine this approach with classic psychology as we know it, we can both use our strengths and understand our weaknesses. This creates a healthy balance and brings us to the path which is paved with meaning and happiness.
Meaning Vs. Happiness
The sense of meaning and happiness do not necessarily complement each other. Roy F. Baumeister, a world-renown social psychologist, discovered that being over-positive and always happy will not make your life meaningful by default. It will make you feel great in the present, but to actually find some deeper sense of meaning, you need to focus on the bigger picture, evaluate your decisions, and analyze your present and past. Naturally, once you start developing a sense of meaning, you become more likely to feel stress and anxiety as your mind keeps reminding you of everything you still need to do to achieve your goals.
Positive psychology tries to help people to develop a healthy balance between their happiness and meaningfulness. After all, being only happy without any sense of direction or meaning is not sustainable in the long run, while having a deep meaning in life without any positivity can lead to mental problems and difficulties. It is important to learn how to live in a present moment without ignoring your future and past so that you can achieve your meaning through happiness.
Focusing on your strengths can bring many great benefits to your life. For example, happiness is contagious, so if you are able to stay happy and show it to the world, the world will join you. That works vice versa as well – if you surround yourself with happy people, you will most likely feel happier. On top of that, you can even trick your own mind by forcing yourself to be in a positive mood until your body generates that mood itself.
Studies also show that being kind to others boosts your levels of happiness, as well. It means that volunteering, an act of kindness, and other activities that bring peace and well-being to society, also highly benefits the giver.
Povilas is a certified coach (ACSTH) and Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP), who is coaching people in psychology to help them achieve their goals and well-being. Povilas states that coaching should not be seen as a business: “It’s not therapy, though it increases your functioning and well-being. Neither it’s training, though it trains your self-awareness and self-regulation. Nor it’s a money-making scheme, though it can be abused by charlatans.” And he also reminds people that positive psychology is not about being overly-happy but rather about finding balance. “If you think positive psychology is about happiness, you are mistaken. Many forget that overt sadness (depression) is as unhealthy as overt happiness (mania). Positive psychology is about how to strike a meaningful balance between the two.” Povilas is sharing his knowledge on Qoorio, so if you have any questions about positive psychology, he can help you!
Isaac is a business advisor and entrepreneur from Singapore who started to build his legacy from zero. He has experience in many different fields of life and connections around the world. His positive psychology approach helped him to strive for his goals instead of giving up. And he is happily sharing his insights, experiences, and wisdom on this topic. “I always get my parking space! I always get freebies from others! I always get what I want! I always make it! Feeling unlucky? Need some positive vibes to change your luck? Or should I say change the way you think?” If you are interested in how positive psychology works in practice rather than theory, you might want to meet Isaac!