Positive Psychology is a rising area of interest for professionals. Its concentration is on enhancing a person’s wellbeing and their sense of personal satisfaction. It started as an emphasis on development in the field of psychology by Dr. Martin Seligman. He made a call to arms to support arm people with the skills to live a more confident life, and for professionals in the field to support people move away from a focus on what is going incorrect to a focus on what is going right.
Since then, there is been a rising wealth of research and study into what creates people feel honestly happy, how people can improve their wellbeing, and practical involvements for people to try every day to help concentrate on these things.
Widely, the topic helps people fit into five important areas:
- Positive Emotions: When we feel encouraging emotions, we enjoy life and we wish to share those feelings and moment with others.
- Engagement: When we are involved in a task or activity so deeply that we don’t notice the time pass, we feel good about what we’ve done so far, and we don’t feel judged on the activity, which helps us to feel good about ourselves.
- Relationships: Time and over again, research shows that when we have positive relationships with others, we sense better about ourselves and live happier lives.
- Meaning: This is about doing things that help serve a purpose bigger than ourselves. For some, this might be religion, for society, for others aid, and other community.
- Accomplishment: For many persons, when they excel at doing something, it often delivers a feeling of gratification and achievement.
What this PERMA model teaches us is that uncovering positive living is a multi-faceted thing, and as such means, we need to be able to learn more about what this means. It also means that we need to pay more attention to these things in our lives so that we can learn to adopt these behaviors as regular habits.
Other work in this area has come from Tal Ben-Shahar, an educational and practitioner in the field. By doing this, we don’t cultivate hope or optimism for the future. Instead, we analyze and critique what happened previously. He argues that although this is useful and, in some circumstances, vital to uncover problems and identify wrongful actions, it is not helpful for positive living. When we admit reality, we can look forward and talk about possibilities and make new realities.
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Ben-Shahar’s work has also been important in helping couples and families work well together and form better relationships. He describes how once we’ve moved past the mental illness of being in love with our partners (meant completely in jest?), we start to notice the traits and behaviors that become annoying and undesirable.
What we do not permit ourselves to do, or what we forget the significance of, is sharing our appreciation for the significant people in our lives.
When we are in a place where we can share appreciative comments with others close to us five times more often than we share negative or critical comments, this is when our relationships are healthy. Less than this and the relationships start to become troubled. Over than this and the relations may be hiding reality.
Positivity in the workplace
The applicability of this area to the workroom is also becoming more welcomed. Using simplification methods such as World Cafe and Open Space are integrally about placing trust in people and permitting them to build on the strengths they identify.
Inclusion techniques in work teams allow people with common skillsets to practice their skills so they become strengths and foster the positive building of identity. Interventions such as Appreciative Inquiry are focused on identifying the strengths of an organization or a team and allowing the team to build on these with clear outputs for future success.
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More is being cultured and shared about the topic and there are valued resources where you can catch out more on this area. Maybe the first port of call is to check out the website devoted to authentic gladness from Martin Seligman himself.