|Posted by Brittany on May 5, 2011 at 8:20 PM|
Positive Psychology has become very popular lately and for good reason. Psychology has traditionally focused on mental health problems, which was necessary. We have gotten to a point were we can knowledgably treat disorders, but what happens after that? People may no longer be overwhelmed with worries that interfere with their life, but are they then happy? Unfortunately, not having symptoms of depression or anxiety does not equal happiness and that is where positive psychology comes in. Positive psychology researchers study positive feelings, such as happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction, and find ways we can increase them. When most people come to therapy, this is really what they are seeking- happiness. After a client’s symptoms have abated, we can start to use the findings from positive psychology to increase positive feelings.
One simple intervention that everyone can do to increase optimism is to be more grateful. More specifically, identify 3 things that you are grateful for each day, and then think about why it happened. This will help you focus more on positive things that happen to you each day. Focusing on why it happened helps you recognize a) how you contribute to your own happiness and b) how things outside yourself (such as a sunny day or a kind gesture), contribute to your happiness, which helps you learn to see the world as a good place. Practicing this gratitude exercise will help make you more optimistic and happier. Personally I am grateful that you are reading this blog, now it’s your turn :o)