What Positive Psychology Can Do for You

Are you confused or curious about what Positive Psychology is and how it can be helpful to you?

The term Positive Psychology was basically unknown eight years ago.  Today there are numerous books, newspaper and magazine articles mentioning how you can be happier and live a meaningful life based on the scientific research findings from Positive Psychology.  In fact, as with most things that are being taken seriously, there are now critics of Positive Psychology publishing books and writing articles that question the validity of some of the findings.

As with any emerging field, you may have questions concerning how to apply the latest research about what makes life worth living.

Chris Peterson, author of A Primer In Positive Psychology (2006) states that Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living.  Remember, this does not imply that you should ignore or dismiss real problems that you might be experiencing, e.g., losing your job, an illness, relationship problems etc.  It is not a recycled version of the power of positive thinking or a sequel to The Secret. Also, it is not to be confused with untested self-help ideas.

So far, Positive Psychology research is impressive.  Peterson mentions some things in a 2008 Psychology Today blog post that have been learned in the last several years about having a meaningful life:

  • Happiness is a cause of good things in life.  It leads to desirable outcomes at school and work, fulfilling relationships, good health and a long life.
  • Happiness, strengths of character and good relationships can buffer damaging effects of disappointments and setbacks.
  • A crisis reveals your character.
  • Other people matter in making life worthwhile.
  • Work is important when you are engaged in what you are doing. Engagement provides meaning and purpose.
  • Money can buy happiness when it is spent on others.
  • On good days, you feel autonomous, competent and connected to others.
  • Faith is important.
  • The Good Life can be taught.

The Good Life is one type of happiness in which you are using your strengths and are focused or engaged in what you are doing.  Positive Psychology research shows that this can be taught and how to do it.  When I am working with clients on this area, pre and post-assessments indicate gains over a three month period.  Because achieving a life worth living requires work, it helps to have a guide or coach who can support you during the learning process.

The important thing for you to know is that having a more satisfying and meaningful life is now an option.  This is an exciting time to be living.  Find the support you need to be successful in achieving a life worth living.

Action Step:  When reading about Positive Psychology, choose one idea or exercise and practice that for a month.  Notice if you are calmer, feeling more engaged in the things that are important to you and hopeful about your life.  If one exercise does not seem to work for you, try another one.  Comment below on your experience with Positive Psychology.

To your success,

Maurine

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