Positive psychology is a relatively new field of study that aims to understand and promote human well-being and happiness. It studies what makes people happy, resilient, and fulfilled.
Unlike traditional psychology, which focuses primarily on treating mental illness and negative emotions, positive psychology focuses on the positive aspects of human experience, such as positive emotions, strengths, and virtues. It also explores positive experiences, such as joy, gratitude, and love, as well as positive traits, such as creativity, courage, and wisdom.
The origins of positive psychology can be traced back to the late 1990s, when Martin Seligman, a renowned psychologist and researcher, began to shift his focus from traditional clinical psychology to the study of positive human experience. Seligman’s work laid the foundation for the field of positive psychology, which has since grown to include a wide range of research and applications.
One of the key tenets of positive psychology is the belief that human beings have the capacity for growth and development throughout their lives. This is in contrast to traditional psychological models, which often view people as being stuck in a particular stage or pattern of behavior. Positive psychology encourages individuals to focus on their strengths and to strive for self-improvement and personal growth.
Another important aspect of positive psychology is the emphasis on positive emotions and experiences. Positive emotions such as joy, contentment, and gratitude are seen as essential for well-being and happiness. Positive psychology also encourages individuals to seek out new experiences and to engage in activities that bring them pleasure and satisfaction.
In addition to its focus on positive emotions and personal growth, positive psychology also emphasizes the importance of social connections and relationships. Strong social connections and supportive relationships are seen as key to well-being and happiness. Positive psychology encourages individuals to build and maintain strong relationships with family and friends, and to engage in activities that promote social connections.
The PERMA Model of Positive Psychology was developed by Dr. Martin Seligman, and was widely published in his 2011 book, “Flourish.”
“PERMA” Model identifies five essential elements to well-being. These are: Positive Emotions (P). Engagement (E). Positive Relationships (R). Meaning (M). Achievement/Accomplishment (A)
“Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being” by Martin E. P. Seligman. Published by Free Press, 2011.
Overall, positive psychology is a rapidly growing field that offers a new perspective on human well-being and happiness. By focusing on positive emotions, strengths, virtues, and social connections, positive psychology encourages individuals to strive for personal growth and to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Various ways of utilizing the PERMA tools are: Doing hobbies and creative activities that you enjoy, Practicing living in the moment, even during daily activities or mundane tasks, Spending time in nature, watching, listening, and observing what happens around you, getting in touch with people you have not spoken to or connected with in a while, getting involved in a cause or organization that matters to you, creating SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound ) goals, celebrating achievements and Reflecting on past successes.
Training in PERMA can be helpful for improving performance, building resilience, and increasing success and life satisfaction. Here are three options for obtaining training in PERMA.
The Penn Resilience Program and PERMA workshops
The SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre
The Science of Happiness Course
Action for Happiness offers an interactive library of 10 keys that leads to happier living, including Giving, Relating, Exercising, Awareness, Trying out, Direction, Resilience, Emotions, Acceptance, and Meaning: GREAT-DREAM)
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of the co-founders of positive psychology, was the first to identify and research flow. Flow is one of life’s highly enjoyable states of being, wrapping us entirely in the present, when we might be completely and utterly immersed in a task, oblivious to the outside world and highly focused on the present. Activities which we love doing, like playing music, dancing, gardening, singing, reading, being in nature, or a certain sport or exercise might create a flow state for us.
Flow states help us be more creative, productive, and happy. The experience of flow is universal and has been reported to occur across all classes, genders, ages, and cultures, and it can be experienced during many types of activities. In 2004, Csikszentmihalyi delivered a TED Talk titled “Flow, the Secret to Happiness,” which has more than 6.7 million views.
Please share in comments what has contributed to your sense of happiness and wellbeing?
Have you ever experienced a flow state? What activity were your immersed in?
Which activities do you pursue to continue feeling happy?
How do you feel after doing them?
How long does that happiness last?
Any other benefit you might have noticed with those experiences?