Today positive thinking is a fashion in our society that has been a big success. In my studies on alternative methods of psychology, the field of positive psychology is the only one of its kind. Before, my opinion was based on my travels, some workshops, opinions of others, social media and some books that randomly came into my hands.
Even though this subject sounds appealing some people are against it and some with it.
My first opinion was that positive thinking was about seeing every moment as magnificent, trying to seize the moment, not just the day. Focusing on the positives only and ignoring the rest. But was it really positive thinking? Or was it a nice excuse to not face the negative parts of life?
In a few words
Positive thinking or positive psychology is an area of psychology that believes the human being can use his positive aspects to develop himself and go through difficult situations. Every human being has positive abilities, skills or dynamics, and if he understands them and uses them in the right way can develop himself and improve his life. Positive psychology is the study of what most makes life worth living and how we as individuals can take advantage of that knowledge.
The first recognition of positive psychology can be traced to Lewis Terman’s work in 1939. He studied charisma, watching 1528 intelligent children from school age to 55 years old (Terman, 1939), as well as evaluating marriage satisfaction (Terman, Buttenwieser, Ferguson, Johnson & Wilson, 1938). Other related works of the first half of the 20th century include Watson’s studies on effective parenthood (Watson, 1928), and Jung’s writings on the discovery of meaning in life (Jung, 1933). Over the next few years, we can trace positive psychology through the work of Carl Roger, however, positive psychology was a field that was not so famous in the general field of psychology even though that they could see promising results. Only in the last 30 years have psychologists begun to turn their attention toward the value of preventing the occurrence of mental disorders and the importance of quality of life. This framework has paved the way for the emergence of the positive psychology field.
The assumptions on which the approach of positive psychology is based are that man can develop and prosper, positively impacting his life. Personal development is related to the recognition and cultivation of one’s particular abilities, which are embodied in everyday life. Also, man is understood as a social being, developing dynamic relationships with the people who make up his surroundings, thus stressing the importance of the positive social circle. Positive psychology studies the mechanisms and effects of experiencing positive emotions, but it does not underestimate the importance and understanding of the whole range of emotional experiences.
That means that to find the positive qualities that each one of us has, first you have to face the negatives. Negative experiences, whatever each one of us defines as a negative experience, is not something that you can put aside but rather it is a chance to face and find your positive aspects.
The goal in positive thinking is to find “happiness” and “prosperity”.
According to the Center of Positive Psychology (1998), there are three hubs:
1. The subjective, which includes situations of positive experiences in the past, present, and future
2. The person’s hub, which includes all the characteristics of a “good person”, like talent, love, kindness, wisdom, courage, creativity, curiosity etc.
3. The group’s hub, in which you encounter social issues such as social consciousness, morals, ethics, altruism etc.
And according to Seligman, there are three types of “desirable lives”:
1. “Happy Life,” the way of life that every individual wishes and asks for. The one that pursues positive emotions in the present, past and future
2. “Good Life,” is based not on the emotions but on the actions of every individual. Refers to the use of the strengths, powers, and virtues of everyone, in order to gain abundant satisfaction in the main areas of life.
3. “Meaningful Life,” which is the set of beliefs about morals judgments, the ability to still hope, dream and believe in good after difficult situations. To use your abilities and virtues for a higher purpose.
We have learned to face life with negativity. Every day we hear phrases like “do not trust anyone”, “life is cruel”, “everyone for himself”, “I am not good at anything”, “I am not good enough”, etc.
Even though we sometimes still say good things it is usually only if life, by chance, brings us something good and then we revert back to the old mode of thinking. But what if for a change we approach life from the opposite angle using positivity as the default mode?
A couple of days ago I was out with my friends and one of them mentioned: “She is so positive, she is happy just with the fact that sun rose again today.” How beautiful!
Yes, the sun is up again to show me how many things I can still do, explore what I can and what I cannot, to find me. To show me all of the things that I can appreciate. Because even a difficult situation will show you something beautiful about yourself, because you survived, and that means that there is a dimension of you hidden in there.
We spend a lot of time in negativity, but what if we give the positive and negative poles equal time? Shadow and light both have something to show us, and surprisingly both will show you that you are still alive!
I am gonna give positive psychology a chance to see what it can bring to me. It is not far away from a mindful life, not far from what I am looking for… If you are looking for the same just “Give peace a chance!”
Konstantina started off as an interior designer because she always believed that the energy field of our homes affects our whole life. She then came to understand that our real home is the body which led her to become a yoga teacher… an eternal observer, and a curious listener.