Making Positive Psychology Work For You

Positive Psychology

By Dawn Ottenbreit, MA, LLP

Psychology is the study of human behavior. If you study people who are doing well in their lives, you can use that information to help other people live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives. This includes people who suffer with mental illness and people who don’t.

Positive Psychology focuses more on improving our strengths and less on our weaknesses. Often, in the past, psychological professionals used a disease model when studying human behavior that focused on the weaknesses of people and how we can treat the symptoms. Focusing on our strengths is something people do naturally in their life, but this has not always been applied to a person’s major psychological processes.

We can learn a lesson from the sports world, which has been modeling the behavior of improving the strengths of people for a long time. We can see in our own life that people gravitate towards sports that they are more naturally inclined to perform well. If a person is tall they may lean toward basketball and avoid gymnastics. Once a sport is chosen, a person will practice the skills needed to excel in that sport and avoid practicing skills for other sports. In other words, a basketball player will spend time shooting free throws than tumbling.

This same lesson can also be learned from the academic world. A college student will eventually select a field of study, and will choose courses related to this field of study while avoiding courses from other fields of study. An English major will practice the skills of writing and editing and avoid numerical computations.

A therapy utilizing a Positive Psychology approach will suggest a person select personality traits that are strengths and practice the skills to make those traits even stronger. If a person has a strong sense of curiosity and a weaker sense of humor they will be encouraged to practice the skills of exploration and investigation and avoid may emphasizing humor.

Studies have shown that if a person wants to be happy, supportive relationships is the one vital aspect needed above everything else. Healthy social relationships are the key to happiness. Both introverts and extroverts do better when they have supportive relationships. Spending time with family and friends could go a long way to making life better.

If you or someone you know would benefit from counseling from a positive psychological approach, call Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers at 248-244-8644.

You Need Not Walk Alone.