“Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things.” ~Rhonda Byrne
Positive psychology is a field that has developed over the years with the emergence of evidence-based research on this aspect, recently. The focus of merely helping people overcome stressful situations has indeed taken a shift to also paying attention to building a positive atmosphere within and even among others. At a subjective level, positive psychology can be described as the experiences faced during different phases of life and their effects on well-being and how one perceives those experiences. Positive psychology is not a replacement for any kind of therapeutic methods for mental illnesses but only an approach to overcome mental health issues through positivity.
Evidence has shown that mental health organizations emphasize the treatment of disorders rather than prevention (Lyubomirsky & Layous, 2013). According to WHO, mental health is not just about focusing on disorders and their line of treatment but also regarding one’s well-being, coping with daily stress, and being a productive social individual. Positive psychology focuses on well-being rather than what society considers “ill-being”. It focuses on the aspects that bring positive outcomes in life, which is well- explained through the PERMA model of well-being. The core concepts included in the PERMA model are attachments, personal strengths, communication or approach, and future goals. Research has shown that well-being can be developed and taken care of through Positive Psychology Interventions (PPI) which involve strategies in the form of meditation, mindfulness, therapy, or exercise (Sin and Lyubomirsky ,2009).
Research shows that when an individual is exposed to positive feelings, they perceive situations differently, be open-minded and increase their attentive skills (Wadlinger & Isaacowitz, 2006). Additionally, research proves that PPIs could bring positive feedback to different populations especially for patients with depressive symptoms and mood disorders (Rashid T., 2015). These days positive psychology-based interventions (PPI) are gaining popularity due to their benefits, which would enhance the overall well-being of the individual. Often well-being is centered among patients diagnosed with mental disorders, but research has shown that there is a chance of relapse if the well-being factor of an individual is minimal. Hence, well-being and mental illnesses are two different concepts, and just the fact that the individual has recovered from the illness would not necessarily mean that they have attained positive well-being. The outcome of PPIs is positive as one could see potential improvement in making appropriate decisions and as well develop cognitive flexibility.
One of the most efficient PPI is known as the Gratitude visit: a way of expressing gratitude. A few of the strategies incorporated are writing a thanksgiving letter to a person who has been kind to you. Secondly, writing three good elements in your life is a way of acknowledging yourself. And lastly, describing the three best incidences that took place in your life along with mentioning your potential strengths, which would thereby enhance your confidence. All these exercises constitute the gratitude visit and those who practice these techniques, on a daily basis, were found to be empathetic, increased enthusiasm, and developed an optimistic outlook towards life.
At workplaces, principles and techniques of positive psychology can be handy in attaining positive outcomes. One such method is having an appreciative organization. Employees receiving gratitude messages from their employer made 50% more fundraising calls than those who did not receive the words of appreciation (Tanner, 2020). The neurology aspect behind the benefits of gratitude is that the hypothalamus and the reward neurotransmitter, dopamine is activated by the gratitude feelings.
Additionally, corporations need to focus on the 3 motivators that could enhance the intrinsic motivation of the team/employees.
1. Autonomy: Employees are encouraged to take responsibility and ownership of their work and expertise. By reducing controlling language and setting opportunities for them to visualize their goals can help to increase autonomy.
2. Mastery: providing opportunities to improve their skills and efficiency by setting no limit to their potential. Promote a learning culture by advocating team/collaborative projects.
3. Purpose: Encouraging employees to use these skills for a bigger goal that they are passionate to achieve. For instance, allowing them to spend 10% of the time on a project of their interest.
Definitely, an arduous journey to lead a positive life especially when one’s life is a ride through ups and downs; but when one decides and make a constant effort in training their mind to be occupied with constructive thoughts and feelings, is when one is going to see progressive changes at different aspects of their life.
Lyubomirsky, S., & Layous, K. (2013). How Do Simple Positive Activities Increase Well-Being?. Current Directions In Psychological Science, 22(1), 57-62. doi: 10.1177/0963721412469809
Sin, N., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: a practice-friendly meta-analysis. Journal Of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 467-487. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20593
Wadlinger, H., & Isaacowitz, D. (2006). Positive mood broadens visual attention to positive stimuli. Motivation And Emotion, 30(1), 87-99. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-006-9021-1
Rashid, T. (2014). Positive psychotherapy: A strength-based approach. The Journal Of Positive Psychology, 10(1), 25-40. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2014.920411
WHO: Promoting mental health: Concepts, emerging evidence, practice (summary report). Geneva: World Health Organization; 2004.
Poirel, E., Lapointe, P., & Yvon, F. (2012). Coping With Administrative Constraints by Quebec School Principals. Canadian Journal Of School Psychology, 27(4), 302-318. https://doi.org/10.1177/0829573512461131
Tanner, O. C. (2020, December 10). The Psychological Effects of Workplace Appreciation and Gratitude. Emergenetics. https://emergenetics.com/blog/workplace-appreciation-gratitude/
Connor, T. (2020, February 5). Delivering success through intrinsic motivation— Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Medium. https://medium.com/10x-curiosity/delivering-success-through-intrinsic-motivation-autonomy-mastery-and-purpose-d1a1ab02744e