An introduction to positive psychology and how it can help you
Today I’d like to tell you about positive psychology as I genuinely believe the knowledge is crucial to our self-development and wellbeing.
As I’ve spoken about before, I’m no stranger to struggles with mental health. I think if I’d learned about positive psychology at an early age, I would have had more of a chance to take control of my life and take action to improve it.
Let’s start by saying that positive psychology has nothing to do with being positive or positive thinking. Positive psychology is actually a modern field of science and is a framework for looking at what leads to people thriving in their life.
Over the last thirty years or so, leading researchers of psychology have looked deeply into what makes people feel they are having a good life, and they’ve found that there are a number of distinct factors that all contribute. These factors include; your sense of self worth, how often you experience positive emotions, the quality of your relationships and so on. And it’s the combination of all of these things that determine how you think, feel and behave.
Imagine your overall sense of well-being is governed by a battery bank with eight battery cells inside it. Your overall level of well-being is ultimately the product of the sum total of the energy in each of the battery cells. By taking a look at the energy level of each cell, we can then look at how to get more charge into the areas that need it.
While not an exhaustive list, here are the positive psychology pillars that we use in the EverYellow app:
- Meaning and Purpose
- Positive Relationships
- Growth and Achievement
- Self Image
- Being Present
- Positive Emotions
I won’t go into all of these areas now, but what I do want you to know is that we absolutely need each of these things to flourish. If we are lacking in multiple areas it can have a significant impact on our mental fitness and this impacts how we think, feel, and behave.
What I love about this framework is that it makes it far easier to understand what we need to work on to boost ourselves up. For example, let’s say you live alone, and you’re low on experiencing positive relationships. You can ask yourself, what can I do to increase my access to positive relationships and come up with solutions. For example, you could commit to joining a reading group, doing some charitable work, or making an effort to meet regularly with friends.
Take a moment now to consider the following questions and give each a score of 1 to 10 where 1 means never and 10 means always.
- When thinking about the last two weeks, how often have I felt a sense of meaning and purpose in my life?
- When thinking about the last two weeks, how often have I engaged in positive relationships?
- When thinking about the last two weeks, how often have I felt a sense of growth and achievement?
- When thinking about the last two weeks, how often have I felt good about myself?
- When thinking about the last two weeks, how often have I felt resilient to what is happening in the world around me?
- When thinking about the last two weeks, how often have I felt immersed in the present moment? (i.e. not ruminating on the past or worrying about the future)
- When thinking about the last two weeks, how often have I experienced positive emotions? (I.e. joy and happiness)
- When thinking about the last two weeks, how often have I felt I have agency in my life and work?
I think most people would be quite surprised at just how low they might score in a number of these areas. But the great news is that you can actively work on any of these areas to improve your life.
If you’d like to learn more about positive psychology I recommend the book: Positive Psychology In A Nutshell by Iona Boniwell, it’s a highly accessible and practical read.
And if you want a really easy path to applying positive psychology to your mindset then why not give the EverYellow app a try? EverYellow uses positive psychology and neuroscience to help you develop mental fitness and wellbeing.
I hope this was helpful. I’d love to hear your comments.
Alan Cox, Creator of EverYellow