The idea that one should see the positive side when their path is full of obstacles might seem clichéd, but it is real and useful. Everything in life is a matter of focus, even (and especially) under the bias of Positive Psychology (PP).
In the late 1990’s when he founded the PP movement, psychologist Martin Seligman undertook the biggest change of focus in the history of psychology. The agenda of disease, present in therapeutic settings, gave way to self-knowledge and emotional empowerment of the individual in the use of their own personal strengths. It was not necessary to have conditions to undergo psychotherapy – only the desire for full and functional self-development.
Seligman was quite right. Speaking in metaphors, but dealing with our physiology – neuronal connections developed when “looking at the flowers” for example – amplifies these networks of neurons targeted for the same purpose. In other words, emotions and positive attitudes amplify positive connections, modifying, generally speaking, the world view of the subject. This implication favours healthier and assertive behaviours and relationships.
Another point of focus involves understanding happiness as a process and not an end in itself. If you die today, could you say you were happy? Or that happiness was out there, at an imaginary point where you were struggling to reach? Happiness should be on the road and not at the end of it.
With a higher state of total concentration on what we do and have in life, the higher the levels of gratification. In general, we get into this state when we are dedicated to activities we like to do and which require the use of our skills at an optimum level. No need to be an expert in Positive Psychology to realise that the more grateful we feel, the greater our chances of being happy.
Mindfulness: The Present Moment
In addition, Positive Psychology brings another concept that is related to a an increase in our rates of happiness: Mindfulness.
The mindfulness state focuses completely in the present moment, it directs us to enjoy the present, when negative thoughts and abstractions act as “noise”, taking us from that situation and projecting it on to others that have their way, time and place to be experienced / resolved.
A good exercise is to notice what’s around you and how you feel about that, taking the focus out of the past and future, reducing anxiety and stress toward “noise” projections. This practice is based on Eastern meditation, which the Western medical Jon Kabat-Zinn drew inspiration to create his Zen meditation, which he implements in the treatment against stress.
Three reasons to keep your focus
- The development of positive attitudes;
- Happiness in the present;
- Stress reduction.
How and when you can exercise this is a personal choice, based on your characteristics, skills and talents (and also in your discoveries).
The decision now lies with the reader: whether there will be more flowers, boulders or manure on the road is something that is totally up to you. There is no doubt that Positive Psychology can help you at every step of your journey.
Best wishes from the Gold Smart team 🙂