Positive Psychology is the newest field in Psychology which focuses on the scientific study of happiness and flourishing. Its founder, Dr. Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvannia, published in 2011 a book entitled Flourish: A visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. In this book he introduced the New Theory of well-being which provides the answer to the elements that will make individuals happy and how to live a flourishing life. These significant factors include (1) positive emotions, (2) engagement, (3) relationships which are positive, (4) meaning in life, and (5) accomplishments. A handy mnemonic is PERMA. Seligman mentioned that this framework can also be applied to various groups and organizations to create programs and services that will assist individuals develop new cognitive and emotional tools.
Let us discuss each one.
P – Positive Emotion.
1. This component of the new well-being theory is one of the most recognizable connections to happiness. However, having positive emotion does not only entail smiling, but rather acquiring an ability to be optimistic and looking at the past, present, and future from a positive standpoint. This optimistic view in life can assist individuals in their relationships, careers as well as in their daily routines. This can also encourage them to be more creative and take more chances or moderate risks in life that promote personal growth and development.
2. Everyone experiences both highs and lows in life. However, focusing on the unpleasant experiences can increase the chances of developing depression. Thus it is essential to focus on the pleasant and the brighter side of life. In fact, one needs to be more optimistic and hopeful in order to flourish. There are also many health benefits to optimism and positivity.
3. This idea is well supported by the theory of “Broaden and Build of Positive Emotions” developed by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson. She believes that individuals who experience many positive emotions (e.g., gratitude, enjoyment, interest, awe) are more open-minded, creative, and flexible thinker, capable of envisioning the big picture of their life. Dr. Frederickson also mentioned that, on the average, those individuals who posted higher wellbeing and who are also flourishing in their life experience at least 3 more positive emotions than negative emotions.
4. There are many ways to experience positive emotions. Some of these methods include, but not limited to the following:
Savoring the moment
Being with nature
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The PERA team is committed to provide practical guides toward personal development to reach one's aspirations in life through opportunities in personal development, financial investments, community support, counseling, and government services.