Exploring Positive Psychology.


Positive Psychology. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Taking a deeper look into positive psychology.

In last week’s post, I introduce the topic of Positive Psychology. In today’s post, let’s take a deeper look into the subject of Positive Psychology.

Wikipedia defines Positive Psychology as:

Positive psychology is the study of “positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions and promises to improve quality of life.” Positive psychology focuses on both individual and societal well-being.[1] It is a field of study that has been growing steadily throughout the years as individuals and researchers look for common ground on better well-being.[2]

Positive psychology emphasizes subjective well-being.

Many of the models of happiness emphasize pleasure or acquiring tangible goods. The happiness provided by pleasurable events fades quickly and requires a constant stream of pleasurable activities. The pleasure derived from buying things disappears almost instantly and can lead to overspending. Subjective well-being or having a satisfying life requires more than just temporary pleasures.

Positive psychology emphasizes contentment, life satisfaction, feelings of subjective well-being in addition to the ability to experience pleasure. Counselors who work from this perspective frequently believe that finding your meaning and purpose for life leads to an increase in subjective well-being. Having a good life can be described as “flourishing.”

Positive psychology emphasizes your strengths rather than your weaknesses.

Traditionally mental-health treats defects. For your treatment to be covered by your mental health insurance, your provider needs to assign you a diagnosis of what is wrong with you. While medication may help manage the symptoms of mental illness, no medication is known, which cures a mental illness.

The primary route of change for people with a mental health challenge is talk therapy, and several mental illnesses can be cured using talk therapy. There are many theories of what causes specific mental illnesses and how they are to be treated. One highly successful approach has been the positive psychology theory. Positive psychology looks to find your strengths and build on them. You don’t need to have a mental illness to benefit from the positive psychology approach.

Peterson and Seligman developed this classification system for identifying strengths and described it in their book Character Strengths and Virtues. The book describes twenty-four basic character strengths, which seem to be found and valued in varying degrees in all cultures. People may be high or low in any of these strengths. Positive psychology encourages people to make the most of their strengths while also improving those character strengths that may be underdeveloped. The twenty-four primary character strengths are clustered into six categories, which are described as “virtues.”

Character strengths and virtues are personality characteristics.

Many people think of character as a very limited set of values. People described as having “good character” may be described as honest, loyal, thrifty, and obedient. Characteristics such as creativity and curiosity are not usually cited as factors. In positive psychology, character strengths are personality characteristics that may prove beneficial to both the individual and society.

Six primary virtues are described by positive psychology.

The six primary virtues are wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. These are further subdivided into 24 character strengths.

Components of the virtue of wisdom.

Wisdom is subdivided into five strengths, creativity, curiosity, judgment, love of learning, and perspective.

The components of the virtue of courage.

Courage is subdivided into four components, bravery, perseverance, honesty, and zest.

The parts of the virtue of humanity.

Humanity is further subdivided into three character strengths, love, kindness, and social intelligence.

The virtue of justice.

The components of the virtue of justice are teamwork, fairness, and leadership.

The virtue of temperance.

Four character strengths make up the virtue of temperance. These are forgiveness, humility, prudence, and self-regulation.

The virtue of transcendence is related to religion and spirituality.

This virtue is subdivided into five character strengths, appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, and spirituality.

Researchers have developed specific instruments to assess each of these character strengths and virtues. Because these strengths are described using words, there’s been some variation in the definitions individual researchers used for each character strength. In future blog posts, I want to talk to you about some of these character strengths, what I’ve learned from reading recent research on that strength, and how you might learn to make better use of your strengths to create a flourishing life full of well-being and happiness.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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