Positive Psychology: Tis the Season

The holidays — the happiest of seasons!  I think a short note on positive psychology is in order.

During this time of year, we tend to think back to our childhood holidays and make comparisons. For many, the past is remembered fondly, almost magically, and looks much better than the present. Hence the rise in depression and anxiety around the holidays.

This is where positive psychology comes in. As a school of thought, positive psychology was a response to the clinical side of psychology that focused on pathology, and mental illness, diagnosing people with problems. Positive psychology is all about well-being, happiness, and resilience. See the poster below:

The research is in and the following three tips from positive psychology should help you through the holiday season and into the next year.

Find your purpose – you want your life to have meaning, you want to make a difference in the world. You want to be a force for goodness. Move with a sense of purpose. Find meaning in what you do.

Set goals – having meaningful goals and writing them down does make a difference.

Find the flow. Caregivers are trained to keep clients pleasantly engaged throughout the day in memory care units, not to under or over stimulate them. Isn’t that a good way for all of us to go through the day? When you are in the flow, in the zone, time stands still.

Why is it important to focus on the positive? You are what you think. We can reframe any situation we find our self in. If Victor Frankl could have a good day at Dachau, enjoying the sunrise for a few seconds, you can have a good day where ever you are. Find the higher purpose in what you are doing, create a life plan for 2019, and get into the flow of doing it. V.A. psychologists are using positive psychology techniques and skills to help veterans with PTSD. We all could use some positive psychology, resilience and well-being training now and then.