Positive psychology is producing a growing scientific basis for understanding positive emotion, engagement and meaning.
These states are valuable in their own right because they fight depression, engender more life satisfaction and promote learning, particularly creative learning.
According to the research in positive psychology, there are five key ingredients necessary for people to ‘flourish’:
- Positive emotions such as peace, gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity and love;
- Engagement to be absorbed in what we are doing, we concentrate intensely on the present, or living in the ‘now’
- Relationships healthy relationships are important for resilience and mental health, but having one relationship in which one can share is more important than having many relationships.
- Meaning belonging to and serving something bigger than one’s self
- Achievement in an area that is valuable to you.
ACTIVE APPRECIATION OR GRATEFUL THINKING
These points of appreciation can be small things in life, maybe the something that you would normally overlook.
- the laugh you had with a colleague
- the story you heard from your child on the way to school
- noticing the freshness of the morning as you go to work
- seeing the snowdrops show their first shoots
- having had the time to sit back and read
- the book you are enjoying
- the smell of the sea air
Each time you write, remember, recall or relive a good moment such as the above, our mood is momentarily lifted.
Doing this over time has a distinct accumulative effect. In addition to the accumulative factor, it is setting the thought process on a positive trajectory which because of the associative patterning in our thought process refers us forward to further positive thoughts.
In other words we get on the positive track and once there, it is easier to stay there and to stay positive.
The second factor that is protective of our mood is being able to look forward to something, however small
This is really about establishing a practice of good things ahead. They can of course be big things like holidays, but it appears that the smaller things frequently looked forward to have the greater effect
- A dinner we like on a Wednesday
- .A film every second week
Good habits reap positive rewards