Positive psychology is the study of what goes right in your life. It includes focusing on your overall well-being, excitement, joy, purpose, and pursuit of happiness. Often, we catch ourselves focusing on the negative, but it’s extremely important to hone in on what makes your life good. By adjusting your mindset into finding what makes you happy, you will be able to add more of it to your life. Practicing positive psychology is best when you are able to engage in weekly practices in order to accumulate your happiness.
To maximize our happiness, we will be reviewing the main pillars of psychology, which include positive subjective experiences, positive individual traits, and positive institutions.
Positive Subjective Experiences
Positive subjective experiences are activities that bring you pleasure and fulfillment. When searching for these experiences, it helps to keep track of the actions you take part of, and analyze your values and priorities. However, it’s important to note that positive subjective experiences can give you instant gratification or a long-term fulfillment. For example, doing something like eating your favorite snack will bring you instant gratification, whereas helping your neighbor clean out their garage can provide long-term fulfillment. Although at the moment, you may feel happier, over time you will feel long-term fulfillment after helping your neighbor. Both are important to implementing positive psychology in our life, and a balance of both experiences is ideal.
To boost your positive subjective experiences at the end of the day write down “three good things” in a notebook. Reflecting on the daily experiences in your life that bring you pleasure is a great place to start finding contentment and boosting your perception of life.
Positive Individual Traits
To find your positive individual traits, you must find out who you are. This is your chance to take an (accredited) online test to find your character strengths. A misconception is that once we find both our strengths and weaknesses, it is our duty to work on our weaknesses. It is shown that it is way easier to work harder on your strengths to see a greater outcome. We must accept that not all of us are well-rounded and it is up to us to embrace ourselves for who we are and it is healthy to find comfort in our own values, interests, and character traits.
An exercise to guide you to find your positive individual traits is to write what you predict your legacy will be. Fast forward your life to your last day alive and reflect on what you will be known for or what you are most proud of. Afterward, reflect and ask yourself if this is realistic, or within your power, and what is your plan to obtain this legacy.
Lastly, you want to find and build your positive institutions. Forming and building different types of healthy relationships is the main part of what you will gain by surrounding yourself with positive institutions such as a group at school, workplace, church, charity, family, or even Team Lifelong! Within these groups, you may find fulfillment when you are able to share and learn purpose, safety, fairness, humanity, and dignity in your relationships.
To increase your pillar of positive institutions, continue to build healthy relationships within your chosen institutions, and if you feel this is an area you lack, consider joining one that you value. Volunteering or offering to help out an institution for just a few hours a month can strengthen your connection as well as increase your philanthropic happiness.