What is Positive Psychology?

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.” – William James

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what habits, lifestyle choices and mental attitudes help us to cultivate more optimism, self-esteem, resilience and authentic happiness in life. It’s not about suppressing emotions or sugarcoating or denying reality, but about focusing our attention on what’s good, what’s going well, and what’s possible in order to energize, uplift and motivate us to achieve our goals, deal with life’s inevitable challenges and savor life’s blessings.  I offer coaching and workshops on these life-changing practices.  Want to try some right now?

–Ask yourself, “What is going well in my life right now?” (in such areas as health, family, friends, work, finances, hobbies and creativity, spiritual life, etc.) and “Why is this going well?” (Identify the conditions, or actions on your part, that are contributing to success in this area).

images–Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for right now?” or “Whom do I appreciate right now” (Bonus points if you share your appreciation with the person or people, which doubles the positive emotions! Here’s a great video about that.)

–Ask and imagine, “Regarding (a challenge you’re facing right now), how could I make the best of this, be my best self here or experience growth or learning from it?” and then, “What is my desired outcome?”

These questions reflect the practice of Appreciative Inquiry, which directs our minds “upward” to create optimism and energy for taking inspired action in the direction of what we desire, and build on/borrow energy from what’s already going well to address what’s not. If you enjoy any of these exercises, I recommend making one a daily habit., because information only leads to transformation with implementation! I know this from personal experience, and from that of my students and clients…

Here’s  your greater happiness and well-being!