Positive psychology, founded by dr. Martin Seligman, is the scientific study of what makes people flourish – of the strengths and virtues that enable you to thrive. Positive Psychology urges you to focus on what is working, on what can be done or controlled, on what is here now, in short: on possibilities, opportunities and gratitude.
So be reassured, positive psychology is not an over-reliance or exaggeration of things towards the positive. Below you find 7 practices from positive psychology: choose, practice, and thrive!
- Write a “self-compassion” letter, in which you treat yourself with compassion while confronting your mistakes and shortcomings. Refrain from harsh criticism, judgments, and condemnations and write this letter as if it was from a supportive, candid friend.
- List your five main strengths and answer the following questions:
- How much do I use this strength?
- Is it wise to use it more, since a strength under-used is one gone to waste?
- Could my use of this strength be an example of “Too much of a good thing turns into a bad thing.” e.g. decisiveness can become pushiness if you over-do it.
- Adjust the narrative that you hold about a challenging situation that involves other people and ask yourself:
- What am I exaggerating?
- What may I be over-personalizing?
- Am I checking my ‘facts’ and stress-testing my assumptions?
- What other explanation or narrative could be true, even if just partially?
- Do I have enough data to freak out and will freaking out help me? (Brené Brown)
- How can I focus more on what is working, what can be changed, what is possible?
- Emotions and mindsets are contagious, so be mindful who you surround yourself with: can-do, caring, interested people who can add new perspectives and who are candid with you are good people to be around.
- Strengthen resilience and decrease stress by writing in a daily gratitude journal: Every evening you write down 3 specific things you are grateful for that day. Do not repeat examples the next day. You want to train your mind to hunt for the good, not to get in a ‘lazy’ repetition mode.
- Seek approval only from people who really matter and when it really matters. People-pleasing drains your energy, hampers candor, and: it’s impossible to please everyone.
- Increase your awareness and mindfulness by focusing on being in the moment, here and now, whether you are in a meeting, in your car, walking with a coworker to the parking lot or any other situation. Gently push distracting thoughts aside and re-focus on the present people, words, and actions.