May 16, 2013

Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning.  It looks at what enables individuals, families and communities to flourish – the things that make life most worth living. Since World War II, the field of psychology has typically focused on understanding and curing mental illness.  It has taken a diagnostic and disease-centric approach, with the primary goal of shifting people from a sub-optimal level of functioning back to “normal”.  Martin Seligman, who is regarded as the father of the contemporary Positive Psychology movement, used his term as President of the American Psychological Association to promote the return to a more balanced, or holistic, approach to studying the human condition.  He proposed that more attention needed to be given to the things that enabled people to find their highest level of optimal functioning – instead of seeing normal as the goal, psychologists should investigate the things that provide the greatest sense of fulfillment, meaning, well-being and positive mental health.  It is not about ignoring what is wrong or the things that create difficulty, but instead complimenting this understanding with equal attention for the things that are right and generate the greatest life experience.

With specialised training and research in the field of Positive Psychology, Optim is uniquely placed to help people and organisations apply these principles at work using evidence-based interventions and programs.

Watch this short video to get an overview of Positive Psychology and the key areas of focus.

Authentic Happiness – Visit Dr. Martin Seligman’s website at the University of Pennsylvania to learn more about the empirical research behind positive psychology.  You will find details on a range of initiatives, as well as many scientifically validated questionnaires, tools and scales that you can take for free to help enhance your own self-insights.

Positivity Ratio – Take Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s online test to determine your positivity ratio.  Research shows that experiencing a ratio of 3:1 positive to negative emotions leads to a “tipping point” that helps build resilience and foster creativity.  Try a range of interventions and monitor your results over time.

Character Strengths – Learn about the latest research into character strengths and then take the free test to determine your own unique strengths profile.

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