Positive Psychology- The Pursuit of Happiness in 2010 Essay

Positive psychology is a fairly recent branch of psychology (formed out of Humanistic Psychology) focusing on positive virtues and attributes within people and their life with the hope of significantly improving ones life and overall well-being. While Positive Psychology is new, getting it’s official start around 1998, the principles are ancient. Positive affirmations, altruism, and core values are some of the principles in which many religions and philosophies are built on. As far back as humans existed, we have all been in pursuit happiness.

In our tough times, a positive outlook pertains to this decade more than ever. That may be why Positive Psychology is making news, becoming the most popular course in colleges, and being eagerly sought by people who misplaced their happiness in objects, money, or work.

What’s the secret to being happy?It is the individuals responsibility to be happy, to change negative thoughts and circumstances into happy ones. I didn’t say the secret was easy. What’s the secret of weight loss? Same answer- take responsibility to treat your body right…and hard work initially until it comes naturally for us. We’re not all born overweight and negative, these are learned habits and it takes the time and effort to relearn our natural, balanced way of being.

Why do we need it now? We really have nothing else, we’re skimming the barrel as it is and not just financially. Many families where money brought them happiness have lost that financial cushion and now have to get back to basic happiness. Lack of religion, family ties, underappreciation of values, selfish society; just some of the reasons I can think of in an instant.Religion, community, and family are values our country once stood sturdy upon. Now they are side notes, but first we have to put in extra hours at the office, pick our kids up from sports practice to eat in the car on the way home, and then we need to log in several more empty hours on the computer or TV at home.

“The capacity for love and work, courage, compassion, resilience, creativity, curiosity, integrity, self-knowledge, moderationself-control, and wisdom. Understanding positive institutions entails the study of the strengths that foster better communities, such as justice, responsibility, civility, parenting, nurturing, work ethic, leadership, teamwork, purpose, and tolerance.” This is an entry on the home page of The Center for Positive Psychology . http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/index.html Everything listed here should be natural for us, should be a priority for us- partly because we’re human and also a citizen of the United States. Yet it needs to be taught, understood and implemented again until it becomes second nature- as it should be.

Why did we think anything, but what’s listed above, would make us happy?That list doesn’t include cars, bigger houses, prestigious job title, and smarter kids. Intelligence is not listed, but creativity, self-knowledge, and wisdom is. Money is not listed, but responsibility, integrity, and work ethic is. Many people were making decent money, but chose not to be responsible with it.

Be Happy in 2010!

  • Positive Affirmations: the most effective way of doing this is writing a few strengths and things you like about yourself and posting it on your mirror. People like Oprah Winfrey do this and she is living the good life.
  • Don’t criticize; As an experiment, try not saying anything bad about anyone for 1 day. When you criticize, it rarely does either of you any good. All serial killers who were asked why they committed such horrific acts, they justified their actions and thought of themselves as good people. Every time you criticize someone, they will justify to themselves why they are not wrong or bad.
  • Express grattitude. We criticize way more than we give thanks. The old saying “Once I did bad and that I heard ever, Twice I did good, but that I heard never”. Read story on the following link and I bet we’re all guilty, especially if we’re parents. 
  • Get involved in your community. Take an interest in other people. Share a positive outlook with others and feel good about growing a stronger community and getting to know those you pass every day on the street.
  • Find a self-hypnosis tape you like and relax and enjoy it. Self-hypnosis is really just positive affirmations being repeated to you while you relax. These tapes are great if you can’t come up with anything good to say about yourself.
  • Find a purpose and live with purpose. Find what you love, love what you do. There are books geared at helping to find one’s strengths, such as “Strength Finder 2.0” and “What Color is Your Parachute?”.
  • Every day write down what you are grateful for– a grateful journal.
  • Boost Serotonin levels; chocolate, sex, and exercise are some ways to make you feel happy naturally.
  • Smile– Did you know just making the physical gesture of smiling sends signals to your brain to be happy? Also, a smile costs nothing!

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