Positive psychology is today trying to understand what makes us really happy. How do we get positive from the difficulties we encounter every day? How to be happy in an increasingly uncertain, even anxiety-provoking environment? Discover some tips and tricks to put in place to feel better every day!
The birth of positive psychology
For over a century, psychology has studied the worst of human beings. Depression, anxiety, addiction… All his work has been oriented towards mental health and the study of neuropsychiatric disorders. This is evidenced by the directory of books and articles devoted to psychology since 1987: there are 136 documents referring to anxiety or depression, and only 728 which evoke joy, satisfaction and happiness!
This also led Abraham Maslow to develop its famous pyramid of needs and to make this observation: “psychology has revealed to us a lot about man's faults, his pathologies and his sins, but very little about his potentialities, his virtues, the possibility of fulfilling his aspirations, and all that relates to his psychological elevation".
This is why, for the past few years, positive psychology has been trying to reverse the trend. One of its pioneers, Martin seligmann, realizes that you can spend a lifetime chasing scarecrows and the difficulties if you don't train your mind to cultivate feelings of gratitude and joy about what's going on around us.
A true science, positive psychology draws on data from neuroscience, developmental psychology and biology to refine its understanding of the human being. And thanks to a lot of research, she explains to us how to train our mind to develop our natural capacity for happiness. Because yes, it is possible!
What makes us (really) happy?
Material goods, a source of pleasure
One of the first observations made by these new psychologists is that we frequently have a very often erroneous vision of what could allow us to achieve happiness. Indeed, when asked about this question, many people attach importance to the success of their professional career, the purchase of a new house or a new car.
So many elements that can actually give a pleasant and satisfying feeling at first, but that do not promote a source of well-being in the long term. And one of the first setbacks of this kind of wish is the habituation phenomenon. Once acquired, the good in question will no longer be perceived as something that pleases us, but more as something that returns to a form of habit. The process will therefore have to be repeated again and again. And we will fall for the new fashionable phone, new clothes, a new romantic relationship ... without actually getting happiness, but simply a fleeting sensation of pleasure.
Find meaning in life and get involved: the path to happiness?
La positive psychology first and foremost emphasizes social relationships. Indeed, according to Doctor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: “People are happiest when they are in the company of other human beings”.
What the positive psychology also, it is that happiness is built from commitment. Whether in a romantic relationship, in family, at work or in a community. To get there, we need to cultivate as much as possible feelings of gratitude and gratitude, but also donation and solidarity. The other thing that contributes to happiness in a sustainable way is "To give meaning to its action". This comes down to using each other's potentials to put them at the service of others.
How to practice positive psychology on a daily basis?
You just need to turn on your television to see this: bad news is (much) more present than good! And this way of thinking and presenting things is also found in our daily life. If two positive and negative things happened during the day, we will be more likely to focus on the negative, and to rehash it overnight. To fight against this automatism, a trick consists in practice gratitude : write down every night 2 or 3 positive things that happened during the day, in a dedicated notebook or a smartphone app. As you go, you will develop your ability to see more of the positive than the negative!
Trying meditation to reduce stress
In an increasingly stressful environment, both personally and professionally where time and productivity must always be used effectively, meditation offers us a moment to slow down and refocus on ourselves outside of everyday worries. Practiced regularly, meditation offers many benefits validated by science: improvement of concentration and attention skills, reduction of symptoms of chronic pain, reduction of stress and anxiety levels or prevention of cardiovascular disorders.
Concretely, only a few minutes may be enough to feel the benefits. The idea is to practice a little everyday so that the results are visible and lasting!
During his research on the positive psychology and the quest for well-being, Martin Seligman also highlighted the role of search for meaning and commitment in our lives, and in particular the notion of altruism, generating positive emotions for ourselves as for others.
On a daily basis, altruism is fairly easy to develop. The idea is to think “collective” rather than individual, to try to put yourself in the place of the people around us, to thank or even offer help to a person in difficulty to also strengthen feelings of compassion and kindness.
By cultivating our well-being on a daily basis, we have everything to gain, both in our personal, family and social life. What are we waiting for to be happy?
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