Positive psychology refers to an investigative study that seeks to establish the reasons why some people live lives characterized by satisfaction and happiness, while others do not. This study therefore comes up with methods that can be used to improve people’s lives by advising them to lead positive lives. The field of positive psychology is thus substantially different from the other fields of psychology since it does not deal with negative psychological aspects.
It is based on the basic idea that everyone desires a happy life with fulfilment. Thus positive psychology is meant to help people lead happier lives (Boelcke, 2003, p. 1). This paper seeks to identify the negative aspects of positive psychology, explore the value of developing the same and suggest ways in which the principles of positive psychology can be applied by an individual to enhance happiness and live positively.
Positive psychology has its down side. Among the main arguments against it is the fact that its clientele is composed of people who are more or less normal psychologically. Thus there is less prospects for its development into a full-fledged profession because its clientele may fail to seek the services of professionals.
Another challenge facing positive psychology is the fact that it may prove to be hard to make a person lose the negative mentality towards life he/she has lived with for a long time (Lopper, 2006, p. 1). Despite these challenges, there is need for development of this field of psychology because of its relevance in the contemporary society.
One of the reasons why the field of positive psychology should be developed further is the fact that it is not a replacement for traditional psychology. It is used as a supplement to take care of mentally normal people who are incapable of achieving fulfillment and happiness in life due to their inability to shun negativity. Positive psychology is built on three main pillars. These are the development of positive character traits, the development of positive emotions and positive institutions to help negative people to change their negativity.
Research conducted on positive psychology shows that the beliefs that happiness is reflected in positive emotions like interest and joy is wrong. It is strongly believed that positive emotions are actually among the causes of happiness. Research has also established a great connection between happiness and a person’s ability to observe ethics, be resilient, to love and even have courage. It has thus been established that character traits are a great determinant of a person’s happiness.
Positive institutions that make people realize the importance of their environment by teaching them on values like democracy and justice are also determinants of happiness because people live knowing that their environment is safe, secure and rewarding (Lopez, 2009, p. 6).
Positive psychology can be effectively applied by an individual in daily life to make his/her life happier, even without consulting psychologists. What such a person has to do is to ensure that he/she lives a life that is characterized by positive thoughts and values like optimism, love, patience, courage etcetera.
It is also important for people who know that they have a couple of negative values to work on them in applying the principles of positive psychology because without a positive approach to issues, all other efforts at happiness may go down the drain (Carr, 2004, p. 23). Other unmentioned approaches that may be used to make people happy are having respect for people and cultivating a sense of self worth.
As evidenced in the paragraphs above, positive psychology is an important part of psychology that supplements the work of traditional psychology. It does not replace the latter but works to handle issues that are not effectively attended to by traditional psychology. Its main idea is the use of values, positive approach to life and elimination of negativity in helping mentally-fit people achieve happiness.
Boelcke, A. (2003). What is Positive Psychology? Retrieved February 11, 2011, from, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-positive-psychology.htm
Carr, A. (2004). Positive Psychology: the science of happiness and human strengths. New Jersey. Ballantine Books.
Lopez, S. (2009). Positive Psychology: Exploring the Best in People. Retrieved
February 11, 2011, from, http://michaelfsteger.com/Documents/Steger,%20PsychCritiques,%202009b.pdf
Lopper, J. (2006). Positive Psychology & Happiness. Retrieved February 11, 2011, from, http://www.suite101.com/content/positive-psychology—happiness-a10870