Positive Psychology - knowing & using your strengths; it's not just about smiley faces (free strengths assessment incl)
Think about a recent wellness check at the doctors. Your doctor may ask, “How are you?” or, “What’s bothering you today?” but rarely will the doctor say, “What feels good?”
Seems like a strange question to ask, but this repositioning is at the core of positive psychology.
Learned Helplessness. In the 1960s/70s Martin Seligman (considered the father of positive psychology) introduced us to the theory of learned helplessness. This theory explains how humans and animals can learn to become helpless and feel they have lost control over what happens to them.
In 1999, Martin Seligman (considered the father of positive psychology) spoke at the American Psychological Association and proposed that although modern psychology was successfully focused on curing mental illness, it largely neglected helping people lead positive and fulfilling lives, and identifying and nurturing talents. Seligman began working with Mihaly Csikszetmihalyi (the author of “Flow.” That undeniable feeling when you are completely immersed in an activity that what you feel, what you wish and what you think are in harmony. Athletes call it, “being in the zone.”) And the industry exploded.
Positive Psychology centers on the five elements to psychological well-being (PERMA):
• Positive emotions: including the ability to be optimistic
• Engagement: activities which promote our full absorption (creating ‘flow’ states)
• Relationships: connection, love, and intimate relationships (humans need this to survive)
• Meaning: having a purpose
• Accomplishments: having goals and accomplishments.
The theory of PERMA and your own well-being centers on knowing yourself and your strengths and finding ways to leverage your strengths. It means knowing what your strengths are and looking for opportunities to engage in using those strengths (getting to a place of Flow).
The VIA Character Strengths Survey is a free strengths survey that is psychologically validated and private where you can learn what your strengths are. Surveys are available for adults and youth. Imagine what you would do or what you can still do knowing your strengths: https://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register