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How can Positive Psychology be applied? (Part 5)

The birth of shanshine.com was kickstarted with a series of questions with the intention to delve into the intricacies of the Positive Psychology movement. First off was the question, what is Positive Psychology? Second, when, who and where did Positive Psychology come about? Third, why Positive Psychology? This brings us to the perhaps, most interesting question in this enlightening series, how can Positive Psychology be applied?

It is only now that I realise that how is imbued with other subtle “W”ives (Yip, 2008). Who can Positive Psychology be applied? When can Positive Psychology be used? Where can Positive Psychology be utilised? These “W”ives are indeed fantastic tools to explain the “H”usband in a clearer manner!

How can Positive Psychology be applied? Firstly, it can be applied to virtually anyone who is interested in making a positive difference in their own lives. Secondly, Positive Psychology, in terms of positive interventions (for example, exercises and questionnaires) can be used whenever needed. You are only limited by your choice of utilising interventions and motivation in employing them. Thirdly, positive interventions can be used in any location, with my recommendation of the exercises for application to be completed in an environment conducive for meditation and reflections.

Seligman’s (2004, September) latest newsletter on Authentic Happiness reported on an investigation on three positive interventions. The three blessings exercise, the gratitude visit, and the identification and innovative utilisation of signature strengths, demonstrated increased positive emotions and reduced depression with a follow up of six months.

Firstly, the three blessings exercise comprises listing three things which happened to you (and why) during the day for which you feel grateful and blessed. The goal of this exercise is to increase your self-awareness of the great things which happens to you. With this conscious awareness, seek to magnify the quality and/or quality of these blessed things in your life!

Secondly, the gratitude visit comprises composing and reading a testimonial to someone important from your past who has made a positive difference in your life, and you have not formally expressed your appreciation for. Pay a face-to-face visit to the person and reminisce about the things that this person has done to make it so important for you.

Thirdly, the identification and innovative utilisation of signature strengths comprises identifying your signature strengths with the VIA signature strengths questionnaire. Reflect on your top five strengths, and use each strength in a new and different way for seven days.

Try out these exercises and see what happens! If you are an altruistic person and want to contribute to research in this field, or just want to find out how positively savvy you are, there are several interesting studies in the Positive Psychology Center Online Research Program where you can participate in!

Most probably, when you apply and teach Positive Psychology, your happiness is inadvertently increased as well (Seligman, 2004, September). What a wonderful win-win situation! Are you ready for embracing Positive Psychology in your life?

References

Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new Positive Psychology to realise your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Seligman, M. E. P. (2004, September). Positive interventions: More evidence of effectiveness. Retrieved March 12, 2008, from http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletter.aspx?id=45

Yip, P. S. (2008). Positive psychology: the husband and his five wives (Part 1). Retrieved February 26, 2008, from http://www.shanshine.com/positive-psychology/positive-psychology-the-husband-and-his-five-wives-part-1

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