The field of Positive Psychology has focused on how to increase happiness and well being. In studying “naturally happy” people, researchers have found that these people possess the following characteristics: Optimism, gratitude, service.
Positive Psychology researchers have focused on applying this information with a number of different populations and have found that it is possible to increase happiness and well being by having individuals practice “positive activities” (such as service, expressing gratitude, practicing optimism).
Engaging in such positive activities has been shown to satisfy basic psychology needs such as autonomy (control), competence (efficacy) and relatedness (connectedness). This in turn disrupts rumination, inhibits loneliness and facilitates coping.
Take a moment and think about strengthening each of these characteristics in yourself. Try writing a letter of gratitude to someone. Try to find meaning in a difficult situation. Give a helping hand. These simple behaviors might change your whole outlook!
Cassandra Cannon, Ph.D.
Clinical Director AToN Center 888-535-1516