In today’s world, thesociety is facing many rough challenges in the form of global warming,terrorism, economic recession, natural disasters, poverty, war, homelessness,abandonment ,etc. but with all this where does wellbeing, happiness,positivity, and the “good life” fit in? Positive psychology is a scientificstudy on human flourishing, and an applied approach to optimal functioning.Also uses scientific understanding and effective interventions to aid in theachievements of a satisfactory life rather than mental illness. (positivepsychology institute) positive psychology promotes ordinary people to become happier and more fulfilled.
An”intervention” can be defined as a positive if the target/outcome is a positivevariable.(sin& lyubomirsky,2009) Interventions generally focus on positivetopics/areas and are designed to promote wellness rather than weakness/illness.Working on character strengths(positive emotions) are known to be anindependent technique to improve mental health and wellbeing. There are manypositive psychological interventions that can be useful in building a person’scharacter one of them is “Gratitude intervention”. Gratitude is an emotion thatgoes hand in hand with appreciation and thankfulness.
Many people don’t realizethat gratitude plays an important role in our lives. Gratitude is not just a”thank you” or just an action, it’s a positive emotion which is very important because it serves apurpose. Gratitude is more of a deeper appreciation towards someone orsomething which produces long lasting positivity. People can use gratitude toform new social relations which can be very helpful in building relationshipsthat can uplift one another. And also to amend the relationships that are onegoing and make them better. Gratitude also makes people feel better because itcan be an intrinsically rewarding process.
Simply the fact that being gratefulfor being alive is a great way to motivate another or oneself. Also somethingthat keeps people going is the strong idea that tomorrow is not guaranteed.Gratitude is known to be a selfless act. Gratitude acts are encouraged bypositive psychologist to show people that they are deeply appreciated, and notbecause people are looking for something in return. Gratitude is somethingcontagious in a good way.
Encouraging a person(patient/client) toimprove in intervening gratitude, helpsto improve in many areas in their life such as their well being, relationships,optimism, happiness, self control, better physical and mental health.Expressing thankfulness helps improve overall sense of wellbeing. Studies showthat grateful people are more agreeable, more open, and less neurotic(McCullough et al., 2002; McCullough, Tsang, & Emmons, 2004; Wood, Maltby,Gillett, Linley, & Joseph, 2008; Wood, Maltby, Stewart, Linley et al.,2008). Gratitude is also a powerful tool for strengthening interpersonalrelationships. People who express their gratitude tend to be more willing toforgive others and less narcissistic (DeShea, 2003; Farwell &Wohlwend-Lloyd, 1998). Being thankful to those who have helped you strengthensrelationships and promotes relationship formation, and improves relationshipconnection and satisfaction.
(Algoe et al., 2008; Algoe, Gable, & Maisel,2010). In a study in 2003 they found that after 10 weeks, people who hadfocused on gratitude in their lives, showed more optimism in many areas of their lives, including health andexercise. In the “pursuit of happiness” and life satisfaction, gratitude isshowing a direct and long lasting effect thus the more gratitude we experiencethe happier our lives will be (Toepfer, Cichy and Peters (2011)). Without our physical health we cannot enjoywhat life has to offer. Yet again gratitude plays a major role in influencingone of our primary human needs, which is health. We all know that there is alink between the body and mind, and gratitude has a double benefit. The feelingof appreciation leads to a healthy mind and body.
A gratitude journal is a wayto improve positivity in a person, maintaining a gratitude journal helps lowerstress levels, feel calm at night, gain a new perspective of what is importantand what they truly appreciate in their life, by noting down what they are grateful for, they will gain clarityin what they want to have more of in their life, and what they can cut downfrom their life, helps focus on what really matters, helps learn more aboutthemselves and become more self-aware, it is a safe zone for their eyes only,so they can write anything they feel without judgment. On days when they feelblue, they can read back through their gratitude journal to re-adjust theirattitude and remember that they have great people and things in their life. Another positivepsychology intervention is mindfulness. There is no universally accepteddefinition for “mindfulness.” The term mindfulness practice is believed to helpfurther psychological insight and emotional healing, over time.
Mindfulness-based interventions, generally aimed at relieving symptoms of stress,mental health concerns, and physical pain, can be used to address and treat arange of symptoms and concerns. Also mindfulness is where one becomes moreaware of one’s physical, mental, and emotional condition in the present moment,without becoming judgmental. Individuals may be able to pay attention to avariety of experiences, such as bodily sensations, cognitions, and feelings,and accept them without being influenced by them.
Mindfulness practices arebelieved to be able to help people better control their thoughts, rather thanbe controlled by them. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) include a broadrange of formalized meditation practices and psychological interventions linkedby the concept of ”mindfulness” (Chiesa & Serritti,2010). Modernstandardized group-based manualized meditation programs, such asmindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitivetherapy (MBCT), as well as a number of psychological interventions, includingdialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)are commonly referred to as ”mindfulness-based” interventions (Chiesa , 2011). Interventions based on training in mindfulness skills arebecoming increasingly popular. Mindfulness is intentionally bringing a person’sattention to the internal and external experiences taking place in the presentmoment, and is often taught through a variety of meditation exercises. Positive psychology theorywas born out of the need to scientifically study the positive aspects of life.
It has evolved greatly over the last few years. Through multiple studies MartinSeligman found that the extent to which people were aware of and using their”signature strengths” (for example: courage, persistance or wisdom) greatlyimpacted the quality of their lives. He spent years developing a theory ofwell-being he called PERMA model. The model comprises 5 elements, that create thefoundation of a flourishing life: positiveemotions Barbara Fredrickson and herbroaden-and-build theory explains that positive emotions can build ourphysical, intellectual and social abilities. She hypothesized that bybroadening our awareness and thought-action repertoire we look for creative andflexible ways of thinking and acting.
This broadening effect builds skills andresources, overtime, engagement- Flow is an experience of optimal psychologicalfunctioning, where we are completely absorbed in a task that slightly exceedsour skill level, and therefore, require us to stretch to a new level ofperformance. Research shows that the prefrontal cortex shows less activationduring states of flow. This is the area of our brain responsible for cognitiveprocesses such as self-reflection consciousness (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) , relationships – As humans we arehard-wired to connect with others. We have a need for connection, love,physical and emotional proximity with others.we also learn about life and theworld we live in through the interactions made., meaning-Seligman believes the level of well-being we experiencecan be affected by our choices, attitudes and behaviors.
He states however,that there are no shortcuts. It takes effort and persistance. And while, positiveemotions are necassary to a healthy life, to foster a deeper more enduringsense of well-being, we need to explore meaning, accomplishments- Studies consistently show that people who feelpersonally involved in achieving their goals, indicate higher well-being andare in better health than people who lack a sense of direction in their lives.Research has consistently found that individuals who feel personally involvedin the pursuit of goals indicate higher psychological well-being and displaybetter health than individuals who lack a sense of direction in their lives.