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The Power of Positive Psychology

“To steer psychology away from the darkness and toward light.”

—Martin Seligman

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As a relatively new field, positive psychology examines how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled. While traditional psychology focuses on dysfunction, positive psychology focuses on happiness, optimism, mindfulness, flow, character strengths and virtues, hope, positive thinking and resilience.

Psychologist Martin Seligman founded the field in 2000. He serves as the director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania where they teach about the Three Pillars of Positive Psychology:

  1. Positive Emotions – Understanding positive emotions necessitates the study of contentment in the past, happiness in the present and hope for the future.
  2. Positive Individual Traits – Understanding positive individual traits requires the study of strengths and virtues such as the capacity for love, work, courage, compassion, resilience, creativity, curiosity, integrity, self-knowledge, moderation, self-control and wisdom.
  3. Positive Institutions – Understanding positive institutions entails the study of the strengths that foster better communities such as justice, responsibility, civility, parenting, nurturance, work ethic, leadership, teamwork, purpose and tolerance.

Examples of Positive Psychology

 Positive Affirmations: 

Our thoughts have a direct affect on how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Positive Affirmations are short, one sentence statements that are designed to give us a more powerful, positive outlook. Think about your own thought processes. Do you always tend to think the worst things are about to happen? Do you feel depressed and anxious? Positive Affirmations can help reset your “stinkin’ thinkin'” and help reduce anxiety and stress, and elevate your mood.

Loving-Kindness Meditation:

This special type of meditation enhances our thoughts of goodness and kindness toward ourselves and others. When practicing this thought therapy, it leads to compassion, empathy, and well-wishes for others. It has been proven that the more loving our thoughts are toward others, the happier and less stressed we tend to be. This, then leads to a state of contentment and calm.


Forgiveness Therapy:

This is my favorite! We all need to be more forgiving and less judgmental of others. We believe that Jesus died to forgive us of our sins. So, why is it so difficult for us humans to forgive one and other? We all screw up. We all have said things we wish we could take back. Harboring ill feelings, hatred, and vengeance does nothing but cause stress on our own bodies. By learning forgiveness, we release these negative feelings and thoughts, and fills our hearts with compassion and emapthy. We don’t necessarily forgive people for them, but we do it for ourselves.

     Hope Therapy:

Hope therapy is a cornerstone of positive psychology (MacIntyre & Ayers-Glassey, 2021). It helps us develop optimism and positive thoughts. We have hope for our futures. The goal is to turn these thoughts from those of dread and fear, to those of excitement and optimism. Having hope helps us look forward to our future, and enhances positive thinking in the now.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT):   

I use this  A LOT in my practice. Meditation helps with anxiety, feelings of panic and doom, and helps lift the mood. Mindfulness meditation focuses on breathing techniques, focusing on the present, and feeling a sense of self-awareness. MBCT helps train the brain to think in the positives versus the negatives. At Yarrow Hills Essentials, we incorporate MBCT with aromatherapy to help you calm your mind, body, and spirit.

   Positive Aging:

As we grow older, we start to think about our lives, and whether or not we lived it well. All of us have made mistakes. We have all done things we wish we hadn’t. That is human nature. But, how we process it is what leads to how we are going to age. If we sit and dwell on the past, we can do into a state of depression and regret. If we have truly “learned from our mistakes”, we can have a more positive outlook during our later years. Positvie Aging also goes along with Spirituality our Religious beliefs. Our beliefs about what comes next for us can greatly influence how we feel about aging. Positive Aging also incorporates our socail networks, exercise, spending time with loved ones, and doing things we only dreamed of when we were younger (taking that trip to parts unknown). As we age, if we keep a positive view, we will have more joy, happiness, and pleasure in our lives.


These are just some of my favorite pieces of Positive Psychology. I love the premise, that instead of focusing on what is jacked up in our brains, we focus on all the good and positive things in our lives. The past is over, the future, is not promised, but the now is waiting for you to being living your life happily and less stressed.

Martin Seligman is also the author of several books including Authentic Happiness, Flourish and The Hope Circuit, and gave this inspiring TEDTalk in 2004.

Positive Therapy is a Cornerstone to the SHAPE ReClaimed Program.

Positive Psychology is one of the three successful therapies used in SELF ReClaimed along with Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Bibliotherapy. It helps you envision yourself healthy: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

If you would like to learn how I can help you get rid of the ugly, negative mindset you have, and learn how to love yourself and others again, contact me TODAY for a free consultation.





Reference: SHAPE ReClaimed

Updated 1-28-22