Applying Positive Psychology for Long-Lasting Healing

Applying Positive Psychology for Long-Lasting Healing

Positivity as a form of mental health treatment has become prominent with the rise in understanding how thinking, feeling and behavior are related, and how the three can help each other achieve a different state of mind.

For example, in cases of major depression, positive psychology can be a long-term treatment tool to improve the symptoms of depression, including boosting a client’s self-esteem, eliminating self-destructive behavior and maladaptive coping mechanisms, and ultimately suppressing or overwhelming negative thoughts and moods.

It’s not as immediately effective as medication but is rather seen as a sort of tool meant to exploit the brain’s ability to shape our reality by continuously repeating positive thoughts and actions until they become a part of us and improve our mental well-being.

At least, that’s the rough long and short of it. As I said, applied positive psychology is a college course in many places and there are online mini-libraries dedicated to the topic. So, for our intents and purposes, it’ll be much easier to just touch upon what you need to know to get the most out of the concept in your everyday life, regardless of whether you’re affected by a mental illness, or if you know someone who is.

As I said, applied positive psychology is a college course in many places and there are online mini-libraries dedicated to the topic. So, for our intents and purposes, it’ll be much easier to just touch upon what you need to know to get the most out of the concept in your everyday life, regardless of whether you’re affected by a mental illness, or if you know someone who is.

What is Positive Psychology?

As mentioned, positive psychology is the practice of using positive thinking and actions to improve a depressed or negative patient’s mental well-being. Positive psychology has two basic approaches or points: the first is the understanding, identification, and elimination of negative pathological thinking. The second is the implementation of positive thinking to combat said negativity.

For reference, pathological thinking is emotional or compulsive thinking – logical thinking is its counterpart, and is often a big part of positive psychology. By convincing ourselves logically that the reality of a situation is much less grim than we make it out to be, we can contradict our pathological thoughts with concrete evidence of positivity, and reinforce our own positivity over negativity. That way we beat out pathological negativity, or “chronic despair”.

By convincing ourselves logically that the reality of a situation is much less grim than we make it out to be, we can contradict our pathological thoughts with concrete evidence of positivity, and reinforce our own positivity over negativity. That way we beat out pathological negativity, or “chronic despair”.

Hopelessness and despair are big aspects of depression and other mental illnesses. When you’re languishing in the combined symptoms and stigma of your mental diagnosis, it can be hard to be anything but grim. Positive psychology has thus developed as a symptom of therapeutic tools, practices and philosophies to change a person’s mindset to reintroduce hope, and combat irrational negativity.

When you’re languishing in the combined symptoms and stigma of your mental diagnosis, it can be hard to be anything but grim. Positive psychology has thus developed as a symptom of therapeutic tools, practices and philosophies to change a person’s mindset to reintroduce hope, and combat irrational negativity.

The Difference Between Being Positive and Always Being Positive

Because of the popularity of positive thinking and positivity as a major part of a person’s well-being, there has been a lot of criticism around positive psychology as being a form of self-delusion, often for the sake of perceived happiness in truly desperate situations. It has also been considered a snake oil tactic.

It has also been considered a snake oil tactic.

There are people out there who peddle positivity as the end-all-be-all panacea to any situation – even a perfectly fine situation. This is a false understanding of how positivity should be applied on a psychological level. You see, it’s perfectly fine to be sad. It’s fine to be pessimistic at times. It’s fine to be angry, and discontent with where you are in life. You’re not meant to be happy with a crappy situation.

This is a false understanding of how positivity should be applied on a psychological level. You see, it’s perfectly fine to be sad. It’s fine to be pessimistic at times. It’s fine to be angry, and discontent with where you are in life. You’re not meant to be happy with a crappy situation.

You’re not meant to be happy with a crappy situation.

Positive psychology is about overwhelming negative pathological thinking. It’s about introducing hope in hopelessness. It’s about giving you the mental fortitude to get out of a desperate situation – it’s not about making you happy with a bad place in life, or about robbing you of the ability to resist and get angry. Positive thinking is also about improving your own self-esteem – which only promotes the healthy application of frustration and resistance to manipulation.

It’s about introducing hope in hopelessness. It’s about giving you the mental fortitude to get out of a desperate situation – it’s not about making you happy with a bad place in life, or about robbing you of the ability to resist and get angry. Positive thinking is also about improving your own self-esteem – which only promotes the healthy application of frustration and resistance to manipulation.

Being positive in the light of a tragedy doesn’t mean robbing yourself of the chance to grieve. It’s about keeping yourself from spiraling into a depression because of the loss of a loved one or significant figure.

It’s about keeping yourself from spiraling into a depression because of the loss of a loved one or significant figure.

There are many cases where nuance and context are very important when considering applied positivity – and a lot of people out there “peddling” positivity as means to build their social media profile or sell branded merchandise are rather ham-fisted in their “teaching method”. This is where professional psychology becomes important, especially in the application of positivity as an actual treatment for mental illness.

The lessons in positive psychology are relevant to everyone, but only in a deeply personal way. Not every part of positive psychology and optimism will resonate with you, and that’s fine. The last thing a philosophy around positivity should do is force itself upon you, or ask you to do the forcing.

Not every part of positive psychology and optimism will resonate with you, and that’s fine. The last thing a philosophy around positivity should do is force itself upon you, or ask you to do the forcing.

How Your Mindset Affects Lasting Healing

“Lasting healing” sounds a bit New Age, and that’s understandable. But this has nothing to do with carrying around crystals for better chakra balance – lasting healing is exactly what it says it is, long-term improvement in mental health.

But this has nothing to do with carrying around crystals for better chakra balance – lasting healing is exactly what it says it is, long-term improvement in mental health.

Lasting healing happens in many ways, typically personal ways. To be more specific, an addict may derive lasting healing through group therapy by depositing their fears and worries in a circle of trust, while hearing the thoughts and motivating stories of others. From that, they derive the strength to stay sober. That’s a form of lasting healing from substance use.

To be more specific, an addict may derive lasting healing through group therapy by depositing their fears and worries in a circle of trust, while hearing the thoughts and motivating stories of others. From that, they derive the strength to stay sober. That’s a form of lasting healing from substance use.

For depression, lasting healing might come through physical therapy and lifestyle changes. Lasting healing is not achieved through short-term solutions like medication, detoxification or treatment camps. These are solutions meant to build a foundation upon which lasting healing can be achieved. The distinction is important.

Lasting healing is not achieved through short-term solutions like medication, detoxification or treatment camps. These are solutions meant to build a foundation upon which lasting healing can be achieved. The distinction is important.

Positive psychology is conducive to lasting healing. It’s a branch of psychology dedicated to long-term change in mindset and thinking, and as such, it’s something that isn’t just dependent on outside factors like therapy but can be perpetuated through personal habits and discipline. And as we know, long-term beats short-term. Positive psychology will give someone with mental health issues the tools and type of thinking needed to eventually overcome the diagnosis without a dependence on treatments.

It’s a branch of psychology dedicated to long-term change in mindset and thinking, and as such, it’s something that isn’t just dependent on outside factors like therapy but can be perpetuated through personal habits and discipline. And as we know, long-term beats short-term. Positive psychology will give someone with mental health issues the tools and type of thinking needed to eventually overcome the diagnosis without a dependence on treatments.

This is because of the obvious conclusion that your mindset affects your mind. Even if you suffer a disorder, caused by something like genetics, chronic stress or an excessive absorption of serotonin, the way you think and the way you act affects the way you feel, and changes who you are. It can be something as simple as doing a little exercising at home and changing your posture, or as extensive as doing hypnotherapy, changing your career path or going through a huge personal transformation.

Even if you suffer a disorder, caused by something like genetics, chronic stress or an excessive absorption of serotonin, the way you think and the way you act affects the way you feel, and changes who you are. It can be something as simple as doing a little exercising at home and changing your posture, or as extensive as doing hypnotherapy, changing your career path or going through a huge personal transformation.

It can also involve positive language, empathic assertiveness, and little lingual exercises that change how you communicate with others, and in turn, changes the way you use language – a powerful tool for changing yourself. Positivity in psychology as a genuine means for long-term management of mental illness and improvement in various mental conditions has only really been a stance in the world of psychiatry for a few decades, specifically when Martin Seligman became President of the APA in the late 90s.

Happiness and positivity as a tool for mental health aren’t just useful when tackling the difficulties of mental diagnoses and disorders, though. It can be a helpful tool to anyone.

What We Can All Learn from Positive Psychology

Positive psychology isn’t just a treatment or a cure – it’s a preventative measure as well. See it as a form of herbal medicine – not just does it speed up the healing process, but involving it in your diet means you’re probably not going to be getting as sick as often.

See it as a form of herbal medicine – not just does it speed up the healing process, but involving it in your diet means you’re probably not going to be getting as sick as often.

In the same vein, positive psychology can be applied to anyone to make use of its benefits. Remember – it’s not about always being positive, or always being happy, or about deceiving yourself into feeling a certain way about something when you really don’t feel that way. When you apply positive psychology to yourself, however, it carries a different name: optimism.

Remember – it’s not about always being positive, or always being happy, or about deceiving yourself into feeling a certain way about something when you really don’t feel that way. When you apply positive psychology to yourself, however, it carries a different name: optimism.

The practice of applied positive psychology in an official scientific sense is a collection of different treatment tools and philosophies that involve the application of positive thinking to help clients deal with their condition and diagnosis. It’s about applying positivity to overpower the unnatural amounts of negativity produced by the symptoms of a mental illness.

It’s about applying positivity to overpower the unnatural amounts of negativity produced by the symptoms of a mental illness.

Optimism, however, can help us do better at work, become better time managers, and feel much more passionate about everything we do. Optimism doesn’t just do wonders in helping you create a new outlook – it allows you to fuel the need and motivation to improve your life, and improve where you are in life. Optimism isn’t complacency or delusion. With optimism, we can derive the mental strength needed to push through failure and disappointment and keep striving for a better job, a better home, a better setting for our family, and better health.

Optimism doesn’t just do wonders in helping you create a new outlook – it allows you to fuel the need and motivation to improve your life, and improve where you are in life. Optimism isn’t complacency or delusion. With optimism, we can derive the mental strength needed to push through failure and disappointment and keep striving for a better job, a better home, a better setting for our family, and better health.

Optimism can also be a great way to know when enough is enough. You can achieve security and happiness with where you are without wanting an excessive amount of everything, or anything.

You can achieve security and happiness with where you are without wanting an excessive amount of everything, or anything.

Think of optimism as better confidence in your abilities and your situation – through that way of thinking, you can earn your way through life with improved charisma and performance, and avoid despair when the going gets tough.

Positivity affects social abilities, confidence, personality, and in turn can affect you physically by reducing stress, encouraging exercise and better consumption habits, and discourage unnecessary risk-taking, dishonesty, manipulation or even addiction. It can also greatly improve your abilities at work, by improving your concentration, removing the distractions of worry and fear, and replacing them with mindfulness and a non-excessive self-consciousness that allows you to just slip into a mindset conducive to getting things done.

It can also greatly improve your abilities at work, by improving your concentration, removing the distractions of worry and fear, and replacing them with mindfulness and a non-excessive self-consciousness that allows you to just slip into a mindset conducive to getting things done.

That doesn’t mean there is no room for pessimism as a way to achieve positive results (through “defensive worrying”, for example). But on the topic of positivity, it can be applied in a non-clinical sense.

On a community’s level, positive psychology is essential for a thriving community. Through it, people can feel more comfortable within their role in society, they’ll be more open to helping each other, and to accepting positive changes in the community for the sake of everyone in it.

Through it, people can feel more comfortable within their role in society, they’ll be more open to helping each other, and to accepting positive changes in the community for the sake of everyone in it.

However, just hearing about positivity as a means to feel not just better about what you have, but helping you get to where you want to go and achieve self-growth, isn’t enough.

Here are a couple ways positive psychology is applied clinically, as well as how you can apply positive psychology in your own life.

Applying Positive Psychology

Clinically, positive psychology is present in several different treatments. Positive intervention and talk therapy are two very significant examples.

Positive intervention and talk therapy are two very significant examples.

Intervention involves helping a client realize their unhappiness and instilling in them the resolve to turn things around, and the hope necessary to get started in doing so. Positive intervention isn’t meant to make someone feel worse about who they are but instead is meant to give them something to look forward to a goal for the future. Examples of positive intervention could be in helping someone get the motivation they need to adopt healthy habits and quit an addiction or overcome their trauma by accepting and focusing on PTSD treatment.

Examples of positive intervention could be in helping someone get the motivation they need to adopt healthy habits and quit an addiction or overcome their trauma by accepting and focusing on PTSD treatment.

Positive interventions are events wherein a trained psychologist will use their understanding of positive psychology to help a client realize on their own that they need to do something, and help point them in the right direction.

Talk therapy, on the other hand, is also known as psychotherapy and involves various forms of conversation between a client and their therapist, typically as a means of overcoming pathological thinking and replacing maladaptive habits with healthier, smarter coping mechanisms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very common and popular form of talk therapy, and it’s also a form of applied positive clinical psychology. Through CBT, thoughts of hopelessness are replaced and new, positive perspectives are created, fostering the kind of mental state needed to overpower a mental disorder.

Applying positive psychology in a non-clinical setting as part of a form of self-treatment to get to flourishing as a person involves the same principles, but a different approach. Instead of seeking therapy, you can immediately benefit from applied positive psychology by audibly giving thanks and expressing gratitude, by complimenting others and focusing on your own strengths, and by being more open-minded towards the idea of kindness, rather than shutting down any attempt towards charity.

It’s also about knowing where the limits of healthy anger stop – it’s about being able to vent frustration in a way that doesn’t end up hurting you, and it’s about knowing when it’s time to forgive, and when forgiveness is not an option.

As mentioned previously, applying positivity in your own life is deeply personal, and you yourself choose how to approach being positive.