Positive psychology changed the face of illness-oriented classical clinical psychology. Martin Seligman is the founder of this new approach, which keeps spreading and gathering proofs from scientific studies about human strengths and happiness.
This field is based on the belief that people intend to develop what is best within their selves, improve their personal experience regarding work, love and play. Every human being aims to a meaningful life; positive psychology offers the chance to gain fulfillment, prosperity and happiness through an orientation toward positive emotions.
The good news is that it can all be learned: there are a lot of promising training programs that will teach you how to apply the principles of positive psychology to almost every professional domain (education, health or business).
When it comes to education in the positive psychology field, the opportunities are various: you can choose from short courses, trainings, workshops, online courses or even a 2-year Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program (MAPP).
Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology
After a traumatic event, individuals are prone to experiencing higher levels of negative rather than positive emotions. Experiencing more sadness than joy is normal after traumatic events! However, when these negative emotions are all consuming, disorders such as depression can emerge. Since pain is unfortunately an unavoidable part of life, is there a way we can protect ourselves?
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States were a truly devastating time for many people. Not just for those that personally lost someone, but also for millions of others around the world impacted in some way or another.
At the start of 2001, a study on emotions was conducted in the United States with participants who were parents being contacted after the attacks for a follow up study.
It was found that the more resilient a person was, the more positive emotions they experienced, and the more positive emotions a person experienced, the less likely they were to express depressive symptoms.
The positive emotions most frequently expressed by individuals with high resilience were interest, joy, hope, sexual desire, pride, and contentment. In summary, individuals that had more positive emotions seemed to be more resilient and in turn, less likely to express depressive symptoms! Therefore, positive emotions in some instances can protect you from depression!
Fredrickson, B.L., Tugade M.M., Waugh, C.E., Larkin, G.R. (2003). What Good Are Positive Emotions in Crises? A Prospective Study of Resilience and Emotions Following the Terrorist Attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 365–376.