Until not so long ago, it was assumed that psychology was a scientific field aimed at correcting what is wrong. Thus, it was practically an extension of the health disciplines, especially psychiatry and neurology, and of the strategies of “correction” of children’s behavior.
However, the development of this discipline showed that that conception of psychology seen as “the repair of what is broken” was extremely limited (and generating stigmas). Why be satisfied with using what we are learning about the human mind only to help those who consider themselves in a bad situation compared to the rest of the people? Why can’t we use that knowledge not only to lose less, but to gain more?
Positive Psychology has its raison d’être in these two questions , and aims to help us change to approach the way we would like to be in order to promote the most ambitious personal or professional projects of our lives. In this article we will see what its benefits are and how it contributes to personal development.
The main benefits of Positive Psychology
Positive Psychology is based on the philosophical current of humanism, which points out that subjective experiences, that which we feel and cannot express in words, can have as much or more value than our observable behavior. Therefore, psychologists working from this paradigm seek to achieve effects that go beyond the objective, and that connect with the motivations and the real needs and concerns of people .
Let’s look at a brief summary about the benefits of Positive Psychology and how it brings us closer to these kinds of goals related to the emotional and what is truly meaningful to our lives.
1. Makes us better at regulating emotions
From Positive Psychology it is understood that what we feel is not directly the result of what happens around us, but of how we interpret and perceive what happens around us.
That is why it is important to know how to manage our emotions, given that on many occasions an inadequate regulation of these makes us see problems where there are none .
Anger, for example, is capable of making us sacrifice many things in order to do something that not only brings us no benefit, but also harms us more than we were when we started feeling that way.
With this aim, psychologists who start from the paradigm of Positive Psychology train people to be able to adjust their emotions in the best possible way and make them play in their favour, and not against them. In the end, if our emotional side exists it is because most of the time it is useful to us to a greater or lesser extent, although there are always cases where this is not the case and it is worth learning how to minimize its harmful effects.
It is not a question of suppressing them, but of ensuring that some emotional states do not overshadow the influence of others which should have a modulating role on the former.
2. It helps us to have a realistic self-concept
Self-concept is the set of beliefs about oneself that constitutes all we know about who we are. Depending on how it is, we will feel more or less capable of performing certain tasks or of being well integrated into a certain social circle.
Positive Psychology helps us to have a self-concept that matches our real abilities and qualities and our ability to improve in certain tasks, and this translates into good self-esteem.
It does this by putting our apparent failures into perspective and showing us how much of its existence is due to elements in our environment that we could not control, but that we can choose how they affect us.
3. Gives guidelines for starting projects and transforming habits
Starting a new project requires leaving our comfort zone. That is, assuming a certain degree of discomfort that will come at the beginning, but that will eventually fade away as we see the fruits of our efforts (fruits that we would not have reached if we had not made the effort to get out of the rut).
Thus, Positive Psychology immerses us in dynamics that force us to put ourselves at the controls of our lives and to not let limiting beliefs restrict our true freedom .
4. It allows us to develop leadership
Not everyone can be a leader 24 hours a day, but we all have the ability to lead groups in certain contexts and types of work.
Since Positive Psychology not only focuses on the individual but also takes into account the social element of psychology , it gives us the tools to adopt a leadership style that suits us in a certain facet of our lives, whether personally or professionally.
5. It invites us to develop our own philosophy of life
As we have seen so far, the benefits of Positive Psychology have to do with empowering people: allowing them to be people who make important decisions and who know how to assume their consequences in the most constructive way possible.
Therefore, an effect derived from all this is that thanks to these dynamics we generate our own philosophy of life, a chain of principles and values that allows us to give meaning to what we experience , instead of just following the ideas of others who have never been in our situation.