Positive psychology is very much on the rise nowadays, and considering that it is still a relatively new discipline, people often talk about it without knowing exactly what it is or what its methods consist of.

In this article we will review some of the best techniques of positive psychology that exist , and we will also give a review of the concepts related to this paradigm of psychology, so that the reader can know exactly what it is and in what areas it can be used.

What is positive psychology?

The techniques of positive psychology seek to provide an alternative for psychological well-being that does not focus so much on combating the mental disorders related to sadness, depression and other maladaptive forms that some people have in their daily lives, but rather concentrates its efforts on enhancing those healthy psychological dynamics that are already present in the individual .

This area of psychology is relatively new, emerging only in 1998, which is why even today there is a certain degree of confusion regarding its contributions and functions within the field of behavioral sciences.

The main objective sought by positive psychology is that people learn to change the perspective with which they see reality, moving towards a more positive and adaptive view of life . If applied well, it can help those subjects who tend to mismanage their efforts and time to make better use of their potential when it comes to providing themselves with well-being.

Positive psychology techniques can be used to improve the living conditions of a patient or psychotherapy client. While it is not enough to make one completely abandon negative habits, it is effective in changing some dysfunctional thought patterns .

Positive psychology is not about ignoring problems or avoiding them ; on the contrary, it tries to provide adequate ways of dealing with these negative circumstances.

Sometimes it happens that people perceive the problems to be bigger than they really are, and this causes them anguish. To counteract irrational negativity, positive psychology arises, which in short tries to prevent us from drowning in a glass of water. It teaches us to see the good side of things without playing down the problems.

The best techniques of positive psychology

Now we will see a list of some of the best techniques of positive psychology to improve the quality of life. Most of them are used in psychotherapy , but their most basic and simple principles can be applied by the user in his own home.

1. Self-reinforcement

In many cases, people tend to punish themselves when things don’t turn out the way they expect; it is a behavior in which the subject focuses only on the bad in an exaggerated way, coming to think that he has no chance of being good at what he sets out to do.

The technique of self-reinforcement in positive psychology is to be our own motivator, reinforcing our character with positive phrases and ideas based on the good things we can do.

For example, if you are good at writing, playing an instrument, or any other area of experience, praise yourself for it and enjoy it .

2. Training in causal attributions

This training consists of modifying the way we internalize successes and failures .

Many times we are unable to rejoice in our success completely, but when we fail at something we sink into lamentation. The ideal is to learn to enjoy our good times, and give ourselves the credit we deserve.

Especially when it comes to failure, we must be objective . If it has been our responsibility, it is necessary to accept it, but understanding that it is a passing circumstance, which does not have to be repeated every time.

3. Laughter sessions

Humor is an excellent way to reduce daily stress .

When we are in the early stages of development we tend to laugh more often than when we have reached adolescent age, and this statistic diminishes even more in adulthood. Positive psychology seeks to recover this source of pleasant emotions through group laughter therapy sessions , where participants learn to laugh a little at themselves and take away the tragic burden of their problems, being able to look for more adaptive methods to solve them.

4. Getting an animal companion

Pets represent a significant source of affection when we take responsibility for them and learn to love them. Having a pet allows us to develop the more empathetic side of ourselves , while strengthening our responsibility in general terms.

5. Display

Visualization is a technique used to familiarize people with positive situations and to normalize them. It consists of imagining pleasant scenarios where we find ourselves doing activities that we enjoy .

It is advisable to perform this technique before sleeping, so that we can have the possibility of accessing pleasant dreams and have a better quality of rest. For example, imagine that we are walking on a clear beach and we are totally relaxed after having achieved something we want.

6. Rebutting systematic negative thoughts

First we must be able to identify our recurring negative thoughts. Sometimes it is a good idea to attend psychotherapy so that a psychology professional can help us determine what they are, since sometimes these thoughts are of an unconscious nature.

Once we know what our recurring negative thoughts are, we will begin to refute them using logic. It is a matter of answering ourselves to every negative thought we have, in a certain way and where we give an effective solution to each one.

7. Relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques are part of the various positive psychology techniques used to prepare the person for a new way of seeing things. It is easier for the subject to assimilate and internalise ideas positively when he is relaxed .

An effective way to achieve this is through Bernstein and Borkovec’s Progressive Relaxation. It consists of guiding the person through the steps of their breathing while suggesting pleasant scenarios to think about.

Bibliographic references:

  • Schneider, K. (2011). Toward a Humanistic Positive Psychology. Existential Analysis: Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis. 22 (1): 32 – 38.
  • Seligman, M. E. P.; Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55 (1): 5 – 14.