Positive psychology is a relatively new sub-field in psychology that emphasizes wellness and wholeness as opposed to older paradigms of illness and brokenness. Positive psychology tries to answer – what’s going right with people – with a focus on happiness, fulfillment, strengths, and engagement. This is completely aligned with how we coaches approach our work with clients.
“Happiness: The Goal We Rarely Talk About” is the title of one of the chapters I’m reading on positive psychology. It sounds so obvious doesn’t it? Don’t we all fundamentally want to be happy? What does it mean to be happy?
You may remember Al Franken’s SNL skit of Stuart Smalley. (You can see from the picture it was a long time ago.) Stuart’s motto was “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!” His daily affirmations and all-around up-beat demeanor was mocking the vast and, at the time, growing self-help industry. It was hilarious in my opinion.
Through the lens of positive psychology, Stuart got at least one thing right – he practiced having a positive attitude. Psychologists like Martin Seligman and Carol Ryff have broadened our thinking around how to look at “what’s going right” to be more than simply how happy we are. They contend that life fulfillment and well being are driven by a number of factors, such as:
- Personal growth
- Purpose in life
- Environmental mastery
- Positive relations with others
How are you doing in BEING WELL? Are there some areas of your life that need adjusting?
Here are some ways to boost your sense of well-being: