What is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology isn’t about being positive all the time. However, it does promote building optimism (and in turn, opportunity), as it helps us move into a place of possibility. Our brains are wired to notice and place more emphasis on the negative, a strategy that helped our stone-age predecessors survive but isn’t optimized to help us flourish in the modern-day world.

“Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living” (Peterson, 2008).

It is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings, and behavior, with a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses, building the good in life instead of repairing the bad, and taking the lives of average people up to “great” instead of focusing solely on moving those who are struggling up to “normal” – or neutral (Peterson, 2008).

When I was first trying to come up with a name for the Center for Human Potential, one of my big contenders was a Positive Psychology term called “North of Neutral”. This is based on the Wellness Paradigm.

Looking at this image, I can’t help but question the term disability and its placement in the continuum. I am wondering if the idea here is that all disabilities lead to premature death and while I admittedely haven’t researched it, I don’t believe that is the case. I am wondering if disease is a better word or term to use here. I know people with disabilities that are very healthy. Rest assurred I have reached out to my positive pscyhology classmates and my instructor to have this conversation.

In any case, it is my belief that there is an ‘I’ in Illness and a ‘We’ in Wellness for a reason. Human connection is an energy exchange between people who are paying attention to one another.

I am excited to explore awareness, education and growth with teenagers to increase their potential and give them the ability to create high-level wellness in their lives.

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