Being Better: Positive Psychology

A favorite conversation topic around the NSCL studios is the idea of positive psychology.

Positive psychology, simply put, is the idea that rather than looking at overall well-being as a matter of illnesses that need to be cured, let’s provide ways to look at positive strengths and their enablers to create a holistic feeling of wellness.

Positive psychology’s critical mass revolves around character strengths and virtues.

Martin Seligman, positive psychology’s pioneer, has gone so far as to offer a compendium “Character Strengths and Virtues” presenting the emotional and mental elements of living life well as the more widely known Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) does for the mental illnesses.

Character Strengths and Virtues is a go-to source here at NSCL as are other positive-psychology texts. It’s a “Manual of Sanities” as offered in the books intro, and considers the character’s cornerstones for a life well lived.

Positive psychology strengths of character

  • Wisdom and knowledge
  • Courage
  • Humanity
  • Justice
  • Temperance
  • Transcendence

Spend any amount of time investigating these topics in everyday life and you’ll quickly see they dovetail nicely with physical and mental health.

Positive psychology’s foundations to feeling better

Seeing as we are already laying foundations for physical health through diet and exercise, spending the equivalent effort in mental health through similar techniques is a huge factor in getting to feel better.

None of this is to say that traditional psychology and psychiatric care is to be avoided. Thinking positive psychology is the unique path to mental health is to say that diet alone is the way to physical health. It’s simply not true.

For most people in the world depression is a fairly paramount concern. Whether it’s chronic, seasonally associated, or part of a traumatic life experience, depression constantly tops the list of presenting issues in the mental health community.

There are other illnesses of the brain pretty common too, OCD, Bi-Polar, PTSD, and Anxiety to name a few.

But for significant reasons, depression becomes the silent killer behind most mental illnesses.

Traditional foundations of mental health

Aaron T. Beck, M.D., lays a powerful foundation for the causes and treatment of depression in his widely accepted work “Depression, Causes and Treatment”.  It’s a clinical book with strong roots in Academia, but it’s a go-to if you want to take the time to really understand the underlying elements of mood disorders. NSCL looks at it frequently.

Of course, these feel good resources come together with the idea of solid physical health and fitness to create what NSCL considers the holistic health way of living. A comprehensive strategy of looking at and living life in ways that create a sense of balance, healthfulness, and well-being.

So what can you say about feeling better? Is it as simple as putting a smile on your face, wiping the tears from your eyes, and saying the show must go on, or is it more about becoming active in your life in ways of understanding your emotional, mental, and physical attributes to create a sense of wellness?

Ultimately, this is an answer you must arrive at yourself, but here’s a hint: you’ve come to the right place to find out.