Positive intervention has always been approached with caution and explanation regarding that actual intent and application. First, positive interventions are not an exclusive substitute for other types of therapy that might benefit from tandem application. Second, positive interventions span a variety of application from introspective self-learning to cognitive modifications in therapeutic settings.
For the intrigued and interested self-motivated learners, Braco Pobric’s “Habits of Happiness” and Tal Ben Shahar’s “Happier” books are wonderful “how to” books for those interested in learning how to take control of their life to make positive changes. On the therapeutic application side of the house, we have studies such as the Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson research on positive intervention that includes writing three good things. The study was conducted using an empirical basis of positive interventions and how injecting these positive application increase happiness1. Regardless of the application or venue, the idea is expand on human strengths that move one to have ah-ha moments or gradually shift viewpoints that lead to seeing the self in a more positive light.
As a field, Positive Psychology does not deny that research should be accomplished to explore complexity issues within well-being and the human experience. However, Dr. Seligman2 describes the paradigm shift as one to pull the pendulum back from being swung too far; to conduct research that balances both positive and negative aspects of the human experience. Positive psychology has purposefully set sail in a direction to explore and discover what is right with people, and how particular rituals, habits or practices fuel the fire for a flourishing life. Positive interventions can stem from a therapist revealing a client’s strengths to them, and working to use tools to build on their strengths through appreciation, application and experiences the outcomes to simply cozying up with a good coffee and indulging one’s curiosity in how positive tools like choosing positive patterns might just change your life.
Dr. Shawn Achor uses his coined the experience of “the Tetris Effect”3 to explain how patterns become important in our life, both negative and positive. If we continuously focus on the negative patterns in our life then there we miss seeing the good things. By purposely saying “I am going to look for good things in my life today”, we can start to change the patterns we see; positive pattern then squeeze out the negative patterns and w is left with an intervention of seeing the world a little bit differently; in a positive way.
1 Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60,410-421.
2 Seligman M. E. P. (2005) Authentic happiness. New York, NY: Atria
3 Achor, S. (2010). The happiness advantage. New York, NY: crown Publishing Group.
Pobric, B. (2014). Habits and happiness: How to become happier and improve your wellbeing by changing your habits. Mercer, NJ: High Impact Consulting, LLC
Shahar, T.B. (2007). Happier: Learn the secrets to daily joy and lasting fulfillment. New York, NY: McGraw- Hill
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’