The Most Exciting Trends In Positive Psychology Interventions
American psychologist Martin Seligman studied helplessness in animals and depression in humans—until he realized that his work was making him gloomy and impatient. Since then, the researcher and professor from the University of Pennsylvania has devoted his time to developing positive psychology, a branch of psychology that believes well-being can be defined, measured, and taught. Surveys, longitudinal studies, meta-analyses, brain imaging, and more resources are used in this branch of psychology to ensure that people use evidence-based strategies to become happy.
Seligman and his colleagues launched many positive psychology interventions in the past few decades. However, the research regarding happiness never stops and they led to these exciting trends in positive psychology interventions:
Group strength-building interventions
Strength-based interventions are a positive psychology practice where a person’s resources, resilience, and positive attributes are recognized. Acknowledging one’s kind deeds, capacity for love, interpersonal skills, courage, and perseverance shifts their mindset and empowers them during tough times.
While this is usually done one-on-one during therapy, a review by researchers from the University of Miami and the Université du Québec à Montréal shows that this positive psychological intervention can also be used in building up community well-being. The review recommends participatory and collaborative interventions to encourage community members to recognize their collective strength and leverage them toward social change. Through this combination of positive and community psychology, citizens and local governments can utilize the resources needed to improve public spaces.
Virtual gratitude visit
Our article entitled ‘The Simple Pleasures in Life’ highlights how being grateful for simple things, such as talking to a grandparent or cuddling with someone, can brighten up even the most ordinary of days. Acknowledging these things and thanking the people involved can bring more meaning, depth, and happiness to your life.
Seligman’s original concept of a gratitude visit follows this by encouraging people to write a letter of gratitude to another person to help them enjoy the positive exchange and build a stronger bond. Psychologist Dan Tomasulo revised this intervention for people who want to thank individuals they are no longer in contact with through virtual gratitude visits. In this intervention, people will sit across an empty chair and pretend that their loved one is in the chair as they express their gratitude.
Nutritional psychology programs
When it comes to your mental health, the saying “you are what you eat” rings true. Studies have shown that dietary habits impact one’s mental health, which is why Maryville University predicts the future of psychology will involve more research studies and treatment interventions regarding nutritional psychology. Most of the current research discusses how poor nutrition can lead to severe mental illnesses and vice versa, but there are already new studies that explore how positive psychological interventions improve eating behaviors.
In fact, a recent qualitative study on positive psychology constructs showed that optimism and strength-building can help people eat healthfully. By providing positive reinforcements for health behaviors, more people will be encouraged to practice healthy eating habits.
Positive youth development
Positive psychology recognizes that people can learn to practice optimism. So aside from promoting healthy eating habits, positive psychology has also been integrated into educational interventions to support youth development.
The Palgrave Handbook of Positive Education on Springer Link recommends positive youth development interventions like social-emotional learning, which teaches kids how to manage negative emotions and boost positive ones. The handbook also suggests character education, which is quite similar to strength-building because it enables students to realize their potential for excellence. Through these educational interventions, students can learn skills that will help them navigate life with a positive attitude.
There are plenty of experiments being conducted on positive psychology interventions because researchers want to figure out how people can improve their mental well-being every day. Through these exciting trends in positive psychology, more people can try out psychological interventions that can boost their happiness.