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What is the practice of positive psychology?

The practice of positive psychology refers to the commitment to regularly engage in activities that increase and maintain optimal psychological functioning in one’s life. Just as an athlete is dedicated to doing the work that develops and maintains athletic fitness for their event, one who is dedicated to psychological well-being would be dedicated to doing the work that develops and maintains that optimal functioning.

The founder of the modern positive psychology movement, Martin Seligman has formed a useful model called PERMA, that captures the areas we can focus on to maintain psychological well-being.

  • Positive Feelings
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Achievement

There are evidence-based activities and measurement tools that have been developed (mostly in psychology, but also from other related fields) that we can use to increase and maintain these various facets of well-being. These activities provide us with a way to practice to improve our skills and habits that support optimal psychological functioning.

Some of these activities would involve…

  • Gratitude
  • Savoring
  • Serving Others
  • Mindfulness
  • Flow
  • Physical Exercise
  • Immersion in Nature
  • Value Identification
  • Using Strengths in New Ways
  • Imagining Your Best Future

A positive psychology practitioner is able to explain these activities and the theory behind them, to guide a client in developing these features in their life, and measuring the impact before, during and after engaging in them.

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