I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

―Maya Angelou

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Emotional Health: Creating Deeper Connection with Ourselves 

Posted By Jennifer S. Pitts, Ph.D. 5/5/2016
 Helping a person overcome a negative psychological state was previously considered a success in clinical psychology. Positive psychology evolved in the late nineties as a response to the predominant focus on healing mental disorders in the practice of clinical psychology.
As part of his tenure as president of the American Psychological Association, Martin Seligman and coauthor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Mee-hy Cheek-sent-me-HY-ee) described a new branch of psychology. They defined this new “positive psychology” as “the scientific study of positive human functioning and thriving on multiple levels including the biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global dimensions of life.” The science of positive psychology focuses on the study of factors that increase human thriving, resilience, creativity, and performance.

In short, positive psychology is the science of understanding
what makes people happy and helps them flourish. 

In the years since the formal beginnings of positive psychology, there has been a major growth in research on human thriving, strengths, and virtues. The findings have had tremendous implications for approaches to wellness, well-being, and population health. The evidence is growing about the connection between physical health and positive psychology constructs such as resilience, optimism, gratitude, and mindfulness. For example, studies have shown that people who embody these positive characteristics have the following traits:

  • enhanced motivation to act and be productive
  • less stress and anxiety
  • less frequent illness and quicker recovery from disease

As a result, people who embody such positive characteristics ultimately cost employers less in healthcare spending and lost productivity.  They are also likely to be more creative, provide better customer service, and have better relationships with their work colleagues.