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Cheat Sheet

Positive Psychology For Dummies

In Positive Psychology, science tries to answer questions about what makes people happy, what a good life is, and how to increase life satisfaction. This Cheat Sheet gives you some ways in which you can make Positive Psychology work for you.

Using Positive Psychology to AIM for a Positive Life

According to Positive Psychology, you need to take three main steps in order to achieve health and wellbeing. They are covered by the acronym AIM:

  • Attending: Pay attention to the genuinely good stuff which happens to you. Don’t just filter it out.

  • Interpreting: Don’t always view experiences in a negative light. See the positive wherever you can.

  • Memorising: Remember positive events and paint positive mental pictures of your experiences.

How Positive Psychology Can Help at Work

Positive psychology can be used in many different ways within the workplace. Organisations often use the positive workplace practices in this list to increase productivity:

  • Offering a variety of tasks: Employees need challenge and variety to keep them motivated, fresh and engaged in what they’re doing. For example, moving people around on the production line to allow them to master new tasks and so avoid boredom.

  • Intrinsic motivation: Organisations are now coming to realise that money isn’t the only thing that matters. Many people say that enjoying job satisfaction is more important than the salary they take home.

  • Generating employee confidence: Negative thinking breeds lack of motivation, so some organisations offer staff challenges to test their motivation. Positive thinking strategies encourage greater self-reliance and self-confidence in their employees.

  • Focusing on strengths: Focusing on and developing an employee’s strengths is key to creating a loyal and motivated workforce. Individuals are encouraged to make full use of their own particular strengths, showing they’re good at what they’re doing, as well as enjoying job satisfaction.

  • Team building: Organisations offer a range of team activities to help improve communication and cooperation, internally and externally. Focusing on Continuous Professional Development is now the name of the game, giving employees the opportunity to update and hone their skills in the workplace.

  • Flow: Flow is the state of feeling fully engaged in what you’re doing. Enlightened organisations now give employees the type of feedback that is likely to keep staff motivated and, where possible, empower employees helping them to take more control over their day-to-day activities.

Learning Resilience through Positive Psychology

There are seven main skills which can help you bounce back from any adverse experiences you may go through. Keep them handy to stay resilient.

Learnable Skill of Resilience Applying the Skill
Emotional awareness /Regulation Identifying what you’re feeling.
Controlling your emotions.
Impulse control Tolerating uncertainty.
Taking time to think about decisions/actions.
Optimism Having a realistically optimistic explanatory style.
Causal analysis Looking at problems from all angles.
Considering all the factors.
Empathy Recognising and understanding the emotions of others.
Building social support through well-maintained relationships.
Self-efficacy Knowing your own strengths.
Using those strengths to cope with adversity.
Reaching out Taking appropriate risks.
Trying new things.
Accepting failure.

Using Positive Psychology to Respond Healthily

Remember that harmful repetitive habits are the bane of the well-lived life. Taking the steps in this table can help you to tackle bad habits head-on.

Habit Healthy Response
Stop being angry! Anger is a primitive emotion geared to the fight or flight stress reaction. Cut down the amount of time you spend feeling hostile.
Cheer up, it may never happen! Start looking on the bright side of life. Find the joy in ordinary things. Don’t waste time on negativity.
Get a life! Engaging in activities with other people is good for you. Having a variety of activities to fall back on can reduce the negative impact of challenging times.
Cut back on harmful habits Habits like drinking too much or smoking, especially where they’re connected to feeling low, are really destructive. Get help to change.

Identifying Your Signature Strengths with Positive Psychology

Psychologists have identified 24 key strengths under six main headings. You have at least some of these – you really do. Identify them by using this list.

  • Wisdom and knowledge: Creativity, Judgement, Curiosity, Love of Learning, Perspective

  • Courage: Bravery, Perseverance, Integrity, Enthusiasm

  • Love: Intimacy, Kindness, Sociability

  • Justice: Sense of responsibility, Fairness, Leadership

  • Temperance: Forgiveness, Humility, Caution, Self-control

  • Transcendence: Appreciation, Gratitude, Optimism, Humour, Spirituality

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