We all have the power to give ourselves a good life and this power comes from within. For many, many years the old school or traditional thought and practice in therapy was to identify and treat what was perceived as what was wrong with us. The practice was to correct the perceived wrongs and hopefully you would feel better. Positive psychology, founded and continually developed by Martin Seligman, has studied what people can do right to give themselves a good life. The focus is on the positive not the negative.
Positive psychology asserts that what fixes what is wrong with us comes from within such as our strengths and positive energy and emotions that are intentionally activated. It is helpful to have someone to guide us in this process and seeking a mental health professional to assist is a good start. The bottom line is that whatever change you are seeking you will be doing the work involved in making that change. Family, friends, colleagues and a therapist are there to help you along the way.
Positive psychology has developed six questions that when asked of self can help you in achieving a good life. The acronym PROPEL is used as a guide and described below.
1. Passion: What would your personal and professional life look like if you were totally satisfied with them?
2. Relationships: Are there negative thinking individuals in your life who make it difficult for you to set and achieve goals? Would it be difficult to end those relationships and engage solely in supportive, encouraging and empathetic relationships?
3. Optimism: What do you do when you experience a failure or setback? Do you have a support system that can assist you in learning from a failure or setback? Do you have a support system encouraging you to be hopeful during tough times?
4. Proactivity: When you have difficult situations do you look for a positive perspective or approach for solving them instead of allowing your thinking to become totally negative?
5. Energy: Do you take care of yourself holistically? Are you getting enough sleep and exercising regularly? Are you eating healthy at least most of the time? Are you laughing, giggling and feeling love each day? Doing these things will assist you in maintaining positive energy.
6. Legacy: Have you made a positive difference in someone’s life today and every day? Have you carefully chosen the words and body language you use during your interactions with others?
You have the power within yourself to help yourself achieve a good life. If you go to the positive psychology website you can take several surveys, including identifying your personal strengths, leading to a good life. The magic is that you have within yourself all that it takes to achieve your goal of having a good life.