Friday, February 27, 2009

Positive Psychology

I've had manic weeks before, but in terms of being buried under work, this week was like having a skyscraper built above me; at 5.30pm, this has been my earliest finish all week - 13 hour days in college aren't exactly fun, especially when one is clearly suffering from some form of insomnia, but it will be rewarding I'm sure at the end of it all. No, I know it will be!

So, I thought I'd put down a bit about something interesting I learned this week from a talk we had from Dr. Ilona Boniwell, a positive psychologist and author of the book Positive Psychology in a Nutshell. You can learn about her by clicking here.

She opened by asking us the following question: "If you were going to see a psychologist in the morning, would you go around and tell your friends and people you knew?"

And then,

"If a friend told you they were going to see a psychologist in the morning would your reaction be: 'oh no, why? What's wrong?'"

Why is psychology still seen as a 'victimology'? Why are our reactions not 'Wow, that's great!'?

The second thing I learned was about mental well being, and this is more something to ponder and think about. If someone goes through a particularly stressful or traumatic event, we always hear about people suffering from post traumatic stress. But has anyone ever experienced post traumatic growth? I think that's such an interesting point of note. How many of us experience such difficult circumstances and have our outlook or perspective changed as a result? I'll put my two hands up to that.

And thirdly, two tasks were suggested for greater happiness and overall mental well being.

Each day, you write down three positive or good things that happened in that day. The first few times, you may find it hard to pick out things, let alone three. But within a few weeks you should find it easier. My own personal reasoning for this is that you have a more positive overall outlook so find it easier to find positive things of note.

And finally, random acts of kindness. Five a day. My friend already did four today. I tried, but most revolved around driving and letting people go ahead of me. It made me feel more relaxed when driving but it's something I have to work on.

Anyway in times of stress, positive psychology provides a light of relaxing relief.