Positive Psychology Interventions (A Complete Guide)


Author bio

Page last updated: 14/09/2022

Positive Psychology Interventions

The prime focus of Positive psychology is on behavior and character strengths which helps an individual to have a purposeful life.

In this article, we will briefly discuss Positive psychology interventions.

The foundations of positive psychology lie on three maxims according to a late researcher Christopher Peterson.

First one is, everything which ought to be good in life is as pure as what ought to be bad.

Secondly, something going good in life doesn’t necessarily mean that it is happening due to the absence of problems.

Lastly, an explanation is required for a good life, not simply in a theory of disorder stood sideways or flipped on its head.

Positive psychology emphasizes purpose not just stresses on temporary happiness.

Martin Seligman is thought to be the father of Positive Psychology has described three ways which lead to happiness: A life full of pleasures, a merely good life and a life which is aimed on to be purposeful.

History of Positive Psychology:

Positive Psychology provides a paradigm to lead a well balanced and happy life.

Maslow in his book “Motivation and personality” noted a conflict between a more realistic approach to help people lead a happy life and clinical psychology focused on mental health issues.

Now, more than 50 years psychologists have started using Artificial Intelligence and data collection to understand and study the factors which lead to contentment in life and their research application affects the way we understand the concepts of marketing, leadership and inspiration.

Pre-modern Cognitive Psychology:

Although, the Positive Psychology’s roots are found back in the year of 1908, William James came with a valid point.

He pointed out why some individuals lead contended lives while others don’t.

Earlier before this, some notorious philosophers including Socrates, Aristotle and Plato noted how it looks to live a virtuous life and how an individual can strive to live and attain contentment in his life.

Modern day psychology is now more concerned about scientific research rather than thought experiments in the late 19th century when a connection was built among particular motor skills and behavior.

Wilhelm Wundt, in 1874, published his work on Principles of Physiological psychology.

It took less than thirty years to psychology in shaping its form into scientific from which theories of operant and classical conditioning emerged which helped in shaping the structure of behaviorism in the early 20th century.

Positive Psychology Interventions (A Complete Guide)

Modern Behavior: 

Behaviorism states that all learned behaviors are learnt in response to a stimuli.

Pavlov’s work on classical conditioning was published and then psychologists examined how infants develop and studied those factors which are involved developing their sensory motor skills, cognitive functions, language and as adults their emotional stability.

Modern behaviorists, Carl Jung and Skinner’s work give formation to how personality is perceived and discussed along with habit formation and self development.

Positive Psychology, in 1998, achieved the status of scientific area of study.

It’s been years that psychologists are studying the human psyche and classified groups of attitudes and behaviors into disease, disorder or illness.

Postmodern Positive Psychology:

 The focus of positive psychology was turned to what works from what’s broken.

Christopher Peterson and Seligman stated that satisfaction with past, pleasure in present and optimistic behavior about future is three main foundation stones of positive psychology.

In modern times, positive psychology is now being used by clinicians in various fields of life.

Positive psychology has gained enormous attention from organizations which are using this tool for satisfaction related to job, employee engagement, to retain the talented staff and most importantly to find out the best possible person a job which suits his skill sets.

Positive psychology is now playing a pivotal role in almost every department and enabling the leaders to motivate their employees to better understand the concepts of happiness.

Three levels of Positive Psychology:

Positive psychology works on the basis of three different levels: subjective level, individual level and group level.

Subjective Level

Subjective level focuses on studying the positive experiences of life.

For example, joy, well-being, satisfaction, contentment, happiness, optimism and flow.

This level focuses on good feelings instead of practically following the good ways.

Individual Level

This level of positive psychology emphasizes identifying the key elements of leading a good life.

It also includes the personal attributes of a person are mandatory for a person to be good.

This is made possible by studying the strengths of people, their virtuous deeds, how they perceive future, capacity for love, their interpersonal skills, forgiveness, courage, perseverance, giftedness and originality.

Group Level

Lastly, the community or group level focuses on social responsibilities of a person, virtues, work ethics, tolerance, positive mindset, nurturance and many other vital elements which help in building good communities or citizenship.

Positive Psychology Interventions:

Positive psychology Interventions particularly focus on increasing the well-being, happiness, emotions and positive cognitions.

Current research has shown that in past years the focus of psychologists was on treating the clients rather than preventions of the disease.

In 2009, Sin and Lyubomirsky states that the primary focus of positive psychology interventions is to arise positive feelings, thoughts and positive behaviors.

They have stated that there are two necessary key elements in all positive psychology interventions.

  • How to enhance happiness by using positive emotions and positive thoughts.
  • How to sustain its results for a longer period of time.

Many researches have shown that there are various sources of enhancing and sustaining happiness which include, social communication, sensory awareness, cognitive reformation and practicing gratitude.

All of these sources were brought together which then shaped positive psychology interventions.

These factors were used in a clinical setting for distressed and non-distressed people and a consistency in results was seen in both cases.

In 2013, Park and Biswas-Diener presented detailed definitions of positive psychology interventions.

They presented that PPIs are the ones that benefit people for a longer period of time, which are based on evidence and are proven scientifically, are having a proper paradigm to support their reliability and which address more than one constructs of positive psychology.

Types of Positive Psychology Interventions:

 Following are the categories in which interventions of positive psychology are divided.

Savoring PPIs

These interventions emphasise on specific experiences and intend to the enhancement of their own effects for maximizing happiness.

Main focus of these interventions is to create encouragement in a person to catch tiny experiences, which may be, social, sensory, emotional or physical.

As, these interventions emphasise more on wholesome perceptions these interventions look like mindfulness strategies but it is not the case entirely.

The connection of savoring interventions can be made with everyday activities like, smelling, eating and observation with having a more focused approach about what we are consciously attending.

These PPIs are efficient in treating the patients with mood disorders and depression as these PPIs are a source of producing happiness and self-satisfaction.

Gratitude Interventions

According to Steve Maraboli “ if you are in pursuit of happiness in your life then you must find gratitude”.

Gratitude interventions exactly work on the basis of this statement. Gratitude can help people to create and realise the feelings of positivity.

There are two categories of gratitude interventions:

  • Firstly, self reflective practices. For example, writing a piece of work of gratitude which we keep in our possession and which can be used later for self expression.
  • Secondly, by interacting with other people where we can easily use and convey our gratitudes to them. For example, saying thank you, paying a goodwill visit or giving a token of appreciation.
  • Practicing gratitude has been proved beneficial for producing and increasing satisfaction and happiness.

Kindness Boosters

People who are happy are generally seen shown kindness to other people.

Many studies has proved that kindness and happiness goes with each other and also compliments each other.

Interventions which focus on compassion or gratitude can be simple and straight acts of showing someone a little love, taking part in a noble cause voluntarily, making donations or helping someone in need.

Empathy Positive Psychology Interventions

The focus of these PPIs is mainly on strengthening the positive emotions in interpersonal relations.

It also emphasizes stronger social interactions at both levels of personal and professional which are necessary for creating happiness and inner peace.

Empathy based PPIs consist of activities like mindfulness strategies and self love meditation, where people are able to produce positivity for themselves and for other people as well by establishing their more mindfully connections with present.

Interventions which are based on empathy focus on creating bonds with other people by using effective communication, broadened perception and lessening the gulf between themselves and others.

The thinking behind this is to make us understand the perspective of other people and create a stronger relationship with them.

Optimistic Interventions

It is inferred that these PPIs are effective in producing positive results by keeping in view the realistic approach.

One of the most interesting PPI which is based on optimism is Life Summary Technique.

This technique was administered bySeligman, Rashid, and Parks in 2006.

In life summary technique it is assumed that the person is happy with his life and then writing down the summary of his life which would be based on that assumption.

Strength Building Measures

In positive psychology strength is known as internal values and capacities.

Many of the researches have proved that being aware and acknowledging the power is helpful in lessening depression and it helps in increasing self contentment.

Strength based PPIs holds the same message as a famous quote “It is within yourself that you will find the strength you need”.

Psychologists refer to these PPIs as practical wisdom and it enables us to make use of our strengths wisely.

Meaning Oriented PPIs

Meaning Oriented PPIs are helpful in making us understand that whatever is meaningful for us and how it is meaningful, and what efforts we can make to achieve whatever we want in our life.

An individual who has clarity of thoughts about his goals and achievements is more likely to be happier and content.

Maslow’s Theory of need hierarchy has highlighted that the most essential and upper teared need of an individual is self esteem and self enhancement.

Both of them play their important role in giving true meanings to life. Meaning Oriented PPIs focus on finding meaning in life, setting our preferences and putting sincere efforts to accomplish our goals.

Why Positive Psychology Interventions are Important? 

 Positive psychology interventions can be effective in the enhancement of subjective and psychological well-being and may help to reduce depressive symptom levels.

In mental health care PPIs can be used in conjunction with problem-based preventive interventions and treatment.

This combination of interventions might be appropriate when clients are in remission; positive psychology interventions may then be used to strengthen psychological and social resources, build up resilience and prepare for normal life again. 

FAQs about Positive Psychology Interventions

 Q1. What is positive psychology?

Positive psychology emphasizes the study of positive aspects of human lives. Positive psychology focuses on both individual and social aspects.

Q2. What are the three basic levels on which positive psychology is studied?

Positive psychology is studied on three different levels.

– Subjective Level

– Individual Level

– Group Level

Q3. What are three pillars of positive psychology?

Positive experiences, positive individual traits and positive institutions constitute three main pillars of positive psychology.