Psychology

Essay: Discuss how Positive Psychology may be used to enhance people’s psychological wellbeing. Illustrate your answer by discussing research that relates to two different positive psychology interventions.

Introduction

The human psychology has always been a topic of interest throughout history. Positive psychology has been recognised to have a positive contribution in increasing human well being by optimistic elements of strengths and emotions. Positive psychology is concerned with optimistic behaviour, attitude and positive emotion (Csikszentmihalyi and Larson, 2014). The positive psychology is often linked to mental health status in cases of depression, stress management and other mental disorders (Sin et al., 2011). The psychological interventions are aimed at increasing the conduct of human mind in an optimistic way. These interventions have been significant in enhancing happiness and reducing melancholy. This essay discusses positive psychology with regards to enhance the psychological wellbeing of individuals. The essay also discusses the research for two different positive psychology interventions.

Role of Positive Psychology in Individual Psychological wellbeing (PWB)

The positive psychological interventions have been known to be used as a modern strategy for the promotion of mental wellbeing and in dealing with mental health issues. The literature of psychology highlights two early philosophical orientations which are eudaimonia and hedonism (Henderson and Knight, 2012). These orientations consider individual wellbeing as contribution in prevention and recovery of specific condition and positive impact on life expectancy. The eudaimonic approach considers well-being an effect of psychological actualization that assists the individual to develop potential whereas the hedonic outlook considers well-being owing to the absence of negativity and presence of positive influence (Zuo et al., 2017). Under positive psychology interventions, there are several activities, validated instructions and suggestions that are focused on enhancing wellbeing by promoting positive emotion, behaviour and strengths.

One such behavioural intervention that efforts in improving psychological well being is positive psychotherapy which includes positive behavioural approaches to reduce negative functioning in an individual by increasing the positive behaviour and emotions of the individual and also reduce the symptoms of negative attitude. In addition, strengths interventions can also be effective approach for psychological wellbeing (Ghielen et al., 2017). It focuses on building inner strength by learning and recognising individual physical, mental and social resources for wellbeing, personal growth/success and satisfying life. According to Linley and Burns (2010), the strength interventions are aimed to enhance confidence level, develop hope and optimism in an individual.

Enhancing Well-Being with Positive Psychology Interventions (PPI)

The positive psychology interventions such as strengths and behavioural interventions can be used to enhance the psychological well being. Strengths interventions facilitate identification of strengths and its use for supporting wellbeing. It also includes determining the character strength (Lyubomirsky and Layous, 2013). There are many strength intervention strategies such as authentic self-expression, feeling of social value, hope, employment rapport perception, extraversion, persistence, perceptions of the employment relationship, feelings of social worth, positive effect or emotions, etc (Sin and Lyubomirsky, 2009).

In the research of Sin et al. (2011), it was recognised that positive effect helps the individual to determine the life satisfaction as well as engagement with work and mediates the strength intervention effect. In similar context, the research of Ghielen et al. (2017) highlight the hope mediates the strength intervention for personal growth that can be helpful for a person to regain energy, motive and develop pathway to achieve personal and professional goals.  Apart from the a larger study was carried by Seligman et al. (2005) to investigate the strength interventions such as gratitude visit, three good things and signature strengths showed an increased in happiness and lessened the symptoms of depression.  Here, the strategy was to make a visit or write letter to someone whom the person did not get a chance to thanks, write about three good things experienced each day by the individual and use of signature (character) strengths. It can be understood that strategy of gratitude visit can bring out positive emotions of the person (Davis et al., 2016) and prevent the individual from experience of depression.  Also, writing and thinking of three good things exercise can set up positive experiences and when the individual gets an opportunity of practice these again each day can be useful to create a positive mood in re-reading and writing the entries on a daily basis.  Another study by conducted by Mitchell et al. (2009) found that signature strength intervention improve well-being using a personal well being index.

The method of character strengths can be used to improve well being where the individual can make use of their five strengths incorporated in new ways in their daily life.  It can be said that identification and realising one’s strengths and using it in new ways appears to be an effective method to help the individual to realize sustainable changes in their wellbeing. It can make the individual achieve better living conditions and reduce the perceived thoughts of upsetting conditions with satisfaction in different domains of life.  Thus, strength based approach such as character/ signature strengths play a significant role in positive development of an individual and helps in coping with psychological problem. It develops positive conditions that help the individual to promote and thrive in personal life and development of a healthy character.

Another intervention that can be possible use to enhance the psychological wellbeing is behavioural interventions. The behavioural intervention strategies include psychotherapy, cognitive training, self-help intervention, mindfulness interventions, and life coaching group interventions, active communication and education, well being therapy, life review, life coaching, acceptance and commitment interventions, identity interventions and many more. In this context, the research findings of Weiss et al. (2016) highlight behavioural interventions has a moderating effect on the psychological well-being of a person in the group interventions. The author also states that the delivery of behavioural interventions through mode of face-to –face communication has shown an effective outcome to promote psychological wellbeing.  The practice of mindfulness exercise such as meditation can help an individual to reduce the psychological burden by dealing with stress related challenges and anxiety.  From the research of Carmody and Baer (2008), mindfulness meditation exercises sessions results underline increase in psychological well-being and functioning and decrease in symptoms related to stress and anxiety. The behavioural interventions such as mindfulness, well being therapy, cognitive therapy and life coaching are likely to benefit the mental health of the person.

This would help in uplifting and improving the person’s mood. These would bring the factors that help an individual to thrive as opposed to reasons and thinking that withdraw happiness and brings negative effects. The cognitive based behavioural interventions such as verbal memory, numerical ability, attention and concentration can result in better cognitive function to boost a person’s psychological functioning. Gu et al. (2015) state that poor cognitive functions in adults lead to state of depression thereby affects psychological well-being. Thus, cognitive training help is intellectual as well as in socialisation to improve level of learning function to result in an active lifestyle and also reduce the risk of dementia or reduced mental ability. Also, engaging in cognitive exercises would promote a high level of psychological well-being (Mitchell et al., 2009).

Similarly, the group based interventions can help to develop empathy and can result in positive social engagement to enhance the coping spirit to keep the depressing symptoms away. The life coaching sessions, well being therapy and cognitive training would also help in regulating negative behaviour and develop coping skills to deal with negative effect, stress, anxiety and depression. Active communication and education can help in development of emotional intelligence (Linley and Burns, 2010) and can be aligned with group interventions which can be a useful approach to develop social support in promoting psychological well-being. The research of Sin et al. (2011) viewed significance of social support in investigating of positive interventions. The author found that social support assists in enhancing well being with depressed individuals and decrease the dejected symptoms that lead towards a satisfying life.

Based on the above interventions, it can be said that strength based interventions work towards reducing the symptoms of depression and mental disturbance and also identify, develop and makes use of individual strengths to develop moral and positive attitude that can overcome the short run problems to have a fulfilling personal and professional life (Gander et al., 2013). In behavioural interventions context, it can be noted that it focuses on improving the psychological function and reducing the psychological burden by defining and comprehending the factors and thoughts that affects mood and emotions.

Conclusion

It can be summarised that positive psychology interventions strategies have an emphasis to develop positive effect, behaviour and cognition, reducing depression symptoms that improves psychological well being. Among many interventions, the strength and behavioural intervention strategies can be effectively used to enhance the psychological well-being of an individual and for the treatment of mental disorder and illness. The behavioural interventions can influence the positive emotions to cope with depressive symptoms to lead happiness and short-run problems and help in developing of coping skills in an individual. Also, strength interventions strategy can improve the psychological well-being by alleviating depression symptoms and through discovery and use of character strengths to develop moral to fight mental disturbance or negative emotions to achieve long term effect for a meaningful, purposeful and fulfilling life.

References

Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of behavioral medicine, 31(1), 23-33.

Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Larson, R. (2014). Flow and the foundations of positive psychology (pp. 209-226). Dordrecht: Springer.

Davis, D. E., Choe, E., Meyers, J., Wade, N., Varjas, K., Gifford, A., & Worthington Jr, E. L. (2016). Thankful for the little things: A meta-analysis of gratitude interventions. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(1), 20.

Gander, F., Proyer, R. T., Ruch, W., & Wyss, T. (2013). Strength-based positive interventions: Further evidence for their potential in enhancing well-being and alleviating depression. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(4), 1241-1259.

Ghielen, S. T. S., van Woerkom, M., & Christina Meyers, M. (2017). Promoting positive outcomes through strengths interventions: A literature review. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1-13.

Gu, J., Strauss, C., Bond, R., & Cavanagh, K. (2015). How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies. Clinical psychology review, 37, 1-12.

Henderson, L. W., & Knight, T. (2012). Integrating the hedonic and eudaimonic perspectives to more comprehensively understand wellbeing and pathways to wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(3).

Linley, P. A., & Burns, G. W. (2010). Strengthspotting: Finding and developing client resources in the management of intense anger. Happiness, healing, enhancement: Your casebook collection for applying positive psychology in therapy, 1-14.

Lyubomirsky, S., & Layous, K. (2013). How do simple positive activities increase wellbeing?. Current directions in psychological science, 22(1), 57-62.

Mitchell, J., Stanimirovic, R., Klein, B., & Vella-Brodrick, D. (2009). A randomised controlled trial of a self-guided internet intervention promoting well-being. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3), 749-760.

Seligman, M.E., Steen, T.A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. American psychologist, 60(5), 410.

Sin, N. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well‐being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice‐friendly meta‐analysis. Journal of clinical psychology, 65(5), 467-487.

Sin, N. L., Della Porta, M. D., & Lyubomirsky, S. O. N. J. A. (2011). Tailoring positive psychology interventions to treat depressed individuals. Applied positive psychology: Improving everyday life, health, schools, work, and society, 79-96.

Weiss, L. A., Westerhof, G. J., & Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2016). Can we increase psychological well-being? The effects of interventions on psychological well-being: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PloS one, 11(6), e0158092.doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0158092

Zuo, S., Wang, S., Wang, F., & Shi, X. (2017). The Behavioural Paths to Wellbeing: An Exploratory Study to Distinguish Between Hedonic and Eudaimonic Wellbeing From an Activity Perspective. Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology, 11.

 

 

 

 

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