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What comes to your mind when you hear the term Positive Psychology? I’m sure it is something related to a positive mindset or an approach. It is very common for people to correlate psychology with optimism. However, Positive psychology literally means ‘the scientific study of what makes life the most worth living along with human virtues and strengths’. It is the process of focusing on changing the lives of average people to fulfilling great lives rather than only emphasising on the struggle to be ‘normal’.

Due to the challenging and unprecedented situation of the pandemic, the entire world has turned upside down, not only in economic terms but also social, political and individualistic scenarios as a whole. Moreover, there tends to be a whole sense of uncertainty that is crippling in our minds and has led to a sense of an existential crisis as humankind.

The upsurge in the Covid-19 cases. ‘PROBLEMS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM: COPING IS THE PROBLEM’, thus it is very essential for us to take charge of the situation and not let it consume our minds. We must keep ourselves busy with focusing on the coping mechanisms by using the means of positive psychology like focusing on the situations that are in our control.

Various techniques like Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, etc. can be used to regulate emotional awareness and practising of self-management. All it takes is postage experiences, states and traits along with gratitude, resilience and compassion.

Positive psychology intends to provide legitimate goal setting, building positive relationships and identifying the unique talents of individuals. Like the fish who is unaware of the water in which it swims, people take for granted a certain amount of hope, love, enjoyment and trust because these are the conditions that allow them to go on living.

In this century, positive psychology will not only allow psychologists to understand and build factors that allow individuals and society at large to flourish but would also help in starting afresh the very science. Such a science would develop a highly transferable study of mental illness and concerns. These include the need to synthesise the positive and negative, build on its historical antecedents, build constituency with powerful stakeholders, integrate across levels of analysis and be aware of the implications of description versus prescription. Furthermore, it will provide a sense of psychological hygiene to individuals which would enable them to change their focus and perception with a greater chance of satisfaction and fulfilment. Such an approach would establish a concern with disease prevention, health promotion and overall wellness or well-being of an individual.

We should hence consider interventions that deliberately encourage the assets in order to reduce morbidity and mortality by increasing physical and mental well-being.

To conclude, it has been suggested that positive psychological assets are linked to health and longevity. However, more studies are necessary to learn more about when, why, how, and for whom positive psychological assets play a role in good health and whether interventions that enhance these assets will yield health benefits. We urge a sceptical, yet fair-minded attitude on the part of researchers and practitioners and that they pay particular attention to underlying mechanisms. What is more crucial? Does quality of life matter or the quantity of life?

It is clear from the research that having a sense of life purpose, experiencing frequent positive emotions, living a more socially integrated life and paying attention to what is positive in life, is linked to one’s quality of life across the lifespan. Thus, helping people cultivate positive psychological and social assets in life has the potential for happier, meaningful and healthier lives.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of India and Defence Research and Studies

By Dr Rachna Khanna Singh

Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, the Senior Fellow with DRaS is a Mental Wellness Expert, a TEDx Talk speaker, focused on Relationship, Lifestyle & Stress Management. She heads the Department of Holistic Medicine & Wellness at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon and the Founder and Director of The Mind & Wellness Studio, Delhi & NGO ‘Serve Samman’. Dr Rachna is a visiting lecturer and faculty member of various esteemed educational institutes worldwide such as IIM, IIT, BITS PILANI, Delhi University, NMIMS, Amity University, Himachal Medical Colleges, University of Exeter, University of Minnesota, Royal College of Physicians, etc.