Positive Psychology: Cultivating Strengths

By Claire Fialkov, PhD, Core Faculty in the Clinical Psychology Department October 05, 2015

Mental Health Tips from William James College Faculty: Positive Psychology: Cultivating Strengths by Claire Fialkov, PhD, Core Faculty in the Clinical Psychology Department.

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what makes life worth living by exploring the positive emotions, thought, behavior patterns, and relationships that contribute to human flourishing. Positive psychology is not about being happy all of the time, but rather about valuing positive emotions, engagement with life and activities, positive relationships, meaningful life experiences and accomplishment in your life. These factors contribute to well-being. Positive psychology has taught us that when we intentionally cultivate character strengths, such as creativity, courage, spirituality or love to name a few, we feel greater well-being because using our strengths is one way to fuel well-being.

Tips for Having More Well-Being in Your Life

  • Listen deeply when you are talking with someone 
  • Volunteer and do more for others 
  • Celebrate and savor success 
  • Encourage gratitude in yourself 
  • Suspend judgment 
  • Encourage variety and meaning in every day 
  • Have a future orientation 
  • Cultivate your strengths 
  • Use your strengths in new ways 
  • Be active 
  • Get some rest 

While we may not be able to do all of these things, it might be useful to try out some of these activities. All positive interventions have in common the need for us to refocus our memory and attention, to be intentional about our goals, and to practice the strategies repeatedly over time. You may find that trying out some of these activities will broaden your thinking and your behavior and make you feel more resilient as you face the inevitable stress of life.