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Mental Health Tips > Positive psychology

Positive Psychology
(Special thanks to Dr Denise Tsang-Law (Clinical Psychologist, Castle Peak Hospital) for authoring this article)

The more developed a society, the more intense feelings of loss and unhappiness within an individual. Developed society like the United States, rates of depression are ten times higher today than they were in the 1960’s. The average age for onset of depression also turns much younger. So, what can we do to make ourselves happier ? This is one of the reasons why “Positive Psychology” is receiving more and more attention in the recent years.

 
1. What is “Positive Psychology” ?
2. How can you be positive psychologically ?
3. What is “positive thinking” ?
4. How can I have “positive thinking” ?
5. How can I change negative thinking into “positive thinking” ?
6. What is “positive personality” ?
7. How can I have “positive personality” ?



1. What is “Positive Psychology” ?

In the field of psychology, there are 3 missions: treating the psychological problems of people, helping people to lead more fulfilling lives, facilitating people to identify and develop their abilities. “Positive Psychology” focuses on the exploration of the last 2 missions and also in the promotion of developing positive psychology both in the society and in the individual.

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2. How can you be positive psychologically ?

If you want to be positive psychologically, you need to have the following two:

  • positive thinking
  • positive personality

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3. What is “positive thinking” ?

“Positive thinking” is the leading of one’s thinking towards the positive direction. If you have “positive thinking”, you will feel a much calmer inner self, your ability to manage problems is enhanced and your impact on the environment is also positive.

“Positive thinking” usually has the following characteristics:

  • open-minded
  • friendly
  • deliberately and practically choose to look at issues from a bright side
  • like self and others, treat surroundings and others with passion and interest
  • worry less, enjoy more
  • deliberately choose happiness instead of choosing the unhappy
  • let your mind fill with the bright sides of things instead of the gloomy sides

If your thinking pattern is similar to the following, you already have “positive thinking”. Please continue to develop them:

  • I feel that I’m worth having these 10 minutes of being alone with myself and quietness.
  • I enjoy these 10 minutes of being alone with myself and quietness very much.
  • I feel very relaxed.
  • To myself, I have a new kind of positive experience.

 

However, if your thinking pattern is similar to the following and you want to have “positive thinking”, you will need to examine the direction of your present thinking and make some adjustments:

  • I feel that these 10 minutes of being alone with myself and quietness seems like a century long.
  • Sitting idling like this makes me feel uneasy and having feelings of self-guilt.
  • Others will feel that such behaviours of mine are odd and asocial.
  • I shouldn’t have this kind of self-centered behaviour.

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4. How can I have “positive thinking” ?

Please do the following self-examination first:

  • My daily thinking is mostly positive or negative ?
  • Are the contents of my thinking filled with harmful ideas e.g. jealousy, self-guilt, anger ?

If you want to have “positive thinking”, you will need to expand and develop the “positive thinking” you have at present as well as changing negative thinking into positive ones. If you don’t change your negative thinking, your negative thinking will continue to further expand, thus, occupying most of your thinking pattern. This is why if you want to have “positive thinking”, you will need to know how to say “Stop!” to your negative thinking and then changing the negative thinking into positive ones.

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5. How can I change negative thinking into “positive thinking” ?

Techniques for changing negative thinking into “positive thinking”:

1)     You think about what you need, not what you don’t need.
Don’t think:    I’m not afraid.
Think:             I will feel relaxed and calm.

2)   Use the “present” mode in your thinking, not the “future” mode. The affirmation from the “present” will strengthen the chance of success in the future.
Don’t think:   When I talk to strangers in the future, I will be filled with confidence.
Think:             When talking to strangers, I’m filled with confidence.

3)   Pay constant attention and keep reminding yourself to change negative thinking into positive thinking since negative thinking will persistently creeps up when you are not attentive about them. If you can consistently carrying on to do this, you will find that the natural thinking that comes up in your mind is not negative thinking anymore, but constructive “positive thinking” instead.

4)   If you want to have “positive thinking”, do it right from the first thought you have on your mind when you get up in the morning. Given this, being “positive” for the whole day is just within easy reach.

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6. What is “positive personality” ?

Characteristics of “positive personality”:

Optimistic                       when facing danger or crisis, still believe in and hoping for positive results
Enthusiastic                     possess a lot of interest, vigour, passion and inner motivation
Belief                      have strong belief that when in need, inner self, others and self-persistence will
provide help and guidelines to self
Integrity                          doing things in an honest, open and fair way
Courage                   when facing uncertainties, is willing to bear the risk to overcome or manage the
uncertainties
Faith                                no doubts about own ability, endowment and potential
Determinant                    won’t give up easily on one’s aim or target
Patience                           willing to wait for the appearance of opportunity, favourable conditions and results
Composed                       able to maintain a clear mind, balanced mindset and spending time for reflective
thinking in times of problems and crisis
Concentrated                  maintain concentration through defining and prioritizing objectives

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7. How can I have “positive personality” ?

The above characteristics of “positive psychology” are actually inborn. Due to negative
environmental factors, they are being more or less suppressed. Through conscious and deliberate effort, they could be revived. If you want to rediscover and arouse these “positive personality” of yours, you need to know the difference between the existing levels of “positive personality” that you have with those listed above before you can make relevant adjustments.

Checklist for difference in levels of “positive personality”:

The following “positive personality” checklist can act as a guideline for you when making “positive
personality” adjustments:

Optimistic: too much - not practical, too little - pessimistic

Enthusiastic: too much - not sincere, too little - aloof, indifferent

Belief: too much - blind obedience, too little - indecisive, hesitant

Integrity: too much - hypocritical, over-moralistic, too little - immoral

Courage: too much - blind courage, poor judgement, too little - coward, having no idea of own

Faith: too much - aloof, arrogant, too little - lack self-confidence, tend to waver

Determinant: too much - stubborn, too little - give up easily

Patience: too much - indecisive, too little - in a haste, impetuous

Composed: too much - lack of motives, appear lazy, too little - restless, hot-temper

Concentrated: too much - narrow-minded, lacking foresight, too little - dispersed, lacking organization

Websites with relevant information / Reference

曾羅美姿 (2005) 情緒處理自助手冊 : 正向思想 – 香港 : 青山醫院精神健康學院

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