Gratitude and true happiness
Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living, focusing on both individual and societal well-being. It studies "positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions...it aims to improve quality of life." It is a field of study that has been growing steadily throughout the years as individuals and researchers look for common ground on better well-being.
Positive psychology began as a new domain of psychology in 1998 when Martin Seligman chose it as the theme for his term as president of the American Psychological Association. It is a reaction against past practices, which have tended to focus on mental illness and emphasized maladaptive behavior and negative thinking.
It builds on the humanistic movement by Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, James Bugental, and Carl Rogers, which encourages an emphasis on happiness, well-being, and positivity, thus creating the foundation for what is now known as positive psychology.
Gratitude improves interpersonal relationships at home and work. The connection between gratitude and happiness is multi-dimensional. Expressing gratitude not only to others but also to ourselves, induces positive emotions, primarily happiness. By producing feelings of pleasure and contentment, gratitude impacts on our overall health and wellbeing as well.
In a survey on gratitude in adult professionals, British psychologist and wellness expert Robert Holden found that 65 out of 100 people selected happiness over health, although they indicated that both were equally important for a good life.
Holden, in his study, suggested that the roots of many psychopathological conditions like depression, anxiety, and stress are unhappiness.
Simple practices like maintaining a gratitude journal, complimenting the self, or sending small tokens and thank you notes can make us feel a lot better and enhance our mood immediately.
Couple studies have also indicated that partners who expressed their thankfulness to each other often, could sustain their relationships with mutual trust, loyalty, and had long-lasting happy relationships.
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