Positive Psychology and understanding happiness

Positive Psychology and understanding happiness

by Shadra Bruce for Mental Health News

Positive psychology has taken on the role of helping people better understand happiness and well-being. Many positive psychologists are working diligently to take the speculation out of the science and have made great strides in increasing the understanding of the underlying mechanisms of positive emotions, recognizing that the mind is capable of generating positive emotion as a healing tool that often works more effectively than drugs or therapy.

A recent study in positive psychology has added to the understanding of happiness by differentiating between the experience of feeling pleasure and the experience of feeling interest, both components of well being. The approach of the scientists was to determine the different ways in which the mind works when thinking about a happy memory. When the mind analyzes the happy experience, it increases their interest in the experience, but replaying the moment in their minds actually enhances the person_ã_s feelings of pleasure as well as their interest, making it a powerful way to use positive psychology to aid in capturing and retaining feelings of well being.

The study demonstrated the way in which the mind separates experiences. Experiences that are pleasant or good can be interesting. Experiences that are negative or bad can also be interesting, but not pleasant. Therefore, when people continually replay negative experiences in their minds, it actually reduces pleasure and decreases feelings of well-being. While there is more research needed to fully understand the interactions of interest and pleasure, positive psychology will continue to have an impact on the ways in which we develop our understanding of the mechanics of happiness and well being.

Read the original article – HERE