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Positive Psychology

Finding Light Throughout The Tunnel; Benefits Of Positive Psychology

Aishani Ghosh


Imagine a situation where you have to write a lengthy article, upon a lot of research, scrapping out drafts and sipping mugs of coffee to be wide awake. You could whine and regret the work-load or you could appreciate the fact that you would learn something new, stir your brain cells to the fullest and create a crisp and informative piece of writing. Just a small shift in perspective can paint a happier picture to us. This is what positive psychologists explore in-depth. 


So what exactly is positive psychology?

It is the scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings, and behaviour, with a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses. However, positive psychology does not neglect the problems which other psychologists attempt to eliminate; rather it complements healing. 



One may ask the elusive question ‘What makes us happy?’ Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology has given the PERMA model-Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaningfulness, Accomplishment. This clarifies that positive psychology is not only about positive emotions but utilizing and channelling them to feel more fulfilled. This article provides information regarding the courses and areas where positive psychology is applied and how significant this emerging field is in the contemporary scenario.


How does it feel when you are engrossed in your favourite hobby? Does it feel like you have no sense of time and place for a while? Positive psychologists coin this as ‘flow’.This is one of the concepts they use to help us build skills and challenges to experience more such states. ‘Flourishing’ is another concept used which describes the state in which a person utilizes the PERMA model given above, to the fullest. This is not a passing phase or a trait, but a process that requires engagement and action. 


One of the activities conducted in positive psychology is the experience-sampling method where one writes down what they think, feel, and do throughout the day. Gratitude journal where the client notes what all they are thankful for. Positive psychotherapy is a branch of therapy that uses some of these techniques and exercises into one treatment. It uses techniques from CBT, humanistic therapy, etc., and collaborates it with positive psychology. 



Research in positive psychology reveals the contributors to happiness, such as gratitude, prosocial behaviour, healthy relationships. Results indicate that ‘happiness is contagious’ which means that one positive person in a team can boost the morale of all others. These research findings further help in application in workplaces, life coaching, therapeutic interventions, education, self-help, etc. Positive psychologists increase the clients existing positive emotions, build a sense of hope, enhance goal- setting, and incorporate behaviours towards their goals, help discover hidden strengths and work to eliminate weaknesses. 


‘Flow’ in positive psychology is the state in which one is engaged inactivity. 

What are the opportunities to pursue positive psychology?

A Masters in Positive Psychology is about applying theoretical and research-based insights into your professional practice. As opposed to this, a Masters of Applied Psychology (MAPP) program is designed to impart more of the practical skills, tools, and knowledge that can be applied straight away. An MSc in Positive Psychology, on the other hand, will often be more theory-focused; it will often be structured so that students learn about the key thinking that has shaped—and continues to shape—the field.


IIT Delhi Positive Psychology elective(Duration- 8 weeks):
This course will introduce the learners to these fundamental aspects of PP, apart from highlighting some of the core PP concepts. People from any background can join. The course is free to enrol and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by them in person at any of the designated exam centres. This is an undergraduate-level course.


National Positive Psychology Association-Membership Options (For 3 years):
The vision of NPPA is to explore the fields of positive psychology constructs globally (West & East especially India) concerning teaching and research. People who can join are-Students, Researchers, and Scholars working in the area of Positive Psychology, Indian Psychology, and mental health. Academicians (teachers in the areas of Positive Psychology), NGOs & members from other organizations working in the area of community mental health and well-being.


Institute of Holistic Mental Health(IHMH)- One year PG Diploma. 
It is also possible to apply online for many of the Positive Psychology study options abroad. Tips on the application:  share what it means to you, why it excites you, what your dreams are. Also, share what your thoughts are as to how this degree would enable you to do things that matter to you in your profession.

Finally, one may ask ‘I am already a positive thinker since I know how to be happy. Why should I still pursue positive psychology?’ There is a distinction between positive thinking and positive psychology. Positive psychology is more holistic. It is not just based on thinking but application to more functional behaviour. It is more scientific rather than common-sensical. 



Have you met people in your life who have the required skills but are struggling to utilize them? Or someone who has achieved a lot but does not feel fulfilled?A student who studies very hard but cannot get grades? An organization whose members feel tied to their work? 

Positive psychology might help them find the key. Positive psychology may unlock potential and make a person do wonders. We are all aware of such people and are perhaps one of them. So why not see and show what life can offer beyond our imagination? The present pandemic has taught us that we have very little control over our surroundings, but positive psychology would help us see that stars are twinkling in a night sky. 


Links for courses:



The Vital Differences Between Positive Psychology and Positive Thinking. (n.d.). Verywell Mind. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from

Positive Psychology | Psychology Today. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2020, from

What is Positive Psychology & Why is It Important? [2020 Update]. (2018, April 20). PositivePsychology.Com.



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