In my last blog I referred to loss and grief and the pain of losing someone or something. Today, I want to look at the other side of that same coin, the positive way of looking at life. To give us a scientific perspective on what positivity means, and the psychological aspects of it I will start at the very start.


From an evolutionary perspective, we are designed not for happiness or unhappiness, but rather to strive for the goals that evolution has built into us. Happiness is a handmaiden to evolution’s purposes here. Therefore, it functions not so much as an actual reward but rather as an imaginary goal that gives us direction and purpose.

In Broaden and Build theory, positive emotions broaden people’s scope of attention and thought-action repertoires which in turn serves to build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and intellectual resources to social and psychological resources. Therefore, we can draw then on theses reserves when a threat or an opportunity presents itself.

Just as fear provokes a fight or flight response when we are faced with danger, it is claimed that positive emotions alert us to win-win situations (Martin Seligmann).

The Science behind your smile argues that happiness is indirectly linked to evolutionary survival. Promise of happiness is a mirage that motivates us to get out of bed in the morning, to do chores we don’t like. It’s why we try to chat up potential mates who are clearly out of league!! (Daniel Nettle) I can definitely empathise with that!

positivity: the other side of the coin



Positive Psychology is the scientific study of positive human functioning and flourishing on multiple levels that include the biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural and global dimensions of life.

There are 3 levels of Positive Psychology,

1 ) Subjective level

2) Individual level

3) Group level

This includes joy, well being, satisfaction, contentment, happiness, optimism and flow (some advertisers use this idea of flow and now you know why!)

There is an Acronym called Perma Positive Psychology;

P for positive emotions

E for engagement  -positive character, strengths

R for relationships

M for meaning  -core motivation, purpose, meaning

A for achievement – goal attainment

Positive Psychology is concerned with “Eudaimonia” (meaning good and spirit)  which means “The Good life” . This is a central concept in Aristotle’s ethics and political philosophy.

What makes up the “good life” is an authentic and sustained happiness and well being. (Martin Seligmann)

I also think meaning is very important in our life because meaning comes from belonging to and serving something/someone beyond yourself and from developing the best within you. Therefore, a shared experience with someone you love can also create meaning.

Read about your first visit to a Therapist

positivity: the other side of the coin

The 3 Pillars to Positive Psychology

There are 3 pillars to Positive Psychology;

  1. Positive experiences           2. Positive individual traits           3. Positive institutions

Happiness is the centre piece of positive Psychology. It is a real thing that is defined by the measurement of life satisfaction. One example of how this is measured is through an anuual UN study of happiness for over 156 countries. The survey was asking people to evaluate the quality of their current lives on a scale of 0 to 10. The top three countries were the following:

  1. Finland
  2. Norway
  3. Denmark

In the top countries listed, the people were said to have had very reasonable satisfaction levels for their lives. Ireland scored 14 in this study. Read the full report HERE. This report highlights the pivotal role happiness plays in positive psychology and positive mental health.


I am going to end on some positive quotes which resonate with me. This may be time for you to reflect on what quotes inspire you or influence the way you live your life;

“ I am me, This is who I will be, who am I? I am me”

“Reculer pour mieux sauter” take a step back to jump higher.

“Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of Mind”

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage”

“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life and one life can change the world” Buddha


Book that ticket

Write that book

Make that call/send that message

Create that dream

Celebrate yourself

You are worthy

You are capable

So open yourself up to the positive life….

THE END….. but only the beginning of your positive life…….. Thank you

Read other articles in the series ‘Thoughts on Therapy’