Why does Psychology obsess over what's wrong with people and give short shrift to what is right about us?
People want more than just to correct their weaknesses. They want lives imbued with meaning; not just how to go from minus five to minus three and feel a little less miserable day by day.... they want to go from plus two to plus seven in their lives.
I believe the new focus of psycho-therapy needs to be towards positive emotion; building strength and sincerity of purpose, which are the guideposts that point to what Aristotle called, "the good life".
Though I realize that a constant state of sadness or happiness is not achievable and not even desirable, since contrast is what makes any state exist at all! So, since people are never lastingly happy or lastingly sad, I know from experience that we can lastingly increase our level of happiness.
The road towards more sustainable happiness comes from identifying our most fundamental and innate strengths and using them in our everyday lives.
I'd like to share some simple ways to reach these positive states of being that always work for me:
1) Find and immerse yourself in artistic creation_ which means any activity you are fully engaged in. This is rewarding and intensifies the sense that time is suspended.
2) Nurturing yourself _ not waiting for someone to give you what you can give yourself.
3) Lightening up and being more playful. A sage once said, "Never, never, never be serious!" Worry is useless because most of what we worry about never happens.
4) Judge compassionately__ see the truth of a person or situation without closing your heart or feeling superior.
5) A random act of kindness through word or action__ a gift of inspiration to someone goes a long way.
6) A moment of gratitude for all that life has given you. Feeling genuine thankfulness generates a surge of endorphin in your body; it never fails!
All of the above are small reminders that our Boo-duh nature is not ephemeral__ it is the road towards to gratification, leading to what we all long for: Meaning and Purpose.
Until next time!