Monday, May 9, 2016

Positive Psychology: 3 Tips to Pump up Yourself and Others

As psychologists and therapists, we understand the importance of mental health and helping people with mental disorders. With rising awareness in mental health, more people have shifted their focus from mental disorders to positive emotions. As a psychology undergraduate student at Northwestern University with an interest in positive psychology, I have found two articles introducing strategies to keep being positive and having high motivation.

In a recent Huffington Post article titled “10 Essential Habits of Highly Optimistic and Positive People”, a blogger Bill Murphy Jr. introduced readers to Mike Erwin. As an expert on learned optimism, Erwin shared his ideas on obtaining a more optimistic outlook. According to him, 10 small habits including writing letters of gratitude and working hard can significantly make people happier. Writing letters of gratitude and putting others first can both elevate positive feelings as people pay attention to meaningful events of the day, while working hard can prevent future failure and help people feel more hopeful for the future.

In the second article under Success magazine: “Top of Mind: How Do You Find Motivation When You're Not Feeling It?”, the author quoted 6 successful people on how to stay motivated. CEOs of various firms gave advice on keep being inspired and accomplish more at work. Opinions varied from taking some time to recharge to putting an exciting spin on the work. One of them mentioned trying to remember whom she is tackling the project for and reevaluating her values, and thus become motivated once again for the work. Another enjoys putting an exciting spin on the work and working hard for the challenges, which pump her up for her job.

Drawing on these two articles and my experience as a psychology student at Northwestern University, I have listed three actions that I would recommend to psychologists who would like to be leaders in positive psychology and motivating people:

lBe Thankful: Pay attention to little things in life that make you happy, especially people who have helped you or made your day.

l Work Hard: Hard work prevents future failure and makes life exciting.

l Revisit Values: Don’t just work all the time. Try to recall why you started this project, and be more motivated thinking about the cause. If the cause does not matter anymore, move on to another meaningful project.

Get yourself familiarized with these tips and start practicing today in order to live a more optimistic life!

My name is Helen Liang and I am currently a senior at Northwestern University studying Psychology, Economics with a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from the Medill School of Journalism. I am graduating in June 2016 and looking for full time positions as research assistant or lab manager in psychology labs. Feel free to reach out to me at @HelenaLiang7.

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