Psychology as a science has been a topic of contest and argument since times immemorial. The question to whether the glass if half full or half empty still remains no matter how many researches or theories are put forth to explain the psychology behind it. Psychologists believe that they can read a person by measuring responses to a given situation in a controlled environment whereas critics argue that the behavior of a person cannot be attributed to the interpretation of another of a given situation considering a certain set of given variables and constants.
Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that is unlike any other science or study discipline known to man. It is obvious that when in a discussion in a controlled group you would not find any difference of opinions when it comes to gravity or Archimedes principle. Everyone is likely to unanimously agree that the apple would fall to the ground as it is proved by physics. However, there is an all in all possibility that there will be varied and differed opinions on matters that relate to the human state of mind. Be it money matters, happiness, compassion, regret, dismissal or even approval to a given condition. This sort of a difference in opinion is what is dealt by the field of psychology in their everyday dealings. This further leads to many myths and misconceptions about the human nature and the thinking process of the human mind.
Let’s take a look at some of these myths:
POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY IS ALL ABOUT HAPPINESS: It is a well spread myth that the study of positive psychology is all about positive thinking and happiness. This is far from true. In order to explain positive psychology, it is important to note that post the World War II era, psychology concentrated on the evils of the human mind. Psychologists restricted their study, research and experiments to all the things that brought negative vibes to the human behavior. They studies behaviors like depression, anxiety, prejudice, aggression and hostility.
Although these are important but these are only half the equation. When studying the human behavioral patterns, it is important to study the other side of the equation as well. Creativity, friendship, compassion, forgiveness and co operation play an equally important role in the behavior of the social animal known as man. Why is it that we feel compassion for a person across the board that we have never met or heard of ever in our lives? Why is it that we get attached and committed to a particular cause that has no material gains for us? Why do we commit our entire lives to a career or a job, are all questions that are answered by the field of positive psychology and not just happiness that is depicted as a superficial expression of a good mental state.
MOST OF YOUR HAPPINESS IS THE DIRECT RESULT OF THE CHOICES YOU MAKE: A psychologist called Sonja Lyubomirski, after a thorough research, compiled her results in a pie diagram structure that discussed the factors that were responsible for the happiness of a person in life. She concluded that the happiness state of an individual depends of a series of factors that include the genetics of the person, the choices made in the course of his life, the circumstances and surroundings of the person whilst making these choices etc. unfortunately most people have helped themselves to their own share of the pie chart and arrived to the conclusion that their happiness is a direct consequence only of the choices they make in life. This is incorrect and Sonja doesn’t believe in it herself. There is no way you can isolate conditions faced by a human being and the genes of that person when trying to measure the happiness quotient that is faced. Somehow people get notional and happy to realize that the pie chart translates to the fact that they have some degree of control in the way they would be feeling a couple of years down the line. A notion that can’t be denied its due for correctness in totality, by anyone.
A GREATER PAY CHEQUE WON’T POTRAY A HAPPIER PERSON: This is explained best when you hear people say that money isn’t everything. Or when they say that nations making more money don’t have happier people living in it. This myth is taken home wrongly by many. It is a well established fact that although money may not be everything in life but it is indeed a great contributor to the happiness quotient in the personal life of everyone. Greater incomes can relate to feelings of psychological security, greater leisure time and scope for betterment of life on the whole, be it professionally or personally, that affect the personal as well as the family front leading to a happier population.
GOOD MOODS CAN MOTIVATE THE BRINGING OF CHANGE: It is a common belief that the displayed emotions are the real trigger to the behavioral patterns of a person. This can be avidly explained when your boss shouts at you and you end up passing on the yelling to someone not even connected to the incident. Emotions are merely an indicator of what is happening around you and are usually more temporary in nature rather than being permanent. It can be universally agreed that although it may be a possibility that your moods may lead to a change but it is also true that no moods, emotions or feelings are the paving means to a change in your life.
HAPPINESS IS A DESIRABLE ATTRIBUTE: Everyone likes happiness as an attribute that is desirable more than most other things in life. In a recent global study, it was seen that people preferred to be happy and content in life over all other emotions, wants and wishes which included going to heaven, being in love etc. Although happiness is a good feeling but what needs to be understood is that too much happiness may result in other events and happenings seems small and less significant. Furthermore, in case one is happy and content in life, then he is cutting out on the desire to achieve more and to fight for the ever increasing want of success. It has been seen that students who have been content with an average GPA end up getting lesser paid jobs in life than those who always strive to get better results no matter how good their GPA already is.
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