With increases in cheerfulness paralleled by increases in stress, there’s no way to definitively call the holidays (or any other season) the “most wonderful” of all—at least, not for everybody. However, any time that you incorporate a bit of positive thinking into your day, the benefits are considerable. Whether you’re an inveterate optimist and everything is going well, or whether you’re in therapy or counseling for depression and savor occasional moments of positive reprieve, positivity is good for you. Here’s an overview of positive-psychology news that’s been published in the past month.
A positive mood improves creativity, and positive work environments create the greatest opportunity for innovation and problem solving. Internet giant Google is a great example of a positive, creative work environment: their offices are full of bicycles, healthy snacks, bright colors, and pool tables. While those aren’t realistic for most companies, a few changes can go a long way toward creating a more positive business culture. Encouraging group activities, allowing employees to personalize their space, and providing emotional and psychological support such as stress counseling and insurance coverage for therapy—these all make work a positive influence on a person’s life, thus improving their creativity and quality of work. It’s a win-win.
Even smiling is linked with a greater quality of life and in some cases, longevity. In “Smile Big: you’re Going To Have a Good, Long Life,” Daniel Tomasulo, Ph.D. shares the fascinating history behind the study of smiling, including the psychological implications of a genuine smile versus an artificial smile. Of course, laughter also has wonderfully positive effects on the mind and heart. Finally, the infamous nun study showed that a positive attitude not only prolongs life but can actually counter the affects of some degenerative conditions. You may be thinking, “Great. Positivity is good for you, but I’m depressed, stressed, and lonely. What do you have for me?” It’s all relative: working through your negative feelings with a therapist or counselor is a huge positive step. You can also use these tips for savoring the past year, and take heart in the fact that stress management, empathy, and positive thinking improve with age.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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