Posted by: sternenfeeinflorida | 6 March 2010

Motivation, Emotion and Learning Part II

This is a more scientific text that deals with positive psychology. I hope you will enjoy reading this as well.

Positive psychology focuses on the creation of positive emotional states (O’Reilly, 2007). It strives to study human strengths and functioning (Miller & Harvey, 2001). One of the principles of positive psychology is that people must believe they can do better and that it is their responsibility to do so. This can be achieved by finding a greater purpose than one’s own life, consistent exposure to positive thoughts, and being reminded of past successes. Since everyone is different, every person will have to find their own greater purpose, find ways, like affirmations or motivational quotes and the type of successes they would like to remind themselves of (Kahle, 2006). Discovering a greater purpose often leads to greater satisfaction in life, stronger reasons to live and more social support. However, the inclusion of loss may have a vital impact on the field of positive psychology as dealing with tragic events sometimes aids people to get stronger and focus on many objectives positive psychology emphasizes (Miller & Harvey, 2001).

Sikes (2001) also suggests that positive psychology should focus on trying to understand the ability of humans to not only cope with stressful and traumatic situations but to heal from these experiences. Once these mechanisms are understood, psychologists are better able to understand how to use and unblock them.

One way how positive psychology may aid the healing process is through creativity. It allows for the exploration of the painful feeling and its expression. The creative process provides hope as it allows for the creation of something (Sikes, 2001).

The thought that every person controls his or her own destiny and is therefore responsibly for everything in their lives is the main point of criticism. Critics of positive psychology say that it is not possible for everyone to achieve everything they want if they only visualize it enough, wealth does not happen only because one looks at dollar bills and imagines holding them (Keating, 2009). They argue that believing that pure focus on visualization can bring the wanted results can be damaging, as it does not take into consideration potential obstacles or injustices outside a person’s control (Hinsliff, 2010).

However, happiness is not related to how much money a person earns or how many things they own. Personal happiness is a concept that can be used by everyone as it provides guidance for decisions that need to be made and actions that have to be taken (O’Brien, 2008).

It is further important to embrace failures and learn from them. Once failures, frustrations and anger are accepted and dealt with, positive emotions have an easier way of being accepted as well. Once the focus is shifted from all that went wrong to all that went right, the attitude and outlook on life will shift as well. It is essential to realize that it is not the material things that make us happy but that true happiness comes from within us, from the person we strive to be by living a meaningful life (Kotz, 2006).


Davis, S., Paladino, J. (2010). Psychology (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall

Hinsliff, G. (2010). The tyranny of the positive people. New Statesman, 139(4983), 20. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from MasterFILE Premier database.

Kahle, D. (2006). Motivating Yourself to Succeed Every Day. American Salesman, 51(12), 3. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from Associates Programs Source Plus database.

Keating, A. (2009). The Limits of Positive Thinking. America, 201(1), 29. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from MasterFILE Premier database.

Kotz, Deborah. (2006, Dec 25). “Get Happy, and You’ll Live Longer.”  U.S. News & World Report. 141. 24: 48-49. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Career Education Corp. Retrieved 28 Feb. 2010 <;.

Miller, E., & Harvey, J. (2001). The Interface of Positive Psychology with a Psychology of Loss: A Brave New World?. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 55(3), 313. Retrieved February 28, 2010from MasterFILE Premier database.

O’Brien, C. (2008). Sustainable happiness: How happiness studies can contribute to a more sustainable future. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 49(4), 289-295. doi:10.1037/a0013235.

O’Reilly, S. (2007). Positives thinking pays off. Personnel Today, 15. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from Associates Programs Source Plus database.

Sikes, C. (2001). Creativity: Its Role in Healing and Place in Positive Psychology. Retrieved February 28, 2010 from ERIC database.


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