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Assessment 1: Essay: Impact of applied Positive Psychology and Mindfulness on wellbeing.

Discuss about the Counselling for Positive Psychology and Mindfulness.

The present study discusses the key aspects applied positive psychology and mindfulness. Applied positive psychology is comparatively a new concept in the field of psychology which has flourished in the recent past with different problems emerging in the field of psychology. Psychology is mainly the study of human mind and in the last few decades psychology has faced different issues which have given rise to applied positive psychology (Snyder& Lopez, 2009). This stream of psychology has focused on the scientific study of human flourishing and has given an applied approach on the optimal functioning of the human mind. Positive Psychology has developed a strong hold on studying the strengths and the desired qualities which helps individuals and even organisations to thrive in the society and competitive market. In the present society being mindful is extremely essential(Schonert-Reichl, et al, 2010). Mindfulness is essentially being more aware and awake every moment in life. Mindfulness has been extremely important to be safe and secured always which impacts the wellbeing of every individual effectively. It could be said that being mindful of every moment will ensure that an individual is safe and his or her wellbeing is effectively safeguarded(Avey, et al, 2008). The present study is a critical assessment of the impact of applied positive psychology on the mindfulness on wellbeing. The study will take an opportunity to show the relationship between applied positive psychology and mindfulness on wellbeing.

1 Definition and Description of Positive Psychology

In the present essay that takes in to consideration the impact of applied positive psychology and mindfulness on wellbeing have been elucidated and illustrated in detail. Positive psychology has been initially established as a new region of psychology when the researcher Martin Seligman have decided to select it as a subject matter for his period as the head of the American Psychological Association in the year 1998 even though the subject is coined by Maslow as mentioned in his book namely ‘Motivation and Personality’ (1954). In the following research positive psychology have been defined and explained along with the particulars of how it came into importance and how positive psychology contrasts from traditional psychology (Huppert, et al, 2010). Mindfulness theory have been defined and elucidated as well. Impact of mindfulness on wellbeing of human beings has been determined by means of a number of different research findings from the field of positive psychology (Seligman&Csikszentmihalyi, 2014). For this reason a number of different research articles and methods have been provided in the present essay to analyse and discuss how the research methods implemented in every study has possibly influenced the outcomes that has been determined at the end of each study (Brown, et al, 2005).

Definition and Description of Positive Psychology

Positive psychology in simple words can be explained as one of the scientific studies that takes into consideration the strength and capability of an individual or a social group to grow well psychologically (Baumgardner, et al, 2009). So basically it is a study relating to the life of human beings considering their contentment, welfare, thriving. According to Hugo Alberts, “Positive psychology is the scientific and applied approach to uncovering people’s strength and promoting their positive functioning.”It is due to positive psychology that people are able to find happiness and mental satisfaction with the assistance of scientific approach rather than curing any sort of mental illness it encourages individuals to live happy and find contentment in everything they do such as work, play et cetera. It is due to perfect psychology that human beings can look to the brighter side of the life regardless of the negative reality along with ups and downs of life (Linley et al., 2009).Martin Seligman indicated that “relentless focus on the negative has left psychology blind to the many instances of growth, mastery, drive and insight that develop out of undesirable, painful life-events” (Carmody, et al, 2008). These words of Martin Seligman reflect the optimistic side of the psychology of an individual along with the aspects that establishes contentment and welfare as the element of a number of different research journals (Shapiro, et al, 2008).

There have been continuous efforts by researchers in the field of scientific research to discover further ways and methods of how to enhance and improve ways of contentment in the lives of human being. Since past few years researchers have been involved in finding out the answer for what is exactly wrong with human beings that has given rise to a number of different significant questions (Brown, et al, 2005). As per the efforts to find an answer to the questions researchers have acquired greater knowledge and comprehended several mental diseases and have established operational and effective ways of management and handling for a number of different problems identified.

However there are three essential stages on which positive psychology functions that consist of the subjective stage, the individual stage and the group stage. The first stage that is the subjective stage consists of the study relating to the positive practices for instance happiness, welfare, contentment, delight, positivity and movement (Schonert-Reichl, et al, 2010). This stage is mostly regarding feeling contented and happy instead of undertaking anything good or by being a better person. Secondly that is the individual stage the objective is mainly to recognize the elements that constitutes a good life along with the personal attributes that are well thought out to be essential in order to become a better person by means of studying fortes and intrinsic worth of human beings, concern for the forthcomingfuture, ability to love, bravery, diligence, clemency, compassion, imagination, intelligence, interpersonal abilities and giftedness (Peterson, 2009). Ultimately in the third stage that is the group stage or communal stage the focus is laid over the civic qualities and merits, societal accountabilities, emotional as well as physical nourishment, patience, philanthropy, forbearance, good manners, basic wok ethics, constructive associations along with a number of other aspects that adds in towards the process of improvement of the general public and social responsibilities (Sin, et al, 2009).

Research on Mindfulness

In the recent times positive psychology has been implemented in mostly as a method of research in the subject. It can be differentiated with traditional psychology in terms of that rather than concentrating over the problems of individuals and to find an appropriate method to face them, that the psychology that is mostly accustomed. Positive psychology gives an opportunity to people to discover something positive that might be advantageous for them such as inner fortes within an individual aiming further on practical phases to utilize one’s capabilities and skills so as to achieve success in community. Traditional psychology methods explain the problem and furthermore find a suitable means to face the problem by implementing a number of different techniques. Every so often considering the previous, current and forthcoming actions and performances of an individual and concentrates further on any distressing occasions that might have taken place at some point of time or might take place during the life span of an individual and consequently what impact it has on the general working of an individual (Schonert-Reichl, et al, 2010).

Mindfulness can be described as a deliberately concentrated consciousness of an individual’s direct involvement. In simple language mindfulness is when an individual is aware of one’s feelings and considerations. An individual must possess self-direction of consideration so that in order to concentrate on implementing an unbiased approach concerning an individual’s involvements in the current circumstances (Carmody, et al, 2008).There are a number of advantageous influences on improving one’s mindfulness. The notion of self-direction might sound little contradictory as per the authoritarian common sense of the term self-direction is not ‘mindful’. Moderately, mindfulness is a condition that is generally categorized in terms of self-analysis, ingenuousness, consideration and recognition of oneself. In the past few years it has been discovered that mindfulness is considerably associated with positive impact, being contentment and general welfare. According to (Galantino et al. 2005), the changes recorded in the salivary cortisol levels before and after the Mindfulness Meditation (MM) program were evaluated by utilising a paired student t-test and the researchers had utilised Spearman correlations to determine the association between salivary cortisols and subjective m,keasures from the questionnaires. Paired t-test results for salivary cortisol showed no significant changes between baseline and completion of the program. Upon the completion of the MM program, the respondents reported significant levels of improvement in their mood and emotional exhaustion. Mindfulness is no recently discovered theory; it has been there since decades and centuries. However it is important to mention that there are a number of different discoveries that have been introduced and added further to ‘enhanced self-awareness’ that lessens tension and apprehension along with reducing the possibility of emerging several diseases, cancer as well as psychopathology (Avey, et al, 2008).

For this reason it is significant to exercise mindfulness in terms of positive psychology as one of the methods for overall physical and mental wellbeing.Van Vugt and Jha (2011) have undertaken a research that comprised of a team of individuals to a thorough one month duration mindfulness withdrawal that have been randomly selected by means of convenient sampling method. Further these individuals were matched and equated with a team of individuals with no mindfulness training (MT). Further every individual who participated from both the teams have carried out task of memory recognition prior any mindfulness training given to them. Then a second phase of memory recognition task was carried out by all the individuals from both the teams after mindfulness training provided to them for one month (Carmody, et al, 2008). At the end when the time arrives to assess the outcomes it has been noticed that even though the level of accuracy present in both the teams were somewhat parallel whereas the time of reaction have been noted way faster for the team that have been given a one month of mindfulness training (MT). For this reason it can be concluded that mindfulness training contributes in improving attentions, especially in terms of quality of knowledge and information along with resolution procedures that are straight away associated to the working of memory (Avey, et al, 2008). According to Niemiec, 2012 “mindfulness can help an individual express their character strengths in a balanced way that is sensitive to the context and circumstances they are in.”

According to (Kuyken et al. 2013), it has been found that the childhood and adolescence are vital developmental stages which help in determining the overall well-being and mental health during the later stages of adulthood. Mindfulness approaches have been gaining prominence in the treatment of adults with chronic physical and mental health problems. There are a number of researches that states about the positive influence of mindfulness on psychological welfare of individuals. Moreover a wide range of studies proves and mentions that mindfulness reflection is associated to enhanced health of individuals including mental as well as physical that assists in fighting against a number of illnesses consisting of a number of anxiety syndromes, melancholy, eating maladies, substance mishandling and protracted pain indication fall. Until now the notion of mindfulness has developed into a saying ofvarieties and regardless of the research in relation to positive impacts, certain devices linked with mindfulness along with psychological welfare is blurred. However a number of studies have been done in order to measure the positive impact of mindfulness by a number of different researchers. The Mindfulness in Schools Programme (MiSP) has been designed as a universally accepted method of intervention for the students studying in secondary schools. By propagating mindfulness as a method of working with everyday stresses and experience, the participants can obtain potential benefit which encompasses the full range of the normal distribution of well being (Kuyken et al. 2013). Consequently a number of researches reflected that mindfulness helps in reducing rumination (Schonert-Reichl, et al, 2010). Rumination can be well explained as an inactive procedure of thinking about all the pessimist and negatives ideas and experiences associated to elements of psychological welfare.  As per the research conducted by Chambers et al, (2008)twenty beginner mediators were asked to partake in a programme for 10 days for thorough mindfulness rumination retreat. As a result it was clearly perceived that the participants of the meditation team had expressively stated of greater level of mindfulness as well as reduced pessimist thoughts if compared to the participants of the control team (Carmody, et al, 2008). So consequentially there was lesser rumination and negative syndrome as well. Not only was this but the participants from meditation team were said to have a better functioning memory ability along with capacity to better preserve and put up with attention for the duration of the performance activity in comparison to the participants of the control team (Chiesa&Serreti, 2009). According to several studies it has been observed that working on mindfulness leads to lesser level of stress in a human being. Most of the researchers determined that a therapy based on that of mindfulness might be beneficial in varying emotional and intellectual methods that lies beneath a number of scientific matters (Huppert, et al, 2010). 


It has also been found by (Kuyken et al. 2013) that mindfulness as a universally accepted intervention process can go a long way in reducing the inequalities associated with the accessing the intervention and the acceptability, stigma and social comparison which arises when interventions are specifically targeted at subgroups of young people within schools. In the present essay it can be clearly seen that the impact of applied positive psychology and mindfulness on wellbeing has been determined and elucidated in detail along with all its aspects discussed and explained properly (Shapiro, et al, 2008).  The word ‘mindfulness’ in the context of the present essay implies a psychological condition of cognizance, the activities that gives further way to this cognizance, a method of handling information along with a personality features. Positive psychology has been used in terms of theory that promotes the wellbeing and happiness within the life of an individual or a group.As per the positive psychology it has been marked that happiness have been promoted and enhanced in a greater number of diverse methods (Keng et al., 2011). On the other hand mindfulness is the deliberately concentrated cognizance of an individual’sinstant understanding (Sin, et al, 2009). As per Martin Seligman explained ‘good life’ as “using your signature strengths every day to produce authentic happiness and abundant gratification” (Baumgardner, et al, 2009).

The methods utilised in the second research included a feasibility study based on a non-randomised controlled parallel group (MiSP programme v matched control group) study, where baseline outcomes were at different stages were assessed  at pre-intervention, post-intervention and follow-up (3 months after baseline). The students’ views regarding the acceptability of the MiSP program were evaluated at post-intervention and follow-up.

The participating schools had been selected from the pool of schools which had teachers who had been trained in the MISP curriculum or who had expressed their desire in being trained. Control schools had been selected in such a manner so as to match intervention schools based on certain important matching criteria such as fee-paying private schools v. publicly funded schools, year group and published school-level academic results. In order to offset the chance of any teacher allegiance/motivation effects, only those control schools had been selected where teachers were interested in the mindfulness programme, but were yet to receive any formal training in the mindfulness program or delivered the MiSP curriculum.

In the first research, the study intervention was a cognitive behaviourial stress mangement program which was based on Mindfulness Meditation (MM) principles and this utilised material from mindfulness based stress reduction. There were 84 respondents who were selected from a single institute within a university hospital and recruited within the MM program. Once they have enrolled themselves, the respondents were asked to measure their salivary cortisol and complete questionnaires before the program and after completing 8 weeks of MM.

Conclusion

Applied Positive psychology is an extremely important subject now and it has developed serious interest in research studies. In the recent past scholars have shown increased interest in applied positive psychology and have merged this concept to develop the mindfulness on wellbeing. There are number of insights in mindfulness in positive psychology (Bolieret al., 2013).  From the above discussion it is very clear that self regulation is an extremely important aspect which helps individuals to develop better mindfulness. It is important to mention that being mindful about the thoughts and emotions promotes well being. As per Slade (2010) Applied psychology has helped to develop mindfulness which has also improved well being of the individuals as well as the organisations(Schonert-Reichl, et al, 2010). Discussions have shown that mindfulness works to better the mental abilities and develops memories which make individuals improved enough. Applied Positive Psychology has helped to improve the mental conditions of the patients and mindfulness development have also been effective for the patients as it has helped to control their emotions and have also developed buffers against the depressive symptoms which has got better results. Hence it could be concluded from the above study that there is a very strong relationship between positive psychology and mindfulness to develop the wellbeing of the individuals and organisations.

References:

Avey, J. B., Wernsing, T. S., &Luthans, F. (2008). Can positive employees help positive organizational change? Impact of psychological capital and emotions on relevant attitudes and behaviors. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 44(1), 48-70.

Kuyken, W., Weare, K., Ukoumunne, O., Vicary, R., Motton, N., & Burnett, R. (2013). Effectiveness of the Mindfulness in Schools Programme: non-randomised controlled feasibility study. The British Journal Of Psychiatry, 203(2), 126-131. Retrieved from https://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/203/2/126

Baumgardner, S. R., & Crothers, M. K. (2009). Positive psychology.Prentice Hall/Pearson Education.

Bolier, L., Haverman, M., Westerhof, G. J., Riper, H., Smit, F., &Bohlmeijer, E. (2013). Positive psychology interventions: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. BMC public health, 13(1), 1.

Brown, K. W., &Kasser, T. (2005). Are psychological and ecological well-being compatible? The role of values, mindfulness, and lifestyle. Social Indicators Research, 74(2), 349-368.

Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008).Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of behavioral medicine, 31(1), 23-33.

Chiesa, A., &Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review and meta-analysis. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 15(5), 593-600.

Huppert, F. A., & Johnson, D. M. (2010). A controlled trial of mindfulness training in schools: The importance of practice for an impact on well-being.The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 264-274.

Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical psychology review, 31(6), 1041-1056.

Linley, P. A., Joseph, S., Maltby, J., Harrington, S., & Wood, A. M. (2009). Positive psychology applications.

Peterson, C. (2009). Positive psychology. Reclaiming children and youth,18(2), 3.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., &Lawlor, M. S. (2010). The effects of a mindfulness-based education program on pre-and early adolescents’ well-being and social and emotional competence. Mindfulness, 1(3), 137-151.

Seligman, M. E., &Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An introduction (pp. 279-298). Springer Netherlands.

Shapiro, S. L., Oman, D., Thoresen, C. E., Plante, T. G., & Flinders, T. (2008). Cultivating mindfulness: effects on well‐being. Journal of clinical psychology, 64(7), 840-862.

Sin, N. L., &Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well‐being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice‐friendly meta‐analysis. Journal of clinical psychology, 65(5), 467-487. 

Slade, M. (2010). Mental illness and well-being: the central importance of positive psychology and recovery approaches. BMC Health Services Research, 10(1), 1.

Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (2009). Oxford handbook of positive psychology. Oxford University Press, USA.

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