Some Thoughts on Positive Psychology

As I read about positive psychology*, both the academic and the pop versions, I began to think about the Psalms and how the psalmist turns to God to banish the negative – be it doubts or enemies. And I began to think about what positive psychology should not be and what the psalms can be.

What positive psychology should NOT be for a Christian:
• Needing to be happy always
• Denying the reality of sin and suffering
• Inflating your own credit for everything good that happens
• Withdrawing from the difficulties of life
• Expecting to make ourselves happy in this life without God
• Being sure that we’ve got the answers, that we’re getting things right

Rather, positive psychology should, perhaps, be about recalling that God is the great, unbeatable Positive, defeating all negatives. And so Christian positive psychology is, perhaps, already alive and well in Ignatian spirituality – in the ability to find God in all things.

Five ways to find God in all things (http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/15139/5-ways-to-find-god-in-all-things/)
1. Micro-awareness
2. Journal
3. Do something the “old fashioned” way
4. Listen
5. Say “God is here” (the next time something negative happens to you)

*Martin Seligman https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/people/martin-ep-seligman;
The Pursuit of Happiness http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/

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