Positive Psychology

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HP310 Individual project
Naomi chua

According to World Health Organization (WHO)’s definition, health is a state of complete physical, psychological well-being, optimal psychological functioning and social well-being. And health is “not merely the absence of diseases or infirmity” (WHO, 2000). Contrary to typical understanding of the psychology fields, positive psychology is a science of positive subjective experiences and positive traits, positive institution that promise to improve the quality of life and prevent pathologies (Csikszentmihalyi and Seligman, 2000). There are 3 levels of analysis for positive psychology; subjective level refers to the subjective experiences such as well-being, contentment, and satisfaction. The second level is individual level which refers to the positive individual traits/ human’s greatest strength such as the capacity for love, courage, forgiveness, positive coping strategies, interpersonal skills, positive attribution style, spirituality, and wisdom. Lastly, it is the group level which is about the collection of individuals (e.g. family, school and community) that enables the individual to strive and thrive. However, the focus of this paper is at the individual level, specifically one human’s greatest strength; coping. Whenever we mention about coping, we often associate coping with stress. Firstly, let me explain the complex concept of stress; there are 3 general types of stress, namely Physiological, psychological and lastly Sociocultural. Physiological stress refers to the body’s response to harmful events such as catching a flu bug or a coughing spell. Psychological stress focuses on the cognitive and emotional factors that would lead to the appraisal of threat (eg. Lazarus, 1966). Finally, sociocultural stress is primarily concerned with any disruption of the social unit, eg. a family or school. More often than not, we often relate stress to bad events such as divorce, death of a spouse or a natural disaster. But according to the Social readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) (Holmes & Rahe, 1967) even good events such as marriage, marital reconciliation, and the gain of a new family member are in the top 15 of the stress list. However, the degree of desirability and controllability would determine the magnitude of the stress (Perkins, 1982; Zautra & Reich, 1983) which calls for different types of coping strategies and approach to reduce and/or cope with the stress that the individual experiences. Before going into the different coping strategies and approaches that individual uses to maintain a positive mental health, let’s first explain the concept of coping. According to Lazarus and Folkman (1984), coping is defined as “the efforts we take to manage situations we have appraised as being potentially harmful or stressful.”There are 3 features from the definition: firstly, it means that certain amount of planning and effort is involved in coping. Secondly, assumption of coping cannot be always or 100% positive. Lastly, emphasizes that coping is a process that is constantly changing, over a period of time. Before moving into the processes of coping, it is important to be aware that there are some forms of relation between the “mind” (cognition, and learning) and the “brain” (biological/physiological aspect), as well as the association of both the brain and mind with regards to stress. To simplify things, in the context of this paper, stress is replaced by coping and the 2 factors which is the mind and the brain can be substituted by the “environment” and the “person”. There are 3 commonly discussed models: Reductional model, interactional model, transactionist model. Reductionist model of coping states that responses to the stressful environment would trigger the person to adopt a particular coping strategy. Next, for interactional model of coping, both the person and the environment affects coping, in a uni-directional way....
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