Positive Psychology and Mental Health Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1683 Words
Date:  2022-10-19

There exists a gap in understanding the terms positive psychology and mental health. Many scholars generalize the two terms without defining their relationship in how they impact each other. Therefore, defining the concepts above would inform the first step in analyzing the effect each has on the other. Medics construe mental health as the absence of any illness in mind. However, psychologists define positive psychology from the scientific standpoint in which human flourish and thrive to the extent of attaining optimal functioning while showcasing their strengths and desirable virtues. Critically, there is a correlation between positive psychology and mental health. Positive psychology alleviates mental health issues to the extent that one is healed through the latter.

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There exists rich knowledge in the field of positive psychology and mental health as many scholars try to examine the relationship shared by the two concepts and their contribution towards each other. Martin Seligman asserts that the treatment of mental diseases is derived from the concept of positive psychology (Seligman, 2010). The author explains the effectiveness of positive psychology in curing mental complications by revisiting the turn of events of the WW II in which people suffered massive mental damages. According to Seligman positive psychology thrives on three clear missions which include giving therapy towards alleviating mental illness, ensuring productivity and life fulfillment to the affected while nurturing their talents. The astute psychologist prescribes a new method of raising children and teaching them with the desiring behavior. He points out the inconsistency of the traditional notion that aimed at identifying annoying tendencies but instead roots for appreciating positive behavior as a means of developing a healthy mindset in making young children become responsible citizens.

Vasquez et al. (2009), construes the significance of positive psychology on mental health from its contribution perspective. According to the article, "Psychological Well-being and Health. The contribution of Positive Psychology", most human problems begin with the failure by the health providers to ascertain and define critically such conditions. However, positive psychology helps in defining human well-being to the extent of incorporating its traits of strengths and positive emotions. The study focuses on alleviating the pain of the patient suffering the effects of mental illness not necessarily by identifying the cause but also championing real abilities in them.

Woolston (2006) looks at positive psychology as the most effective therapy of curing mental health problems. He highlights examples of mental health conditions which include: phobia, anxiety, obsessions, depression and delusions and terms such approach to treating the disease infective despite its frequent use by most caregivers. The great psychological scholar considers the new approach in which positive psychology perform a complementary role in replacing the traditional therapy. According to the author, treating mental illness should start by first acknowledging the personal virtues that people possess as result of natural endowment. Woolston interprets personal traits and attributes as inherent and inseparable from humans just like human rights. Therefore, people should utilize positive virtues such as positive attitude in overcoming anxiety and related mental health disorders.

Slade in his article, 'Mental Illness and well-being: The Central Importance of Positive Psychology and Recovery Approaches," offers a comparative approach to discussing the significance of positive psychology in improving mental health. The article highlights positive psychology as an emerging therapy which is evidence-based on the treatment of mental health conditions. It suggests that researchers and health providers must strive to approach health conditions related to the mind from the evidence-based approach in which patients get personalized attention - the author advocates for a social activism style in the treatment of mental health problems as opposed to the traditional therapy in which symptoms informed the type of intervention received (Slade, 2010). Therefore, issues of stigmatization and associated factors should not feature in the therapeutic intervention while dealing with mental health patients. The article also strives to define and draw a distinction between mental illness and health in which the author finds that they are related to a greater extent, and their improvement depends entirely on the application of vital aspects of positive psychology.

Mental health cuts across the two disciplines of medicine and psychology and should be interpreted from the angle of the two disciplines. While the majority of mental health complications results from psychological imbalance, some occur due to other causes such as accidental traumas among others. However, positive psychology can improve mental health due to its optimism nature. The numerous mental disorders which include but not limited to anxiety, depression and among others can be cured through positive psychology aspects like hope (Morton, 2018). An individual that is hopeful of better prospects is less likely to develop anxiety over unforeseen circumstances and in the end, achieves healthy mental status. However, someone that is less hopeful tends to develop more significant amount of anxiety which can escalate to mental severe health complications like depression. Depression informs the pick of mental disorder which in most instances remains irreversible. Therefore, the utilization of positive psychological traits of hope can significantly improve mental health.

The cure for mental health diseases continues to increase despite the struggles that existed previously with many care providers. The advent of the concept of positive psychology opened newer insights into the treatment of mental disorders. Previously doctors tried managing patients suffering from mental illnesses with conventional medicine despite insignificant outcomes. However, psychiatrists found the use of positive psychology useful as it involved less application of conventional medicine but more practical approach. Psychiatrist discovered that every human being is capable of developing certain emotions both positive and negative depending on different circumstances (Shapira & Mongrain, 2010). The therapists then focused on providing pleasant experiences to the patients to draw their attention into issues that make them happier and in the long run alleviating the pain caused to them by mental disorders like sad feelings. Therefore, positive psychology can be used to treat mental health conditions as showcased herein and in the long run improving it all together.

Traditionally, mental illnesses were treated by identifying the exact cause and type of the condition individually. However, the contemporary intervention developed through the concept of positive psychology advocates for focusing on wholesomeness. It deviates from the traditional therapeutic intervention but rather encourages the patient into developing a positive mindset in construing issues. Positive psychology teaches strengths and virtues for overcoming life difficulties by reaming optimistic of better outcomes despite the complex and precarious conditions that one may face. Rationally, every medical intervention should involve the patient and understood by them. Positive psychology remains patient-centered and aims at offering an inclusive approach to providing treatment (Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009). It also provides the caregiver with an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention given its practical nature.

Most studies support the use of positive psychology in the improvement of mental health despite their failure to provide the exact means of achieving the same distinctively. It remains prudent that patients are suffering symptoms of mental illness taken through the comprehensive positive treatment care. While life challenges provide unpleasant experiences to the extent that essential values attached to self-worth get lost, some personal achievements and contributions can be used to alleviate negativity. A therapist practicing the use of positive psychology therapy should at least subject clients into highlighting and noting down certain instances of achievement in their lives (Slade, 2010). It would be discovered that continued realization by the patients that they indeed have achieved certain positive things in their lives make them healthy in their mind. Happiness can be learned despite its involuntary nature. Ideally, happiness is achieved through positive occurrences or achievements, and the absence of the latter only realizes sadness. However, psychologists can instill desirable attributes in clients that make them optimistic despite uncertainties that characterize human life.

Even though scholars have labored in research and various studies in the relatively younger field of positive psychology, a lot of scientific and psychological research is still required to make it authentic and credible in improving mental health - apparently, positive psychology banks on happiness as its critical therapy aspect in the treatment of mental health. However, it does not offer a clear and succinct definition of happiness which makes it difficult for people to fully understand how by merely becoming happy can help one deal with mental problems. Definitively, happiness can be described as the act of developing short-term feelings of joy and pleasurable emotions (Vazquez et, 2009). Positive psychology therapy does not offer a reprieve for patients that experience repeated sadness feelings despite the short relief that comes with happiness attitude.

More studies are required to initiate means of dealings with long-term challenges of mental illnesses especially if their causes are attached to other factors other than psychological imbalance. For instance, the researches construe mental illness from a narrow perspective that does not acknowledge severe causes like terminal health conditions. People suffering life-threatening diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and high blood pressure among other complicated conditions can develop mental illness as a secondary health problem. The treatment of secondary complication cannot be done effectively without addressing the primary cause like in the cases above (Woolston, 2006). Therefore, researchers should focus on discovering the best therapy in dealing with mental illness through positive psychology while acknowledging the severity of each case and complication without generalizing either.


In conclusion, positive psychology improves mental health through its traits perspective. Scholars contend that the simple act of happiness can potentially alleviate pain and suffering attached to mental illness symptoms like anxiety, depression and even obsession. Significantly, the relevant younger field of positive psychology continues to impact positively mental health treatment through its clear missions that include but not limited to identifying mental health symptoms while nurturing personal virtues and attributes of happiness. However, more research is still needed in making positive psychology credible and authentic in improving mental health. For instance, studies should shift from focusing on the strength and virtue aspect of the concept of positive psychology to fundamental causes of mental health.


Morton, D., P., (2018). Combing Lifestyle Medicine and Positive Psychology to Improve Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827618766482Seligman. M....

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Positive Psychology and Mental Health Essay Example. (2022, Oct 19). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/positive-psychology-and-mental-health-essay-example

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