The positive effects of staying positive

Erin Elfeldt

Maintaining a positive attitude may be a healthy mantra but is it also healthful physically? Recent research in psychology says the answer is yes, and shows that the level of a person’s overall happiness correlates both with a greater quality of life and an increase in quantity of life.

Thomas Pruzinsky, a Quinnipiac psychology professor, is currently teaching about this subject in his health psychology and positive psychology courses.

He is fascinated by the subject and its ability to improve peoples’ lives.

“There is no question that with some training and consistent practice we all can learn to focus our attention so that we cultivate more positive states of mind and experience positive emotions more frequently and more intensely,” Pruzinsky said.

So what exactly is positive psychology? The 2005 study entitled, “Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions,” positive psychology is “an umbrella term for the study of positive emotions, positive character traits, and enabling institutions.”

According to the book it is about people react to life and its relation to personal character. To understand the level at which mental state affects well-being, Pruzinsky encourages a few minutes of reflection, on a daily basis.

“Really pay careful attention to all those things which we may take for granted, but when we think about them, fill us with a feeling of deep gratitude,” Pruzinsky said. “See what this does to your state of mind.”

When a person is in a hopeful mindset they tend to be more willing to learn and are more open to change, according to Pruzinsky. Such a personality encourages behaviors which provide one with more opportunities, experiences, and knowledge. The greater knowledge a person has, the more he or she can do for him or herself.