Positive psychology enhances your communications with others

Psychology studies and applies the principles of thought, along with emotional processes and human behavior. There are many approaches to the application of practical psychology. The basic principles of psychology may be used to effect a certain outcome in your everyday interactions with people. Here we’ll take a look at the benefits of positive psychology versus negative psychology. You’ll see how you can use the premises of positive psychology to bring better results in ordinary communication, from office situations to dealing with kids.

While negative psychology involves such strategies as boot camp and ‘tough love’, positive psychology emphasizes the strengths and affirmative points to bring a person to an emotionally receptive state.

For example, let’s say you’re working with your child on a homework assignment. The assignment is a grade school art project. The child brings the completed project for your perusal and comment. You know Jimmy has worked hard and is proud of his work. He’s used color nicely but you also notice that his rendering of a horse has no proportion. Do you respond with, “Is this a dog?” This response is, indirectly, negative psychology.

You are focusing on flaws rather than strengths. The positive approach would entail a response such as, “Wow! I love the colors. How’d you do that?” Let Jimmy tell you all about how he decided on this color and that. He’ll feel pleased that his efforts at expressing himself are appreciated. Then go on to the horse. “Hey, this guy’s cute.” Let him tell you about it. If he’s in first grade, let it go. On the other hand, if he’s really into horses, try this: “You know what? There’s this cool book I saw on drawing horses. You’re so into this, I bet you’d have fun with it.” Kids need praise and reinforcement.

So how about dealing with that difficult woman at work? You feel that she doesn’t like you one bit and her actions and remarks back up that assumption. She works for you. She comes with a report that you must approve. Looking it over, you see that the organization is good, but it lacks specifics and detail.

Negative psychology allows you to verbally put her down, just to show her who’s boss. That gets you nowhere and only makes the situation worse. Instead, you have the option of letting her know that her grasp of organizational concepts is good. Spend a few minutes letting her know you consider this a valuable asset to the team. This sets her in a receptive mode. Then you can get to the specifics and detail that’s missing. Use positive psychology thus: “This is great, but I need greater detail on A and B – and could you research widgets and yidgits specifically? My manager insisted on this coverage.”

You can see that positive psychology brings results that are generally superior to a negative approach. Try not to punish your contacts. Support them. You’ll see improved results.