Positive psychology is based on the positive image of humans, and the view that all people are good by nature. The goal of this form of therapy is to help people develop these inborn capabilities in everyday living. In addition, positive psychology aims to understand and promote the human strengths that help individuals, couples and communities to thrive. Whereas most early forms of psychology placed focus on understanding the problems and suffering, positive psychology instead looks at the positive side of life and what makes it worth living. It was proposed that “happiness” could be composed of three more scientifically manageable components: positive emotion, engagement, and meaning. Exercises used within positive psychology are aimed at enhancing these components.
Unfortunately, the nature of humans is to be biased toward remembering, attending to, and expecting the negative; people with depression fall into a state where this natural tendency is worsened. They are, therefore, more likely to remember the most negative aspects of their lives. Exercises from positive psychotherapy aim to shift the person away from negative and catastrophic aspects of their life, to focusing on positive and hopeful aspects. The exercises aim to achieve this through re-educating memory, attention and expectations. Using exercises from positive psychology can help counteract the depressive bias toward being stuck on all the things that have gone wrong. It then becomes more likely to end the day with a positive memory of the day’s events and achievements, rather than the difficulties and problems experienced.