Enrich Your Toolbox with Science
Why Positive Psychology? (Or, how positive psychology improved me)
Being an engineer next to a trainer, and attending many many training throughout my career, I always struggled with how much bullshit there is in training.
Up to the point that I was hesitating to “officially” kick off my career as a trainer because I didn’t want to be connected with that world of bullshit that is out there.
While I loved training, I didn’t love how often models or theories were brought in that didn’t have “the legs” of any research or solid data behind them.
They were just fake models built to look good, sound good, and sell themselves well.
The deeper I dove into training, the more I struggled between loving this field of learning, and seeking how to avoid being part of the bullshit aspect of it.
I was hungry for evidence-based practices, something solid to lean into.
Positive psychology came to my rescue:
I discovered positive psychology at the end of 2009.
At the time I was sailing at Whitsunday islands in Australia (to this day one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever visited) and one of my co-travellers had the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly.
Instead of mindfully enjoying the most gorgeous place ever…. I kept my nose in the book and read it in two days.
And it changed my life forever.
At the time, I was two and a half years into my journey as a trainer, and this new toolbox came as the perfect answer to my dilemmas about how to make training more evidence-based.
I started using more and more positive psychology tools in all the workshops I was doing. From communication skills to presentation skills, and even skills for trainers: all the topics benefited from this new toolbox of mine.
Many years later, it led me to graduate with a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology and to start Happiness Academy in 2016.
Positive psychology is the science of wellbeing that focuses on what makes individuals and organisations flourish – from wellbeing and happiness, to resilience and high performance. It includes topics such as mindfulness, personal strengths, positive emotions, growth mindset, optimism, creativity, and many more.
Now… let’s return to the interesting question:
Why is positive psychology important for YOU as a trainer?
5 reasons why positive psychology is a great toolbox for trainers (regardless if wellbeing is a topic of your workshops or not)
1 - Attitude of nourishing what’s positive
The positive psychology approach focuses on positive aspects that we wanna nourish instead of negative “flaws” to fix. This attitude can be a real game changer for a trainer – especially if you are a natural “problem fixer”. By focusing on nourishing strengths, you can add an extra layer of positive energy and deeper impact to your training. In this context, deeper impact means a longer-lasting, outcome-focused learning experience for your participants.
2 - Collection of great content, models, theories - and all science-based
Positive psychology is not the first branch of psychology that focuses on the topics of human flourishing. There are older branches of psychology e.g. humanistic psychology (Maslow, May, Fromm, Frankl) that were exploring similar areas.
But the big advancement of positive psychology is its high focus on approaching these topics with the scientific method. It focuses on building a rich collection of insights, models, theories that can help us actually work on these topics in the real-world and in a practical way.
3 - Practical, powerful tools to use in training and coaching
Many of the positive psychology models and ideas are also shaped into “interventions” – aka practical tools. It ranges from exercises that can be used in training, to practical surveys, games, lists of steps to achieve certain results.
This makes it a rich (while research-backed) toolbox for coaches, as well as trainers and facilitators.
4 - Keeping the wellbeing of a trainer and the group in focus
By learning more about positive psychology, you will also discover more about how to maintain your wellbeing and keep your energy high. More importantly, you discover how to keep the group feeling good, motivated, and engaged.
And – needless to say – that leads to the ability to process the insights more deeply, as well as to long-term retention of training content.
5 - When working on motivation, higher performance or faster learning, positive psychology is a great starting point
When you dive deeper into positive psychology tools and theories, you realise that these topics make a foundation for many other important topics. These include some of the topics that are the subject of your workshops and coaching. For example, flow is the foundation of high performance and engagement, a growth mindset is the root of successful learning, and resilience is the key to challenging ourselves and living more courageously.
Explore more – and you will recognise what an abundance of valuable resources is hidden in the toolbox of positive psychology.
Moment to reflect:
💭 Which of these 5 ways would you like to leverage in your own training, facilitation or coaching practice?
💭 Which area (or topic) of positive psychology would you like to keep exploring?
Where to learn more?
Happiness Academy is a project dedicated to supporting individuals and organisations (not just trainers 😉 ) in learning science-based tools and tips for more wellbeing, resilience, growth mindset, flow & engagement, mindfulness, and living life more fully.
Learn more about positive psychology and its valuable tools at Happiness Academy (and do share it with anyone who would benefit from it – not just trainers ;))
💌 Join the Happiness Academy newsletter (weekly every Thursday)
🎙️ Have a peak at the Happiness Academy podcast (biweekly every second Wednesday – but also discover many previously published episodes)