Negative Psychology and Positive Psychology are essential concepts that tend to influence the daily lives of humans. The field of positive psychology is relatively new compared to negative psychology, but its growth has been quite rapid. Negative psychology focuses on human shortcomings, sins, and challenges, with little emphasis being put on their abilities, virtues, aspirations, and intellectual abilities. Positive psychology centers on people’s strengths and other essential aspects that make life interesting and valuable. Religion is one of the major forces affecting the way people react to diverse experiences. In this regard, Christianity has emerged as one of the most important determinants of psychological concepts. Positive psychology and biblical theology have diverse centers of intersection. Understanding the traits of these two fields is essential as it highlights the role of Christianity in the development of the concepts.
It is a scientific discipline focusing on how humans experience the world negatively. In this regard, people tend to embrace bad feelings or emotions and other adverse factors surrounding their life. Concepts included in this scientific field focus too much on stress, sleep deprivation, hunger, and diseases, which cause undesirable thoughts and may lead to depression. Through the ideas and theoretical frameworks within the discipline, it is possible to study negative emotions leading people to depression. There is further investigation on how a sequence or “downward spiral” of negative emotions results in human depression due to different experiences in their everyday experiences (Kim et al., 2012). In most cases, negative psychology concentrates on various deficiencies and disorders affecting individuals and how they can be addressed or prevented. The subfield tends to focus on the undesirable aspects influencing peoples’ emotions, behaviors, and attitudes.
Positive psychology is a sub-field of psychology centering on human strengths and the things making life worth living. Martin Seligman introduced the concept of positive psychology in 1998. The idea has continued to gain much attention from scholars and interested stakeholders (Kim et al., 2012). The discipline utilizes scientific processes to investigate and analyze the aspects making life worth living, with a particular focus on the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of people (Kim et al., 2012). Through this approach, the subfield enhances the positive aspects of life rather than repairing the negative ones. This is illustrated by the concentration on positive factors such as happiness, joy, compassion, gratitude, resilience, self-esteem, and hope, among many others. It also entails the integration of positive principles within institutions and organizations (Kim et al., 2012). One of the aspects is that humans must change their perspectives and focus on the elements maximizing happiness potential in various experiences. Based on positive psychology, individuals need to embrace strong relationships and character strengths to counter any negative setbacks in their lives.
Role of Christianity in Psychology
Over the past two decades, an increase in research and publications related to positive psychology, especially from stakeholders in various disciplines, including business, medicine, law, gaming, neuroscience, education, and public policy. In recent years, there has been growing interest in integrating positive and transformative psychology within Christianity. Kern and Benecchi (2019) acknowledge that positive psychology and Christian theology have a mutual relationship that aims to enhance the common good of people. Christians are guided by the knowledge that the scriptural assurance, whether good or bad, is planned by God and will eventually lead to positive outcomes in human life. Positive psychologists have embraced the concept that people should only focus on the aspects that will result in positive experiences in their lives (Kern & Benecchi, 2019). Christianity teaches that human beings should seek to survive the trials and evils of the world and look forward to hoping and promises what is to come in their lives. This is the aspect embraced by positive psychology as human beings are encouraged to overlook negative emotions by concentrating on positivity in their everyday lives. As a result, Christianity has played a role in the development of positive psychology concepts in people.
There are key differences between negative psychology and positive psychology, which are based on the focus of each discipline. Negative psychology centers on human undesirable experiences, such as stress, sleep deprivation, and bad emotions. On the other hand, positive psychology centers on positive traits of human life, such as happiness, joy, courage, self-esteem, gratitude, faith, and hope. Over the years, Christianity has emerged as a major force in determining aspects of positive and transformational psychology. It is an essential aspect that can impact human behaviors in several ways. On a personal note, the relation between the two concepts has illustrated the need to embrace positivity in different life situations and experiences. For a Christian, embracing positive psychology is an important part of helping me overcome various temptations, evils, and challenges that I may experience. More so, I have learned the need to embrace positivity to deal with emotions that may lead to stress or depression. I want to encourage other people to believe that their life is about to change for the better and realize that every day is a miracle that brings happiness and joy.
Kern, P. L., & Benecchi, S. D. (2019). Intersections of positive psychology and christianity. Web.
Kim, J. H., Keck, P., Miller, D., & Gonzalez, R. (2012). Introduction to positive psychology: Overview and controversies. Journal of Asia Pacific Counseling, 2(1), 45-60.