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Miriam Akhtar, MAPP


Positive Psychology: Evidence-based Self-help for Depression

Positive psychology is known as the science of well-being with a mission to increase the tonnage of happiness on the planet but what does it have to offer the leading threat to mental health – depression? This talk will explore how positive psychology interventions – that is treatment methods or intentional activities aimed at cultivating positive feelings, positive behaviors, or positive cognitions (Sin & Lyubomirsky, 2009) can be used to recover as well as raise well-being. Positive psychology interventions differ from talking therapies by focusing on developing well-being rather than exploring pain and difficulty. This approach of building on positives (the sunny side of life) has also been found to reduce negatives (the shadow side). Sin & Lyubomirsky’s 2009 meta-analysis showed that positive interventions are efficacious both in enhancing happiness & well-being and alleviating depression. Low positivity is one of the symptoms of depression. I will describe how positive psychology interventions such as savouring, gratitude, using your strengths and practising optimistic thinking build positivity and resilience, showing how positive psychology can be used as evidence-based self-help for mild-to-moderate cases of depression.