Mental Illness versus Nurturing Talent and Improving Normal Life

If you’ve only ever thought Psychology was an entertaining read in women’s magazines, and if there’s Positive Psychology is there Negative Psychology, and can books on psychology really help you when you’re in distress? Then read on dear Reader.

Positive Psychology is a term that’s in use a lot today.  It’s a bit related to self-help medicine.  In the same way we can help ourselves to get well by knowing more about our bodies and its systems, so we can use our mind as a force for wellness by using it in particular ways.

Much of the thinking behind Positive Psychology has come from Eastern traditions, one example is the new ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ practice, which is not religious, but inspired by Buddhist meditation.

Positive Psychology is a new area, it came into being as recently as 1998 and strives to shift psychology from looking at mental illness to nurturing talent and improving normal life.  Positive Psychology can be split into 3 areas: Pleasant Life, Good Life, Meaningful Life.

Who doesn’t want that?  No one less so than Max, my main character in Running Away. (1)  When writing the novel, I sensed almost a pull to the traditional curative psychology: You’re ill, which implies the state of mind you’re in is negative and needs removing.

I wrestled with sending Max to a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, a therapeutic counsellor and even a faith healer.  But instead, I let him walk through his life just as it was.  I was converted to a new way of seeing psychology and that was how a positive approach to what besets us would in an awkward, prickly, uncomfortable way lead us on the path to the pleasant, good and meaningful life.

I created a website as a world in which to place my novel, because the novel was the lynchpin for my thinking that there was no other way than Positive Psychology, and that accepting what happens to us in life and moving through it instead of trying to get rid of it, actually enables us to change in the end.

I gave Max a good emotional battering in the novel, and he came through by accepting it, even when it didn’t seem real.  What he was left with was more of a sense of himself to go forward with.

Beier, A. (2009) Running Away,