Genuine, Independent, Holistic, and Appropriate: Four Considerations for the Optimization of Positive Interventions
Dangers of Happiness
People desire to be happy but do not always know how to do so. As a relatively new field of psychology, positive psychology offers a host of research and positive interventions aimed at increasing positive emotions to improve well-being. But these interventions must be applied with care. Valuing, pursuing, and expressing happiness have each been associated with negative outcomes, creating the need for a greater understanding of how to optimize positive interventions. This paper assists in this goal by characterizing positive interventions as a form of emotion regulation that actively seeks to upregulate positive emotions. Upon reviewing research on effective emotion regulation, this paper offers four considerations for optimizing positive interventions: authenticity, autonomy, dialectics, and context. Positive interventions should allow for authentic emotional expression. They should support the autonomy to select and modify interventions. The dialectics of well-being illustrate the need to mitigate positive emotions and include negative emotions in positive interventions. Finally, examining personal and cultural context highlights the need for context-sensitive interventions. Considering each of these aspects while implementing positive psychology will help the field further its mission of enabling others to flourish.