Genuine, Independent, Holistic, and Appropriate: Four Considerations for the Optimization of Positive Interventions

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



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.


Positive Psychology, Dangers of Happiness, Emotion Regulation, Authenticity, Autonomy, Dialectics, Context


Positive Emotions, Well-being/Flourishing


Literature Review



Date Posted: 29 January 2018