Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board. Letters to the Editor reflect the view of a member of the campus community and are submitted to the publication for approval.
To the Editor,
Happiness and a sense of well-being are something many seek in their lives. Positive psychology has captured many people with its promise of prolonged well-being and solutions to feelings of uncertainty and instability. But can having a positive outlook really promote health and human flourishing?
For many out there, it can be hard to focus on their own well-being, especially when dealing with a bombardment of daily stressors. Today, where mass media and constant exposure to news events cause feelings of instability in our country and personal lives, how important can it really be to have a positive outlook on life?
As it turns out, incorporating positive psychology in your life has several benefits to not only you, but the people around you. Positive psychology, according to the American Psychology Association, has benefitted areas such as education, clinical and counseling practices, relationships, workplace and organizational cultures, as well as communities and societies.
Incorporating positive methods into daily life has also been shown to improve the immune system, blood pressure and quality of life. Simply by implementing a new, positive way of approaching issues in a multitude of situations, happiness and overall well-being of individuals increase.
This means that all we have to do to improve our daily lives is to become happy — but how do you become happy?
According to an article published by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, happiness can be seen as an internal reward for behaving in ways that promote survival or that an adaptive problem has been solved. There are several ways in which an individual can achieve a sense of happiness.
Volunteering can bridge the way for people to feel more satisfied in their lives while improving their communities.
Marijke Schotanus-Dijkstra explains different methods such as savoring, meditating, expressing gratitude and acts of kindness. Acts of kindness, or altruism, are one of the most beneficial ways to achieve happiness, as well as incorporate positive psychology into your life. In Oliver Curry’s article on helping others, he explains that when we do acts of kindness toward others, we in turn benefit ourselves.
So, to improve the quality of your life and to improve your local community, why not volunteer?
Volunteering allows for you to give back to your community and help those in need while also benefiting your overall happiness. There are several nonprofit organizations that are looking for volunteers — a few examples located in Fort Collins include United Way of Larimer County, Wildlands Restoration Volunteers and FoCo Cafe.
These programs aim to help specific areas of our community — be it feeding homeless people in need, restoring damaged wildlife or helping youth succeed in school. There is something out there for everyone, and the options for volunteering don’t stop with just these organizations.
People are constantly trying to find a way to improve their overall well-being and health. With the huge movement toward positive psychology methods, not only will individuals be impacted, but their communities will be as well. Volunteering can bridge the way for people to feel more satisfied in their lives while improving their communities.
Be a part of the positive movement, and better your life by bettering others.
CSU senior psychology student
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