Now I am a big fan of positive psychology and thus a little biased.
What are positive emotions?
Positive emotions like joy, interest, amusement, love, contentment, awe, gratitude do not functions as negative or neutral emotions. Barbara Frederickson developed the “broaden and build theory” to contrast how the brain functions when dealing with positive emotions. Our response to positive emotion because of a sense of safety is to open up and broaden our spectrum from one side and start being constructive by building options, ideas, solutions and pathways from the other. Her research results shows the following cognitive abilities: broader attention, enhanced working memory, increased openness to information and enhanced verbal fluency. Barbara Frederickson also discovered that positive emotions undo the physiological effects of negative emotions.
What is engagement?
The best explanation on achieving engagement is being delivered by the concept of Flow by Csikszenmihalyi. Flow he explains is a state reached when the difficulty of the task is matched by the competence level of the individual. The individual is able to give the best of what he’s got, is totally engaged in the activity for it’s own sake. People report a loss of sense of time, being nurtured, have energy and vitality, have the necessary resilience to overcome challenges and stick with the task to completion.
Engagement is also facilitated when you are performing activities that are intrinsically motivating to you i.e. aligned with your interests, passions and competencies.
What is relationship?
Relationship is an interaction between people. The nature of the ties, the quality of the bonding determines the outcome of the relationship. Some relationships are complementary and synergistic and others are destructive or toxic.
Relationship and bonding enable us when successful to satisfy our need for relatedness and belonging. Relationships are important not only for our sanity and equilibrium but to grow and evolve. We need confrontation, we need interactions, exchange and communication on intellectual, affective, physical and spiritual levels to be able to cope and adapt socially as well as to collaborate, perform and contribute economically.
What is meaning?
Meaning is both in terms of sense making (rational) and meaning making (significance).
Our brains are pattern recognizing, meaning making machines. Much if not all of science and the humanities is devoted to unravel the relationships between elements, the search for truth and meaning.
A lot of people cannot leap into action unless they understand the meaning and purpose of their deeds. Meaning leads to understanding that leads to behavior that leads to outcomes.
What is achievement?
Accomplishment is the end result of positive psychology. If we are studying how we operate when we are at our best, if we study the highest achievers in any field; we will invariably meet outstanding
But to me our biggest achievement is our becoming. What we end up being because we chose the path of positive psychology. If we adopt a developmental viewpoint this path leads to vertical growth on the cognitive, socio-emotional, spiritual and psycho-sexual lines of development. The real achievement is knowing what’s good for us and lead a life of awareness to help us thrive, flourish, self actualize and contribute.