Keeping it positive in the workplace

The third and most powerful and lasting way to be happy is meaning, which consists of making the world a better place.

The application of Positive Psychology is not limited to families, individuals, and schools, as discussed earlier in this Perspectives series, but also includes our workplaces. Positive Psychology is the movement that focuses on what helps us be better, happier, productive, and fulfilled. Historically, psychology has focused on what isn’t going well instead of looking at and promoting the things that we do well. It’s a focus on health instead of illness. It’s the idea of helping people flourish in their lives, instead of merely avoiding miserable experiences. Research into happiness has divided it into three separate sections. The first is pleasure or fun. The second is flow, or engagement in what you are doing (ever lost track of time while working on a project- that’s flow). The third and most powerful and lasting way to be happy is meaning, which consists of making the world a better place.

Most of us spend a large portion of our lives in a workplace- likely as many waking hours at work as at home with the exception of weekends or days off. What if going to our job contributed to our sense of well-being and we looked forward to it? If you are like me, you might not have carte blanche to pursue pleasure while at work, however, we do have control over which aspects of it we focus our attention. The Positive Psychology website ( contains many questionnaires and resources, including the Brief Strengths Questionnaire. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology, tells a story of one of his students who hated her job as a bagger in a grocery store. However, one of her areas of strength was social interactions, and so she focused on making her interaction with customers the highlight of both their days which contributed to a greater degree of meaning and engagement in her work. When I took the Brief Strengths Questionnaire, one of my areas of strength was “love of learning”, so in my job I could savour the opportunities for research or professional development, or helping young people research skill-building.

Positive Psychology identifies that we can cultivate a good life by identifying our signature strengths and then re-crafting our work experiences (as much as we are able- every job contains responsibilities that are a chore or drudgery- but amplifying the positive aspects can help us enjoy the overall experience to a greater degree). If you are comparing your lackluster day-to-day with the glamour of lives on television, the good news is that Positive Psychology research has found that pleasure and fun is fleeting without long-term gain. But, helping others and doing good deeds has a lasting impact on our happiness. Life satisfaction is connected understanding your individual strengths, and using them in the service of something greater than you as an individual.


Marie Amos, MA, RCC, is a Mental Health Therapist with Child and Youth Mental Health of MCFD, Chilliwack.

Just Posted

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

CRA scam the email edition targeted the Mounties in Chilliwack

Fraudsters claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency but the CRA never operates this way

COLUMN: Student voices give me hope for the future

Student Caleb Pennington wanted to know why something was taken off the agenda. So he asked.

Chilliwack newcomers celebrate multicultural community

Local Immigration Partnership helping new Canadians and refugees settle into new life

VIDEO: Rubik’s Rumble a hit at Chilliwack middle school

Students fill gymnasium for first annual tournament focusing on popular puzzle toy

VIDEO: Gun enthusiasts fill Chilliwack venue for antique show

Collectors, proud owners and vendors took part in the event that approaches half a century in age

Inspections, training needed to prevent repeat of Fernie ammonia leak across B.C.

Ammonia is inherently dangerous and should be not used in skating and curling rinks, says one expert

Fraser Valley Thunderbirds take game one

Quarter final BC Hockey Major Midget League series underway

RCMP move to arrest pipeline protesters at entrance to Trans Mountain work site

28 demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. Saturday

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Most Read