Positive Education Applications

Recently, a positive psychology plan was implemented in the U.S. military to address the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other mental disorders among soldiers. The military asked psychologists to devise some sort of way not simply to treat the problem but to prevent future soldiers from becoming vulnerable to these mental disorders. Statistically, there is a normal distribution of reactions to combat in the military: the left side includes those who have trouble and end up suffering from a mental disorder, the middle, those who are resilient and return to normal functioning afterwards, and the right are those who bounce back to an even higher level of functioning and experience growth through adversity. The goal of the plan is to have a negatively skewed distribution that shifts most soldiers to the right side of this distribution. The model is designed to improve one's spiritual, emotional, social, and family fitness. If the plan is successful within the military, it could possibly revolutionize current U.S. civilian health care and be a new model for the education system. Within health care, it will emphasize prevention, rather than solely treatment; additionally, within schools, it will encourage psychological fitness similar to the plan used for the military.

Moreover, "the emphasis on positive psychology interventions in education increases engagement, creates more curious students, and helps develop and overall love of learning.

"Positive education benefits the teacher, too. It is easier to engage with students and persist in the work they need to do master their academic material (Fisher, 2015). It creates a school culture that is caring, trusting, and it prevents problem behavior. In relation to achievement goals, expectancy beliefs, and value it is found that task goals associated positively with optimism resulted in a highly motivated student (Fadlelmula, 2010). Research has shown that motivation may be consistent and long-term if it is always paired with positive psychology interventions."

Additionally, the effects of positive learning were examined in the context of medical school and first-year physicians. Often, medical students and young physicians get exhausted and burnt out from the stressful conditions they operate under. Medical students at Karolinska Institutet were evaluated in their final year of school and again in their first year as a physician. After controlling for baseline exhaustion, a positive learning climate in the clinic that the students were working in was found to have a negative correlation with exhaustion. In this case, positive learning was found to predict the exhaustion of students and new doctors. Although only a correlation, positive learning environments could benefit the well-being of people with various other careers and job conditions.