THE BLOG
10/01/2014 11:47 am ET Updated Dec 01, 2014

Positive Psychology With Sophia Silva

What you put into your life is what you will get out of it.

This is one of the most important lessons I have learned in my own sobriety, and this thought process has helped shape me into who I am today. So when I hear that there are other people out there who are promoting similar lifestyles, I am immediately drawn to them. That's exactly what happened when I met Sophia Silva, a psychologist specializing in positivity that I got the opportunity to speak with in a recent interview.

I know you might be wondering what positive psychology is. According to Sophia, "Positive psychology is the study of what makes life worth living." She went on to explain a littler further, saying that, "Positive psychologists work to compliment traditional psychology, but we focus on trying to find out what's right with you and what makes you feel like you have a meaningful life."

We talked for a while, especially about how traditional psychology often focuses on the negatives like depression, neurosis, stress, anxiety, etc. We both know and agree that talking about these issues and working through them are important, but placing focus on the positive things in life can be just as important.

"For example, there are people who are always negative and there are people who are always positive. Good things always seem to happen to positive people, primarily because they are grateful for the good things that happen to them and they don't dwell on the bad things that happen to them. When they do encounter a problem, they see it with a different lens that permits them to turn it into an opportunity," she said.

"For example, we all know Thomas Edison as the person who invented the light bulb, but what we don't know is the adversity he had to overcome. On a number of occasions he was able to turn failure into success, becoming one of America's leading businessmen," Sophia explains. "His mother was mentally ill, his father was unemployed, and he had to sell newspapers and fruits to help his destitute family. Besides all this he had hearing difficulties in both ears, but Edison decided he needed to take control of his future regardless, and he overcame all of these obstacles because of his ability to turn seemingly negative situations into opportunities," Sophia said.

Positive psychology might seem unconventional because it's not always spoken of, but incorporating it into your everyday life can be incredibly beneficial. For example, every morning, I write a gratitude list of things I am grateful for. It helps keep me centered and start my day off on a positive note.

There are a number of different techniques you can do to practice positive psychology in your home, and according to Sophia, some of those things can include journaling, getting outdoors and being active, and even smiling at strangers throughout the day. Again, what you put into life is what you will get out of it.

I think the most interesting revelation I had about positive psychology and talking with Sophia came from understanding how much this form of therapy can be beneficial in addiction recovery. If you focus on the positive, you will get the positive -- and that's what I did and continue to do. When I focused on the negative (like when my mug shot was all over the news and Internet), I would only sit back and dwell on how awful my life was, and I would continue to drink as a result. Today, I challenge myself to make my mind stronger by being positive and doing things I love (like exercising or surfing) and it keeps me focused on my recovery.

No matter who you are and what your situation might be, there are always things you can be grateful for. I could have been dead a long time ago, but now I see every day as a blessing. That comes in part from my focus on positive psychology.

Both Sophia from her knowledge and I for my personal experiences agree that positive psychology and practicing it is a great way to supplement an already existent addiction treatment plan. If you are struggling from addiction, getting professional care is critical, but incorporating positive psychology into that care can be an added bonus!

If you want to learn more about positive psychology, you can check out her website Posipple.com.