Two years have passed since the beginning of the pandemic due to the Covid-19 virus. With over 5 million deaths, now we can see the clear negative signs left in every social context. Still, perhaps, the pandemic has brought out even more: all human, social, economic difficulties and the crisis of values and faith that in some way, in the last twenty-thirty years, we were able to face, contain, and even manage.
The difficulties of the post-pandemic
The pandemic certainly has exasperated situations in balance. It has pushed different People, States, Races, and Religions towards undeclared, but notes dangerous, conflicts. Companies, for example, have found themselves in difficulty, not only to be forced to carry out, where possible, the work of their employees remotely, or smart-working, with no written and tested rules before and with results to be verified. They also have suffered and still are suffering the repercussions of modifying, and sometimes breaking, the supply chain, an evidence plain for all to see. On the other hand, distance work, for example, has had a significant impact on people’s mental health. According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, many people have experienced stress and pressure from working at home in the last two years, claiming to have thought at least once about suicide.
What impact on young people?
All this has an essential impact on the training and education of young people because we are at a time when it is perfectly understood that in the world of work, but not only, nothing will be as before. It is not by chance that the prominent consultants talk about the need for a “new normal” or “future of work” without knowing how or where to direct their customers.
The possibilities of positive psychology
Here then that positive psychology, a term coined by Abraham Maslow, fits well and resumes strength. Indeed it is substantiated, by the difficulty of the moment, presentino itself not as a panacea for all diseases, but as an important path, scientifically proven and universally recognized, supporting change, modifying business practices and management cultures consolidated and drastically questioned by the pandemic.
The people, this is the central theme, are those who – if well informed and trained in “positivity”, spiritual and material well-being, integration of different factors, such as business and the values of faith, with a vision that gives a glimpse of a desirable change – can lead companies, organizations, and structures to recovery from post-Covid. According to Martin Seligman, the pioneer in the diffusion of positive psychology, former president of the American Association of Psychologists (APA), «To steer psychology away from darkness and towards the light» is necessary. In other words, positive psychology can go further and also affect the sphere of economy and work.
The Positive Organizational Psychology
Positive Organizational Psychology was born precisely to give students, who find themselves having to decide about their future life, the scientific tools to react, build, and modify the work realities that will soon call them to operate. In this regard, it is interesting to note that in recent times Seligman, working with Big data on the texts of Social media, has also come to elaborate a precise “resume of positivity” as a helpful tool for adapting courses to the new needs that have emerged in this challenging period.
An initiative in this regard was launched by the American Biola University, in La Mirada, California, with a master’s degree in Positive Organizational Psychology, the first course of higher-level academic studies. This master meets, with its articulate and complete program, the multiple needs that young people feel in facing a “liquid”, uncertain, and more than ever competitive reality. A reality where, for the first time, as in the last post-war period, the past and history cannot be the compass to guide us towards a future of new normality.
Today, positive psychology within organized structures is a more relevant tool than ever. The teaching of this scientific discipline aims to enhance the virtues of people and their ability to deal with new situations. It will put young graduates in the conditions to be active protagonists of a new phase of innovative human development, inclusive and positive in the system of human relations and the organization of the workplace.
*Laura Dryjanska, Ph.D., Director of the Master Program in Positive Organizational Psychology, Associate Professor of Psychology, Biola University, California (USA)