What Is Positive Psychology?
Positive Psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing and an applied approach to optimal functioning. It has also been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive.
History and Founding
The field was established in 1998 by psychologist Martin Seligman. He aimed to shift focus from pathology to positive aspects of life, such as courage, perseverance, and other virtues that contribute to a fulfilling life.
Core Concepts Explored
Positive Psychology delves into concepts like happiness, flow, mindfulness, and resilience. It investigates what makes life most worth living, moving beyond treating mental illness to fostering mental wellness.
PERMA Model Explained
Seligman's PERMA model outlines five pillars of well-being: Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. These elements are proposed to help people reach a life of fulfillment, happiness, and meaning.
Surprising Research Findings
Research suggests that genetics and circumstances don't fully determine well-being. Up to 40% of happiness is influenced by our daily activities and the intentional choices we make, leaving significant room for personal control over our own happiness.
Positive interventions are deliberate actions designed to promote positive feelings, behaviors, or thoughts. Examples include practicing gratitude, performing acts of kindness, or engaging in activities that induce flow.
Challenges and Critiques
Positive Psychology faces criticism for possibly oversimplifying the complexities of human emotions and for its focus on individual well-being potentially overshadowing social and structural factors that contribute to psychological states.