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What Is Positive Psychology?

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Positive psychology is among the newest areas of psychology to come into existence. This particular field of psychology is focused on ways to assist human beings to flourish and live healthy, happy lives. Although other areas of psychology focus on the abnormal and dysfunctional behavior positive psychology focuses on helping people live happier lives.

Positive psychology was developed to “complement and enhance the problem-focused psychology that’s been prevalent for decades,” explained the late Christopher Peterson, author of “A Introduction to Positive Psychology” and professor at the University of Michigan, in an article from 2008 published in Psychology Today.

“Positive psychology is…a demand for psychological science and practices to be equally focused on strength as weakness; equally interested in creating the most desirable things in life as they are in fixing the weakest; and as focused on creating lives for ordinary people satisfying as the healing process,” Peterson wrote.

According to some of the most respected experts on the subject, Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Positive psychology will aid in achieving “scientific understanding and efficient interventions that promote thriving families, individuals and in communities.”

To understand the area of psychology that’s positive, it’s important to begin by learning more about its main theories, theories, applications, as well as the history.


Positive psychology is frequently called to have three levels:

Subjective level: is focused on the feelings of well-being, happiness, and optimism and how these emotions change your life
Individual level: a mix of emotions in the subjective level as well as virtues such as forgiveness love and bravery
Group level: positive interactions with your local community and your community, with virtues such as altruism and social responsibility , which help strengthen bonds among people.

Positive Psychology as well as the PERMA Model

To better explain and define wellbeing that is a key aspect of the field of positive psychology Seligman came up with his PERMA model. PERMA stands for the five components of well-being

Emotions that are positive or feeling feelings of optimism and also gratitude for your past, satisfaction in the present and hope for the future.
Engagement, or getting into “flow” by engaging in engaging activities and hobbies
Connection, or the process of forming social bonds with friends and family
Meaning or finding your purpose in life that is bigger than yourself
Goals, accomplishments, and achievements

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Positive psychology can be used to solve many practical applications that include therapy, education as well as self-help, stress reduction and workplace problems.

By using strategies that are based on positive psychology teachers, coaches, employers and therapists can inspire others and assist people discover and build their strengths as individuals.

Some of the most significant subjects of interest in positive psychology are:

Strengths and virtues of character
The Gratifications
Positive thoughts

The impact of positive psychology

The major research findings from positive psychology include:

It’s not a guarantee that money will bring happiness However, spending money on others can help people feel happier.
People generally are happy.
One of the most effective ways to fight back against setbacks and disappointments are strong relationships with friends and strengths in character.
While happiness is determined by genes, individuals are able to become happier through developing optimism and gratitude as well as altruism.
It is important to work for wellbeing, particularly when people can engage in activities that are purposeful and relevant.

Potential Pitfalls

The term “positive psychology” is frequently misinterpreted as positive thinking and is often interpreted as self-help techniques instead of research-based theories. Positive thinking is a method to motivate ourselves towards more positive behavior and greater capacity to endure, not just acting to change our mindset.

Positive psychology The opposite, however is the research into what causes people to succeed. It is focused on the behaviors that could result in a more optimal mindset and also on thinking patterns that can lead to more effective behavior.

History of Positive Psychology

“Before World War II, psychology was a field with three distinct tasks that included curing mental illness, making people’s lives more productive and enjoyable and finding and nurturing the best talent,” wrote Seligman and Mihaly Csikszenmihalyi in the year 2000.

Following the Second World War the main research and development of psychology became the first priorityof dealing with mental illnesses. Through the 50s thinkers of the humanist school such as Carl Rogers, Erich Fromm as well as Abraham Maslow helped renew interest in the two other areas through the development of theories that were based on happiness and the good aspects that human beings have to offer.

Here are a few other important dates in the development of psychology that are positive:

1998 Seligman is elected president of the American Psychological Association and positive psychology was the main theme of his presidency. In the present, Seligman is widely viewed as the father of modern positive psychology.
2002 the first International Conference on Positive Psychology was held in 2002.
2006 A course at Harvard on positive psychology was the most-loved class at Harvard.
2009: The inaugural World Congress on Positive Psychology was held in Philadelphia and included talks by Seligman along with Philip Zimbardo.

Other significant figures in positive psychology include:

Albert Bandura
C.R. Snyder
Carol Dweck
Christopher Peterson
Daniel Gilbert
Kennon Sheldon

The general enthusiasm for positive psychology risen exponentially since the idea was first introduced. In the present, more people are looking for details on how to be more satisfied and reach their maximum potential.