What is Positive Psychology?
The study of positive psychology was started because it has come to be realised that whilst psychology tells us how to relieve misery and suffering it does not necessarily help us to find what is best in life and how to enjoy it and become happier. That is the goal of positive psychology.
Martin Seligman PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Pensylvania and a past president of the American Psychology Association, founded the study of positive psychology. As he has said:
[blockquote]”A science of positive subjective experience, positive individual traits and positive institutions promises to improve quality of life and prevent the pathologies that arise when life is barren and meaningless. The exclusive focus on pathology that has dominated so much of our discipline results in a model of the human being lacking the positive features that make life worth living. Hope, wisdom, creativity, future mindedness, courage, spirituality, responsibility, and perseverance are ignored…”[/blockquote]
Research is increasingly finding that if we approach life with optimism then we are happier, healthier, more resilient and successful. Positive psychology has drawn on CBT principles and psychological research to find ways of helping people to learn to become more optimistic (when it will be helpful to them) and thus happier.