What Is Positive Psychology? The Science of Well-being

Positive Psychology is a field of study within Psychology that focuses and promotes well-being and happiness. One of its goals is to help people live and perform at their best by putting people’s strengths and virtues to work for themselves and their community. Although it’s a relatively recent field, Positive Psychology has embraced and researched topics that have been promoted through other psychology branches such as Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology.

Positive Psychology is a field of study within Psychology that focuses and promotes well-being and happiness.

Some of the themes addressed by Positive Psychology include character strengths and virtues, positive emotion, resilience, growth mindset, positive relationships, and self-development. Positive Psychology does not deny the existence and importance of psychological issues. It offers instead an approach to problems that is solution-oriented and with a greater focus on what human beings need to thrive rather than only survive.

Thanks to the efforts of Positive Psychology researchers and educators, many models have been developed to describe how individuals may lead more fulfilling and happier lives. For instance, Martin Seligman, often considered the “father” of Positive Psychology, proposes a 5-element model of well-being and happiness that includes Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments. This model has been known as the “P.E.R.M.A.” model and it has been used worldwide. To learn more about it, please consult Martin Seligman’s book Flourish.

Flourishing has been a concept interchangeably used with human well-being in Positive Psychology. Human flourishing can be perceived as a complete state of emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It describes a broad range of states and relevant well-being outcomes such as mental and physical health, happiness and life satisfaction, meaning and purpose, character and virtue, and interpersonal relationships. People flourish when they experience positive emotions, positive mental states, and positive relationships with others.

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