What is Positive Psychology?

The laws of nature are very clear, for every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction. So, you may find a very talented artist who just cannot seem to organize their workshop, at the end of the day we all have our strengths and weaknesses. There has been a movement towards psychological science and practice to study the attributes of leading a meaningful and happy life rather than repairing the worst aspects. Prevention is better than cure. As such a new field of science is emerging that studies what makes life most worth living. This field is Positive Psychology.

The concept was conceived by Dr. Martin Seligman, often referred to as the founder of positive psychology and he describes it as “The scientific study of optimal human functioning that aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.” Simply put the study of what makes life most worth living.

Mainstream psychology focussed heavily on the negative aspects of life such as depression and anxiety. Thick books have been written focusing on these negative aspects but up until early 2000, there was limited appetite for the classification of positive human traits. Very few researchers tackled the positive aspect of life and positive psychology was born out of the need for such study.

Dr. Martin Seligman, through multiple studies and collaboration, found that the extent to which people were aware of, and using their strengths, greatly impacted the quality of their lives.

He developed a model comprising 5 elements, that create the foundation of a flourishing life. He called it the PERMA model. Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments.

The area of Positive Psychology has exploded as more research is being conducted and the findings continually point towards people with high wellbeing, thrive due to their ability to extract the most from life. Positive Psychology starts with what is right about a person and introduces strategies that can lead to a flourishing life.

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