ABOUT POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life worth living. It is the empirical exploration of how people, institutions and communities flourish, and is based on the premise that mere absence of illness is not conducive to well-being and a fulfilling life. In the 3 minute video below you can find some thoughts about positive psychology by Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of the field.
In order to increase our knowledge of the determinants of ´the good life´, positive psychology seeks to understand all the domains of human experience related to our well-being, and is relentlessly pursuing new channels through which to do so. It rests soundly within the field of psychology and is best acknowledged for its contribution in focusing attention and resources to the study of topics such as hope, wisdom, creativity, future-mindedness, courage, spirituality, responsibility, resilience and perseverance. Positive psychology strives to discover what well-being and happiness are, not merely in terms of positive emotion and pleasure, but in terms of living a good life.
In fact, it aims to understand the principles that enable individuals, organizations and communities to thrive, and to build strengths instead of dwelling on weaknesses. It is not about seeking momentary feelings of happiness or superficial experiences of pleasure. Positive psychology acknowledges adversities and hardships as a natural part of the human experience, and compels us to discover our inner strength and resilience as we embark on the voyage of life. It recites the ancient wisdom of virtue as an elevation of life, and calls forth consciousness, willful effort and focused attention as the path forward. Positive psychology is about being drawn by our future, while saluting our past with gracious acceptance.
Positive psychology is not about telling people to ´just be happy´ and to deny the existence of genuine hardships. What positive psychology does tell us is that when (not if) we encounter challenges or extreme hardship, we do not need to be unarmed and unprepared for the trial ahead. We can educate ourselves about what makes us more resilient, mentally strong and optimistic, and cultivate response models which enable us to meet adversity with mindful observation and contemplation.
The science of positive psychology is about using your strengths and the knowledge acquired through past experiences to push through the turbulence, and to even harness it to elevate you up to higher altitudes. Nobody lives only to be free of anxiety and illness. A life well lived consists of other elements than those which contribute to merely surviving, and these are the matters which the field seeks to understand.