What Is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology is the study of happiness. Psychology has traditionally focused on dysfunction—people with mental illness or other issues—and how to treat it. Positive psychology, in contrast, is a field that examines how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled.

Recent posts on Positive Psychology

What Creates Superior Brain Connectivity, According to Study

By Susan Reynolds on September 19, 2017 in Prime Your Gray Cells
Participants on the “positive” side reflected stronger connectivity associated with higher cognitive functions, including memory, language, introspection, and imagination.

Can You Make Organizational Change Easier?

Are you struggling to get people on board when it comes to embracing change in your organization? How can you work with people’s brains to make change easier?

What Would Bear Lots of Fruit?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on September 18, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
What's on your short list of things that support you? Try to do one thing on the list each day. "Pass forward" a gift to the person you will be tomorrow...and a year from now.

Does What Doesn’t Kill us Really Make us Stronger?

By David B. Feldman Ph.D. on September 16, 2017 in Supersurvivors
As the U.S. reels from two deadly hurricanes, it’s easy to wonder if there’s any meaning to suffering.
George F. Sargent/wikimediacommons

"Only Connect!"

By Elizabeth Young on September 15, 2017 in Adaptations
The magnetism of spinal cord injury survivors.

Synchronicities Imply That Meaning Exists Outside of Us

How does coincidence counseling work? Here is a specific example involving a rare disease, a patient, and the two doctors.

Good Intentions Aren't Enough

By Alex Pattakos Ph.D. on September 14, 2017 in The Meaningful Life
In our failures we can find tremendous meaning, and only in meaning do our failures have a useful legacy.

Done and Dusted

By Bruce Grierson on September 13, 2017 in The Carpe Diem Project
How do you spell relief? Closing the file on a half-finished job.

6 Simple Steps to Make Happiness Happen

Welcome happiness into your life with these six simple practices from the field of positive psychology.

What Does Your Heart Say?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on September 11, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Try to focus less on how others should be, and focus more on your own practice of finding your own genuine love. It's like strengthening your heart.

Work as a Calling (Part 2)

By John Sean Doyle on September 11, 2017 in Luminous Things
Regardless of the mission of our organization, our job function, or the various tasks we must do, we all have opportunities to affect the lives of others in meaningful ways.

How To Make Good Choices For Your Wellbeing

It’s become more difficult to feel confident that we’re making the right choices, which is impacting our well-being.

You Can Learn to Be Happy and More Optimistic. Really.

By Peter Lambrou Ph.D. on September 10, 2017 in Codes to Joy
Who doesn't want to be happier and more optimistic about life?

A Positive Psychology of Single Life

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on September 09, 2017 in Living Single
How do single people thrive, despite all the singlism and matrimania? A chapter in a new book about positive psychology offers some answers.

Work as a Calling (Part 1)

By John Sean Doyle on September 05, 2017 in Luminous Things
By learning to inject the best aspects of yourself into your work, the difficult-tedious moments will start to dissolve, and what you do everyday will feel more like a calling.
Wikimedia Commons for noncommercial use

Hanging Together

By Erik M. Gregory Ph.D. on September 04, 2017 in The Secular Shepherd
The use of collective power for those in need
Ryan McGuire/Gratisography

Modern Love

By Elizabeth Young on September 01, 2017 in Adaptations
How much organizing should one woman do to go out to dinner and split the bill? 

How Rituals Alter the Brain to Help Us Perform Better

By Nick Hobson Ph.D. on September 01, 2017 in Ritual and the Brain
Need a performance brain boost? Create a simple ritual to help your brain deal with performance anxiety.
Rob Mulally/Unsplash

Answering Life's Call

By Alex Pattakos Ph.D. on September 01, 2017 in The Meaningful Life
Do you recognize that you are being questioned by life? Here is some guidance to help you find answers.

Synchronicity and Symbols

Coincidence awareness can be expanded to the signs and symbols of daily life.

Your Seven Keys to Good Thinking

By Guy P. Harrison on August 31, 2017 in About Thinking
These seven keys to good thinking will serve you well over your lifetime.

Language Development

We have been exploring the enigma of language — its power in helping us understand one another, and the mischief caused by misinterpretations.
Amelia Watkins, used with permission

The Educational Surprise of My Life: Community College

My first year of college was substantially different than I had anticipated, in ways both good and bad.

Do You Got To?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on August 28, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
If you can't say "no" - to others, and yourself - then your "yesses" will lose their meaning and power. Claim for yourself the “freedom not to” it will give you a feeling of ease.

Wilderness Psychology

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on August 27, 2017 in Trouble in Mind
Camping in the wilderness is an experience unlike any other. It has its downsides, especially in the Australian Outback, but the upsides include therapeutic bird watching!

Are Your Wellbeing Approaches Backfiring?

Do you struggle to consistently make healthy choices when it comes to your wellbeing? What can you do to better align your healthy intentions with your actions?

The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis Relies on Your Vagus Nerve

By Christopher Bergland on August 23, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
An extensive scientific review concludes that the vagus nerve facilitates bidirectional communication along the gut-brain axis.

Who Is, and Who Is Not, a "Mensch"?

By Saul Levine M.D. on August 23, 2017 in Our Emotional Footprint
A "mensch" is usually respectful, generous and responsible, as are most people. Those who are often unpleasant, abrasive and untrustworthy are not worthy of that appellation.
DepositPhotos/VIA Institute

Awe, Happiness, and the Solar Eclipse

Upon seeing the solar eclipse, people are reporting feeling a boost to well-being. Is this coincidental or is it related to the eclipse? The science of character has some answers.

When Are You?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on August 21, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
The present moment is continually passing away, so if you try to hold onto it you are no longer in the present. Relax and be open to this moment. Stop being lost in thought.