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

Why We Accidentally Prevent People From Changing

By Nick Tasler on March 22, 2017 in Strategic Thinking
New research reveals a hidden bias that prevents our kids, our co-workers, and our spouses from making the changes we hope to see.
DepositPhotos/VIA Institute

Disability and Strengths: We Need Phase 3!

5 practical strategies to move you into Phase 3, helping you take on a character strengths-based mindset.

Dealing With Feelings

"Minimize affect inhibition... Maximize positive affects… Minimize negative affects.” — Silvan Tomkins

What Are You Resisting?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on March 21, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
It is easy to accept life’s beautiful things. It is the hard things in life that are hard to accept. The sweet spot is both by accepting the fact that they are what they are.

A Story of Personal Loss

My response to personal loss? I always get what I need; occasionally get what I want. Can I rely on a law of attraction to return it to me or should I hope for an honest soul?

Time Spent in an Art Museum Can Be Good Therapy

By Linda Wasmer Andrews on March 20, 2017 in Minding the Body
Researchers Lisa and Jeffrey Smith have spent years studying how people behave in art museums and what they get out of the experience. Here's what the Smiths' latest study shows.

Movies That Tell Us Life Is Livable, Even If It's Imperfect

By Stanton Peele on March 18, 2017 in Addiction in Society
Two new movies tell us that life is worth living, and love worth pursuing, even as it carries bitter disappointments.

Breaking Down the Elements of Acting

If theatre is awesome for kids, which kids? What kinds of awesome? And how? Let's break it down.

Forecasting Happiness

How do we know what will make us happy? Psychologist Daniel Gilbert’s insights on happiness.

Love Your Neighbor

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on March 13, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Compassion and kindness expresses an inner freedom. 

How I Learned to Stop Whining and Why It Was a Great Lesson

It took me a long time to realize “vulnerable,” "insecure" and “adorable” were not the same thing. Whining is not attractive. I had to learn that and it was a good lesson.

What’s the Matter with Empathy?

By Sara Konrath Ph.D. on March 07, 2017 in The Empathy Gap
At a time when “empathy” is more controversial than ever, a researcher explains what it is, what it isn’t, and when it fosters kindness and compassion.

Karate Kicking to a Song by Sia

By E. Paul Zehr Ph.D. on March 07, 2017 in Black Belt Brain
This is a story about a woman you haven’t heard of who influenced a girl you probably don’t know but who did something with a singer you’ve certainly seen.

Why Is Gratitude in Relationships So Beneficial?

By Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D. on March 07, 2017 in Think, Act, Be
Writing about people we're thankful for boosts our well-being. Does expressing our gratitude help even more?

3 Steps to Happiness

The secret to happiness in three simple steps.
istock.com

Do Happiness Interventions Really Work?

Do you long to be happier? From the science of happiness to self-help books there seems to be no-end of suggestions of how to be happier. But does any of it really work long-term?

6 Surprising Facts About Happiness

Is positive psychology just the confirmation of the obvious? No it isn't! Here are six research findings about happiness that will surprise you.

Bursting Our Bubbles

If we cannot escape the particular “bubble” of our lives, we should at least acknowledge that others operate in similar spheres, which are as important to them as ours are to us.

Breakup Coping Strategy: Party Like It's 1999

By Wendy Paris on March 03, 2017 in Splitopia
As the now-classic experiment from Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer shows, age is relative to your environment.
"Intelligent Mud Counts" by author

Intelligent Mud

Emotions make our mud human—sometimes intelligently caring, often charming, on occasion—lovable.

Love Someone

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on March 01, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
At a time when you may feel powerless about the wider world, at least locally, here and now, you can make a real difference. Love is never defeated. Heart after heart after heart.

A Profound Need for Our Traditions

By Saul Levine M.D. on February 28, 2017 in Our Emotional Footprint
Our traditions enhance and bolster our lives, enable us to commune with family and friends, bring stability and meaning to our lives, in times of serenity and in times of turmoil.

Are We All Haters?

"All my friends in New York define themselves by what they hate,” says Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah Horvath, on Girls.

13 Ways to Turn Insecurities Into Relationship Strengths

Recognizing your weaknesses doesn’t have to get in the way of your relationship satisfaction, according to new research on the value of self-security.

Anger: A Misunderstood Feeling

If curiosity, or interest, is the most under-appreciated feeling, anger may be the most misunderstood.

Successful Change With Dumbo's Feather

By John Sean Doyle on February 27, 2017 in Luminous Things
Sometimes we need something to remind us that we can soar too.

What's the Difference Between Optimism and Hope?

Both are beneficial, but they’re different in their effects on our life outcomes.

Unselfish Singles: They Give More Time, Money, and Care

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on February 24, 2017 in Living Single
Studies based on tens of thousands of participants show that the stereotype of the self-centered single person is exactly wrong. Singles are more giving than married people.

Playfulness Is Freeing - Even More Freeing Than Play Itself

By Bernard L. De Koven on February 23, 2017 in On Having Fun
It's the freeing kind of play. It's not just playing. It's the way of being that sets you and all with whom you are playful free. Yes. Playful being. That kind.

The Question That Will Set You Up for Failure...Every Time

By Megan Dalla-Camina on February 21, 2017 in Real Women
Are you always trying to be the best possible version of yourself? Why that's setting you up for failure and what to do about it.