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

Finding Sanity in Today's Political Chaos

By Kimberly Key on May 23, 2017 in Counseling Keys
Research shows that recurring negative stories (on TV or engaging in repeated negative discourse with friends) can have a deleterious effect on our mental and physical health.

Are You Hard On Yourself?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on May 22, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Inner criticism tears you down. Commit to skillful corrections. Take a big breath and very deliberately name to yourself three strengths or virtues you have and let them sink in.

Measuring Happiness: How Can We Measure It?

Can positive psychology researchers really measure happiness? Here are five ways they try—and some of the surprising and interesting findings that come from measuring happiness.
T. Mairunteregger

Seligman on Tour

Is "prospection" the newest and holiest of grails in psychology? Seligman: "Yes." We: "No."

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Cheerleading

You can cheerlead for a loved one with encouragement, logistical, or material support. In showing love by expressing priorities, you helping them respect and love themselves.

When It’s Hard to Forgive: Five Suggestions for You

Do not quickly abandon the forgiveness process once you begin. Consider these ideas for your healing.
DepositPhotos/VIA Institute

How to Deal with Boring or Mundane Tasks

We know that using character strengths can give a boost to well-being and a leg up on stress, so why not use them for dealing with those in-between moments - the mundane or boring.

Exactly How to Have More Fun on Vacation

By Andrea Bartz on May 16, 2017 in The Wandering Mind
For maximum enjoyment, just add THIS.

Passion 101

By Julia Moeller Ph.D. on May 15, 2017 in Passion 101
If you are wondering what passion is all about, whether you should have one, and why not, passion 101 has answers.

What Are You Fighting?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on May 15, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Conflicts with others are a normal part of life. But if we do this while swept away by anger, that's not good for us or others.

Psychology of Peak Performance

If you are looking for a competitive edge or trying to find more interest in life, these stories from around the web will get your juices flowing.

Social Anxiety in Toddlers

Social confidence varies from one child to another, and across time and situations. Parents can help their kids cope with social anxiety, and enjoy social interactions.

Why the Happiness Chase Is Making You Unhappy

Tired of chasing happiness? Here is why you should drop the chase and welcome in the fulfillment instead.
DepositPhotos/VIA Institute

Republican or Democrat, We Are All Stressed Out

As stress levels increase, what are the best strategies? We need new approaches to help cope as challenges arise. That's where strengths come in.

Why Being Yourself Is Not Good Advice

It seems like a great idea to be yourself. But what does it actually mean to lead an authentic life? There are three parts to authenticity.

Between a Molehill and Mount Everest

Recent studies confirm that in matters of personal motivation and satisfaction, it’s not whether you win or lose; it's how hard you have to play the game.

Why Negative Thoughts Are Normal

We're all wired for negativity for good reason: It helped us survive. But today these tendencies backfire. So forgive yourself, move on, and feel joy for a change.

Three Ways to Grow Your Leadership Potential

Do you wish you had more leadership development opportunities at work? Are you tired of waiting for people to see your potential and tap you on the shoulder?

Be Positive. Be Neutral. Which Is It?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 05, 2017 in Ambigamy
Six practical tips for managing your loyalties and doubts, your positive certainty and your neutral receptivity, your open-mindedness and your closed-mindedness.

Are We Evolved for Happiness?

A naive take on life suggests that happiness is an end goal. It’s not, and evolutionary psychology tells us why.

Simplify Your Life to Find Peace

The "Progress Paradox" is difficult to deny.
ReflectedSerendipity/flickr

Upward Spirals of Support for College Students

By Ross E O'Hara, Ph.D. on May 02, 2017 in Nudging Ahead
How can we get college students to adopt new behaviors to succeed in school? Lessons from positive psychology suggest a new approach.

Harnessing the Power of Anticipation

By Jaime L. Kurtz Ph.D. on May 02, 2017 in Happy Trails
How to get even more enjoyment out of your summer adventures.

High Quality Teaching Boosts Learning in Young Athletes

“In the end, it’s about teaching . . . Teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.” John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach

A Little Bit of Magic Please

If science were a man, I would marry him, even though I’d know of his imperfections. However, we all benefit from a bit of magic....

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Creating Together

Adult couples show love when they create together, whether a child, a family, a home, an enterprise or business, support for an initiative, or solutions to everyday challenges.

What Gets You Stuck?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on April 24, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Remind yourself how it's in your own best interest to admit fault and move on. It takes a strong person to admit fault, and it puts us in a stronger position with others.

Play: A Different Perspective

Much has been studied and written about play, and we would like to consider play from a somewhat different perspective, namely, that of affect theory.
istock.com

Can You make Your Employees Happier?

Let’s face it managing people can be tough, and despite your best efforts your people may be part of the growing numbers who feel disengaged from their jobs.

Where Do You Live?

By Rick Hanson Ph.D. on April 17, 2017 in Your Wise Brain
Be aware of breathing and let everything else go. There's always a doorway to a deeper sense of presence and peace: being the body.