The scientific study of what enables individuals to thrive and increase their levels of happiness is called Positive Psychology. This new field is based on the concept that people naturally seek to develop meaningful and fulfilling lives, and to encourage and support their best selves which leads to enhancing the love, work, and play in their lives and relationships.
The source of Positive Psychology movement dates back to William James and more recently, Martin Seligman who made it the theme of his 1998 American Psychological Association Presidential Address. Since then it has expanded and evolved. Positive Psychology focuses on strengths and positive characteristics instead of on psycho-pathology and what’s not working in people’s lives. That is a significant departure from what psychology has historically focused on understanding.
What’s the point? The point is that now there is a body of both research and clinical development to enhance your ability to cultivate the skills for creating positive emotional states and greater capability to enjoy life. One of those developments is the University of Berkeley’s course on happiness. This eight-week course (free to the general public) teaches the science and application of the principles of Positive Psychology.
If you are interested in learning more about this exciting new direction for yourself, click here and you can enroll at no cost, unless you want a certificate of completion.
Seligman, M. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York: Free Press.
Seligman, M., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 5-14.