Have you tapped your potential?

Matrix Dodge

What is Positive Psychology?

The a set of scientific studies of what makes life most worth living, focusing on both individual and societal well-being.

What do the studies show?

1. People overestimate the impact of money on their happiness by quite a lot.

2. Spending money on experiences provides a bigger boost to happiness than spending money on material possessions.

3. Gratitude is a big contributor to happiness in life, suggesting that the more we cultivate gratitude, the happier we will be.

4. Oxytocin may provoke greater trust, empathy, and morality in humans, meaning that giving hugs or other shows of physical affection may give you a big boost to your overall well-being and the well-being of others.

5. Those who intentionally cultivate a positive mood to match the outward emotion they need to display (i.e., in emotional labor) benefit by more genuinely experiencing the positive mood.

6. Happiness is contagious; those with happy friends and significant others are more likely to be happy in the future.

7. People who perform acts of kindness towards others not only get a boost in well-being, but they are also more accepted by their peers.

8. Volunteering time to a cause you believe in improves your well-being and life satisfaction.

9. Spending money on other people results in greater happiness for the giver.

10. Positive Psychology interventions reduce distress and significantly improve well-being.

Who paved the path?

William James

William James Picture

James was a philosopher, physician, and psychologist, and he was the first educator in the United States to offer a psychology course. Many regard James as America's "first positive psychologist" due to his keen interest in a person's subjectivity and his conviction that "objectivity is founded on intense subjectivity."

Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow

In his 1954 book "Motivation and Personality," Maslow coined the term "positive psychology." 

Critical of psychology's emphasis on disorder and dysfunction, he claimed it lacked an accurate understanding of human potential, emphasizing how psychology effectively reveals our negative side by disclosing a great deal about our illnesses and shortcomings but not nearly enough about our virtues and aspirations.

Martin Seligman

Famous for his experiments and theory of learned helplessness, Chris founded Positive Psychology in 1998.

His work in learned helplessness and pessimistic attitudes garnered an interest in optimism, leading to a collaboration with Christopher Peterson to create a positive side to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi

Csikszentmihalyi was born in Hungary in 1934 and was profoundly affected by the Second World War. As a child, he was separated from his family and friends and interned in an Italian prison, where he developed his first concept of working with flow and optimal experience.

Drawn to painting, he noticed that the act of creation was frequently more significant than the finished work itself and became deeply intrigued with the "flow state," making it his life's work to scientifically identify the various methods for achieving it.

Christopher Peterson

Chris Peterson

Peterson was a psychology professor and former chair of the Department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan. He co-authored Character Strengths and Virtues with Martin Seligman and widely recognized for his work on optimism, hope, character, and well-being in addition to his work on the DSM.

And the Criticism?

The major negative response to Positive Psychology has centered on the concept of "Toxic Positivity," which is the idea that individuals do not completely notice, process, or regulate all emotions, including anger or grief.

This can result in the accidental stigmatization of negative emotional states and their suppression.

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