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What is Positive Psychology?

Updated: Feb 17, 2021


Positive psychology is the scientific study

of optimal human functioning and well-being.


Traditional models of health and wellness have focused on disease and illness, striving to take people who are suffering below base line and bringing them up to neutral. Positive psychology, on the other hand, focuses on what is right, our strengths, our virtues, our ability to excel. It suggests that progress is made by building competency and mastery, not focusing on weakness, and therefore, there is as much to be learned from what is right with us as there is from what is wrong. Positive psychology takes people from baseline and brings them ‘north of neutral’. It recognizes that while we may not be suffering with disease or illness that does not mean we are flourishing, AND even though we may have an illness, we can still flourish.


"Progress is made by building competency and mastery,

not focusing on weakness, and therefore,

there is as much to be learned from what is right with us

as there is from what is wrong."


However, positive psychology is not a ‘happiology’. It does not suggest that people ought to simply cut off any negative emotion and be happy all the time. Not at all… Rather, positive psychology explores all aspects of the human experience. It recognizes that negative emotion and adversity are a necessary for growth and resilience. Yet, there are human strengths that can buffer against illness, and so positive psychology asks, “How can we struggle well?” “Why do some people fall flat, and others rise from adversity?” Positive psychology explores the skills that help people bounce back and grow from adversity.


"Negative emotion and adversity

are a necessary for growth and resilience."


Positive psychology is much more than fixing what is wrong. It identifies, amplifies, and nurtures people’s strengths, and advocates that building a life around one’s strengths can buffer against weakness and adversity. It is about showing up as your best self no matter the situation. It is about living your best life!


It is about living your best life!


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