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What is Positive Psychology and What is Not Positive Psychology


positive psychology

Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on the study of human flourishing and optimal functioning. It is concerned with understanding what makes people happy, healthy, and successful, and with developing interventions that can help people achieve these goals.


Key Principles of Positive Psychology:

  • Focus on strengths and virtues: Positive psychology emphasise the importance of identifying and cultivating an individual's strengths and virtues.

  • Build well-being: Positive psychology aims to help people develop positive emotions, such as happiness, gratitude, and optimism, as well as build resilience in the face of challenges.

  • Promote meaningful connections: Positive psychology recognises the importance of social connections and relationships for wellbeing.

  • Foster a positive mindset: Positive psychology encourages individuals to adopt a positive outlook and focus on their strengths and potential.


What is Not Positive Psychology:

Positive psychology is often misunderstood as being the "happy science" or the pursuit of unrealistic happiness. However, positive psychology is not about ignoring or denying negative emotions or experiences. Instead, it is about understanding how to manage these experiences in a healthy way and to build resilience in the face of adversity.


Common Misconceptions about Positive Psychology:

  • Positive psychology is just about being happy. Positive psychology is not simply about pursuing happiness all the time. Instead, it is about understanding the factors that contribute to wellbeing and developing strategies for achieving a fulfilling life.

  • Positive psychology is ignoring negative emotions. Positive psychology does not deny the existence of negative emotions. Instead, it recognises that negative emotions are a normal part of life and provides strategies for coping with them in a healthy way.

  • Positive psychology is unrealistic and unattainable. Positive psychology is based on scientific research and provides practical strategies for improving well-being. It is not about achieving a perfect life, but about making positive changes that can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful existence.


Positive psychology is a growing field of study that has the potential to make a significant impact on people's lives. By understanding the principles of positive psychology and applying them to our own lives, we can improve our wellbeing, achieve our goals, and live a more fulfilling life.

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