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Positive Psychology

Mainstream psychology has spent much of the last half-century primarily focused on psychopathology, that is, everything that is wrong with the human psyche. In 1998, Martin Seligman, then president of the American Psychological Association, announced that it was time to correct that imbalance by studying everything that goes right when humans are happy, thus giving life to "positive psychology." As outlined by Keyes and Haidt (2004), here are four of the major aims of Positive Psychology:

  • Rise to life's challenges; make the most of setbacks and adversity
  • Engage and relate to other people
  • Find fulfillment in creativity and productivity
  • Look beyond oneself and help others to find lasting meaning, satisfaction, and wisdom

As explained by the Positive Psychology Institute, "the field is intended to complement, not to replace traditional psychology. It does not seek to deny the importance of studying how things go wrong, but rather to emphasize the importance of using the scientific method to determine how things go right."


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