Positive psychology is the branch of psychology that uses scientific understanding and effective intervention to aid in the achievement of a satisfactory life,rather than treating mental illness. The focus of positive psychology is on personal growth rather than on pathology, as is common among other frameworks within the field of psychology.
Topics of interest to researchers in the field are: states of pleasure or flow, values, strengths, virtues, talents, as well as the ways that these can be promoted by social systems and institutions.
Positive psychologists are concerned with four topics:
- positive experiences,
- enduring psychological traits,
- positive relationships
- and positive institutions.
Some thinkers and researchers, like Seligman, have collected data to support the development of guiding theories (e.g. “P.E.R.M.A.”, or The Handbook on Character Strengths and Virtues).
In cognitive therapy, the goal is to help people change negative styles of thinking as a way to change how they feel. This approach has been very successful, and changing how we think about other people, our future, and ourselves is partially responsible for this success. The thinking processes that impact our emotional states vary considerably from person to person. An ability to pull attention away from the chronic inner chatter of our thoughts can be quite advantageous to well-being. A change in our orientation to time can dramatically impact how we think about the nature of happiness. Seligman identified other possible goals: families and schools that allow children to grow, workplaces that aim for satisfaction and high productivity, and teaching others about positive psychology.
Taken from Wikipedia