- AnJenette Afridi. MA
Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive and acknowledge their full spectrum of emotions. The field is founded on the belief that human beings desire to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.
Major proponents of positive psychology include psychologists Martin Seligman (who promoted the concept as president of the American Psychological Association in 1998), Christopher Peterson, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. One of Seligman’s forerunners, Abraham Maslow, called attention to humanistic psychology, which focused on human strengths and potential rather than neuroses and pathologies.
Positive psychology is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings, and behavior, with a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses, building the good in life instead of repairing the bad, and taking the lives of average people up to “great” instead of focusing solely on moving those who are struggling up to “normal” (Peterson, 2008).
"The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life." | Martin Seligman
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