The Psychology of Everyday Life: Motivation and the Search For Happiness

Positive Psychology

What is positive psychology?

Positive psychology is a branch of happiness studies championed by Martin Seligman (1942—). Positive psychology came into its own in 2000, when Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association and was in a position to direct the field’s attention. Unlike previous happiness researchers, Seligman is a staunch believer in the ability of each person to improve his or her general emotional well-being. His earlier seminal work on learned helplessness contributed to the development of cognitive behavioral therapies for depression. Consequently, Seligman brought a psychotherapist’s point of view to the study of positive emotions, asking how psychologists can help people to feel better.


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