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

The Psychology of Happiness

Why study happiness?

Traditionally, psychology has devoted far more attention to negative emotions than to positive emotions. Perhaps because of the medical origins of clinical psychology, psychological research has concentrated on healing the sick and reducing suffering. While it is hard to argue with those aims, this focus has meant that the study of happiness and of positive emotion has been relatively neglected until recently. So why study happiness? Well, if all we do is reduce sadness and relieve depression, then the goals of life become no more than the absence of misery. Surely, we would all like more from our lives than that. By studying happiness and positive emotion, psychology can learn how people can best enhance their life and work towards fulfillment and self-development.


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