Positive Psychology

Chris Peterson & Don Morgan

Before the emergence of the Positive Psychology movement, happiness was thought more as something that just happened to a person by luck or fortune. Now we know how to increase our happiness. Not only do we know how, we know that the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right, a founding principle of our nation as stated in the
Declaration of Independence.

Research about “what makes life worth living” has found that:

  • You add five to ten years of high quality life just by being in the top 25% of happiness.
  • You make higher quality decisions more rapidly, just by being in the top 25% of happiness.
  • Happy people are much more likely to be free from drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse. They are healthier, more compassionate.

Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. It is a shift from focusing on weaknesses and disabilities to focusing on how people flourish. Rather than trying to repair old wounds, it is about building the best things in life. Rather than looking for disorders to heal, it is making life more fulfilling.

In Pursuing the Good Life (2013), Chris Peterson described the following scientific findings:

  • Happiness is a basis for good things in life. Happiness leads to desirable outcomes at school and work, and to fulfilling social relationships, good health, and long life.
  • Most people are resilient.
  • Happiness, strengths of character, and good social relationships are buffers against the damaging effects of disappointments and setbacks.
  • Crisis reveals character.
  • Others make a huge difference in what makes life most worth living.
  • Religion matters.
  • Work matters if it engages the worker and provides meaning and purpose.
  • Money is an ever-diminishing contribution to wellbeing, but money can buy happiness if it is spent on other people.
  • Eudaimonia (wellbeing, contentment, and flourishing) trumps hedonism (pleasure).
  • The “heart” matters more than the “head.” Caring is as important as critical thinking.
  • On “good days” we feel autonomous, competent, and connected to others.

The good life can be learned. Happiness is more than luck. There are things we can do to increase our enjoyment and satisfaction with life. A satisfying life requires intention, know-how, and commitment. Positive Psychology is a science. Positivity Academy programs are based on Positive Psychology. Positivity Coaching and Consulting are founded on the principles of Positive Psychology.