A term coined by psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman, and a movement in psychology which emphasizes what is right with people rather than what is wrong with them.

Psychology tends to be about negative things - anxiety, depression, stress. It is typified by the DSM-IV, a systematic categorization of mental illnesses. Positive psychology is an attempt to redress the balance, to encourage psychologists to try to contribute to positive aspects of life, not just do something about negative things. One of its main aims is to produce an "anti-DSM" of strengths and virtues that are found in the happiest people.

An important feature of Positive Psychology is its rejection of moral relativism. This is based on the observation that certain character traits and ways of acting are considered good by the vast majority of cultures. It is also observed that these traits lead to increased happiness when practiced.

Another important feature is a distinction between physical pleasure and the gratification of becoming lost in the flow of a task that engages ones abilities.


Positive Psychology Webpage