Does happiness matter? What are happy people like? Can people enhance their sense of well-being? One of the most important movements in psychology during the past two decades, positive psychology is a discipline that seeks to understand the factors that contribute the most to a well lived and fulfilling life. Written by a highly respected scholar and educator of positive psychology, this is a concise, accessible introduction to this popular field of study. Appropriate for anyone seeking an introduction to positive psychology and an ideal brief text for relevant college courses, this book surveys the origins and current state of what is known about this evolving field. It places a particular emphasis on well-being as the leading edge of positive psychology research and practice.
The text encompasses the key theories and current research supporting positive psychology, and discusses its three pillars: subjective well-being and positive emotions, psychological traits, and positive institutions. It introduces the foundational concepts underlying positive psychology and describes the specific strengths and virtues upon which it focuses. Woven throughout is the premise that gratitude matters to one's happiness. The heart of the book explores such major questions as: What is happiness? How do one's circumstances impact happiness? What are the traits of well-being? Are relationships important to happiness? With a nod to the expanding parameters of human interactions today, the text examines the impact of electronic relationships on well-being. It also discusses and responds to the most significant criticisms of the positive psychology movement and helps readers to understand how the science of positive psychology can enhance their own well-being. Insights into the past and future of positive psychology conclude this thoughtful text.