Positive Psychology Research Paper

Length: 9 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Psychology - Theories Type: Research Paper Paper: #99262216 Related Topics: Psychology, Life, Research, Human History
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Applying Positive Psychology Principles in the Workplace


At its most basic level, the field of positive psychology seeks to better understand what is right about people rather than what is wrong, and there has been a growing body of scholarship devoted to its main tenets during the quarter century since its introduction. The research to date confirms that the practice of positive psychology can produce a number of important and valuable outcomes, including improved mental and physical health and well-being. The purpose of this paper is to provide a recapitulation of the major principles and concepts learned during the completion of the Positive Psychology course followed by an explanation about their respective importance. Further, a description concerning what changes this author expects to make in the future is followed by a discussion of the evidence in support of the key tenets of positive psychology. Finally, a summary of the research and important findings concerning the above issues are presented in the paper’s conclusion.

Positive Psychology: Multiple Assignments

Today, the combination of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic and a presidential election of unprecedented contentiousness has resulted in a nation of anxious and concerned citizens that are uncertain about their future and the fate of the nation. Against this backdrop, identifying strategies for improving personal well-being and mental health represents a timely and valuable enterprise. To this end, the purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the major principles and concepts that were learned from the Positive Psychology course, an explanation concerning why they are important. In addition, a description concerning what changes I intend to make in my personal and professional life based on what was learned in this course is followed by an evaluation concerning the research to date in support of the key tenets of positive psychology. Finally, the paper presents a summary of the research and important findings concerning the lessons learned in this course and how these lessons will be applied in the future in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

1. What major principles/concepts have you learned from the Positive Psychology course and according to the research why do you think these principles are important?

The original major principles and concepts of Positive Psychology were introduced in 1998 by Martin Seligman when, in his capacity as the president of the American Psychiatric Association, he selected it as the topic for his annual address, although the term is credited to Maslow and his theory of hierarchy described in his seminal 1954 text, Motivation and Personality (Park & Peterson, 2008). The field of inquiry of positive psychology was subsequently refined Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi in 2000 based on the argument that the conventional psychological approaches that had been used since the second half of the 20th century were limited in their scope since they relied a medical-oriented model that failed to take into account the brighter aspects of the human condition such as individual strengths and positive emotions that help humans thrive (Shrestha, 2019).

The major principles and concepts of positive psychology include the notion that 1) it is possible to attain otherwise-elusive happiness by building up a reserve of well-being and satisfaction with life (Nathawat, 2017), 2) considering what is right with people rather than what is wrong with them (Sutton, 2007), 3) recognizing that helping people attain happiness and fulfillment requires more than conventional psychological approaches can provide (Park & Peterson, 2008); 4) positive psychology intends to complement business-as-usual psychology, not replace it, by expanding the topics of legitimate study to yield a full and balanced depiction of human thriving and flourishing” (Park & Peterson, 2008, p. 88); and 5) human goodness and excellence are as authentic as disease, disorder, and distress and therefore deserve equal attention from psychologists and human service providers (Park & Peterson, 2008, p. 89).

In response to the above-described limitations of conventional psychology and need for alternative approaches, Seligman and his associates (2005) subsequently defined positive psychology at three core levels: 1) the subjective level, 2) the individual level, and 3) the societal level as follows:

· Subjective level: The field of positive psychology at the subjective level is about valued experiences: well-being, contentment, and satisfaction (in the past), hope and optimism (for the future) and flow and happiness (in the present);

· Individual level: This level is about positive individual traits: the capacity for love and vocation, courage, interpersonal skill, aesthetic sensibility, perseverance, forgiveness, originality, future mindedness, spirituality, high talent and wisdom;

· Societal level: This level concerns the civic virtues and institutions that move individuals toward better citizenship: responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance and work ethic (Mukund & Singh, 2015, p. 198).

Since its introduction, the field of positive psychology has made two fundamental contributions by 1) providing an umbrella term for what had been isolated lines of theory and research, and 2) making the self-conscious…in essentially the same fashion, and insisted that their outlook on life was just fine and perhaps I should revisit my own Pollyannaism in light of all of the troubles facing humankind at present.

These consistent responses made me realize that some people are inherently pessimistic by nature and these people are only truly “happy” when they are unhappy about something. In other words, those factors that contribute to a sense of a life well lived are indeed highly subjective, and it is reasonable to suggest that many of my friends with this type of gloomy outlook would not be as satisfied with their lives if they did not have a “gripe du jour” to focus on at any given point in time. These reactions made me question the validity of the fundamental principles of positive psychology, but only until I conducted additional research.

Because positive psychology recognizes that those things that make life worth living exist along a subjective continuum that is unique to each individual and it is folly to try to change another person’s fundamental nature. It is possible and desirable, though, to share my views about positive psychology and how it can help people recognize when their thinking is adversely affecting their health, well-being and relationships with others. This is not to say, of course, that everyone or even anyone will listen to this type of guidance with any real intent of incorporating the basic tenets of positive psychology into their own lives, but it is to say that the enterprise is worthy of effort – and, fortunately, positive psychology recognizes this limitation. In this regard, Park and Peterson (2008) acknowledge that, “Positive psychology does not deny the problems that people experience, and positive psychologists do not ignore stress and challenge in their attempts to understanding what it means to live well” (p. 88).


The world has always been a troubled place for humankind, and the events of the early 21st century and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic indicate that nothing has changed. Indeed, it is especially challenging to maintain a bright outlook about the future when thousands of people are dying every day from an insidious killer while the nation’s political leaders wring their hands in seeming despair and helplessness. Fortunately, the research was consistent in showing that the main principles and concepts that were learned from the Positive Psychology course can be applied to individuals’ personal and professional lives in ways that promote mental and physical…

Sources Used in Documents:


Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personality (independently published September 25, 2020). In Park & Peterson, 2008.

Mukund, B. & Singh, T. B. (2015, June). Positive psychology and mental health. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(2), 197-201.

Nathawat, S. S. (2018, July). Measures of positive psychology. Development and validation. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology,43(2), 334.

Park, N. & Peterson, C. (2008, December). Positive psychology and character strengths: Application to strengths-based school counseling. Professional School Counseling, 12(2), 85-89.

Seligman, M. E. P. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000, January). American Psychologist, 55(1), 5-14.

Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410–421

Shrestha, A. K. (2019, June). Developing positive psychology as a universal science: Cultural and methodological challenges. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology,10(2), 83.

Stebleton, M. & Peterson, M. (2007, Spring). Unfolding stories: Integrating positive psychology into a career narrative approach. Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, 23(1), 9-14.

Cite this Document:

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