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What is positive psychology?

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Quick Answer

Positive psychology refers to a branch in psychology that focuses on helping people to lead happy, healthy and prosperous lives. Positive psychology uses scientific evidence to implement interventions that promote the flourishing of families and communities, notes About.com.

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Positive psychology is a relatively new discipline that deals with topics such as mindfulness, optimism, hope, resilience, human virtues, character strength and positive thinking. Research in positive psychology reveals that spending money on others causes feelings of well-being and happiness. Strength of character and social relationships help people to overcome challenges and disappointments. Positive psychology is also based on evidence that engaging in meaningful and purposeful work makes people happier. People are happier when they show gratitude and humanity.

Gratitude exercises, in which people are asked to create a list of things for which they are thankful, are common interventions in positive psychology, according to Psychology Today. Interventions in positive psychology focus on helping people to realize and grow their strengths. Researchers indicate that when people make positive self-information readily accessible, they become energized and happy. Positive psychology differs from other fields in psychology that focus on abnormal behavior and a disordered mind. It is applied in stress management, self-help programs, education, therapy and solving work-related conflicts or issues.

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