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Positive Psychology & Well-Being

What is “positive psychology”?

Psychology helps us to understand the things that go wrong in individuals, groups, and organizations. However, these improvements have a deficiency in comprehending what people do right. As a result, in 1998, Martin Seligman, who is the father of positive psychology, gave important advice to psychologists. This advice was to recall the long-forgotten mission of psychology which is to develop human strength and genius. As a result, Seligman created a new movement in psychology: positive psychology.

Positive psychology is a scientific approach to analyzing human thinking, emotions, and actions. These focus on strengths rather than shortcoming and creating the “good” in life rather than fixing the “negative.” This means that there is an acceptance of the negatives. Psychopathology or illnesses are not the focus of this field. The highlight of this field is to look at the things that make individuals get more satisfaction from their lives. Also, to look at things that make these individuals happier.

Figure 1: Illustration of a child having numerous thoughts signifying low levels of wellbeing (2021).

We can divide dimensions of positive psychology into three levels: subjective, individual, and society. Firstly, subjective level means our experiences. Relate to our experiences, what we feel, and our constructive thoughts are the highlights. Secondly, the individual level is related to our traits, thus our personality. Lastly, society level is related to addressing themes like developing healthy family formation or our overall public qualities. Thus, positive psychology is not only about being happy but also finding meaning and being satisfied.

What about well-being?

One way or another, we hear the term well-being in our daily lives, classes, or books that we read. There are different explanations of well-being, but what really is well-being? Well-being means to experience being healthy, happy, and comfortable. It entails having strong mental health, life happiness at high levels, having meaning, and being able to deal with stress. Mainly, well-being is feeling good. We should also know what well-being is not. Well-being is not the same thing as not having a mental illness. According to Seligman, five aspects of well-being help us to understand whether the individual’s well-being is balanced or not. PERMA model; positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments are the essential principles of well-being. We can see how well-being does, thus positive psychology spread across all areas of our lives.

Figure 2: Photograph showing finger painting of happy faces (n.d.).
Different constructs of well-being

After mentioning the multidimensionality of well-being, so it is time for digging deeper. There should be a balance between dimensions that we feel wellness in. For instance, our lifestyle decisions affect how our bodies function. There are several different constructs of well-being. Let’s take a look at some of them.

One of them is hedonic well-being. Hedonic well-being emphasizes happiness. According to this construct, well-being is fulfilling pleasure and avoiding pain. Psychological or emotional well-being is to reveal various problems that we face when we attempt to operate them positively. Our ability to cope with daily life is related to the way we think and feel about ourselves. In detail, we try to feel good about ourselves while also being aware of our limitations. Thus, embracement of our own self. As for the last example, flourishing is to find fulfillment in our lives. Doing significant and useful works and to connect with individuals deeper are related to flourishing. Therefore, it is to live a good life. Our physical well-being is influenced by what we eat and which activities we engage in. Also, about the social element, it is to feel a sense of belonging. Communicating with individuals, our relationships, attitudes, and lifestyle are examples of key aspects for social well-being. Being able to integrate meanin