As mentioned in NPR news, "almost every semester for the past ten years, the most popular class at Harvard has been Intro to Economics, or as Tal Ben-Shahar likes to call it, how to get rich, but today there's an even bigger class on campus. It's Ben-Shahar's course on what he calls, how to get happy."
According to Wikipedia, Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology that "studies the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive". Positive psychologists seek "to find and nurture genius and talent", and "to make normal life more fulfilling", not simply to treat mental illness. In other words, the positive psychology deals with love, happiness, job satisfaction, ...
In contrary to the Positive psychology, there should be a concept of negative psychology. However, even though the current psychology is so focused on the negative side (depression, fear, anxiety, mental illness,...), there is no formal definition of negative psychology.
Further readings about the negative psychology:
- The website of Tal Ben-Shahar
- Tal Ben-Shahar's video on Youtube
- Dr Seligman's vedio on Youtube
- NPR report on finding happiness
- Harvard psychology course information (including course slides)
- UPenn's Positive Psychology Center
- Good Life: Happiness on Youtube
However, there is also negative side about the positive psychology. See Dr. BARBARA S.HELD's argument.
In practice, Positive psychology encompass a variety of techniques that encourage people to identify and further develop their own positive emotions, experiences, and character traits. In many ways, positive psychology builds on key tenets of humanistic psychology. Whether or not the positive psychology techniques work will eventually rely on the evidence from the clinical trials. Since the psychology measures are typically intangible, how to design a trial or intervention, what to measure, how long to measure, what instrument to use,... could be challenging even more than the typically psychology measures (with the focus on disease or negative psychology). The following paper discussed this issue.