The Science of Happiness: Beyond Positive Thinking

Throughout the span of centuries, the ever-evolving field of psychology has had one common trend: focusing way too much on the negative; extensively dissecting and investigating what was “wrong” with you, me… everyone!

Not to downplay the importance of psychology, but easing suffering from various dramas and addictions by dwelling on those very things? Doesn’t exactly sound constructive, now does it? I mean, it could very well be cathartic, but here’s another way—there’s always another way.

Over the past decade now, there has been a monumental, much-needed change: Scientists are finally shifting that razor-sharp focus to what makes a person’s heart sing and soul thrive.

Basically, they are delving into what specific thoughts, actions, and behaviors make us more efficient at work, more joyous in our social life and our romantic relationships, etc.

In a world of too much negativity, positive psychology (the science of happiness) is the answer. Its mission is to explore what makes us, well… happy.

According to University of Pennsylvania psychology professor and science of happiness pioneer Dr. Martin Seligman, the art of positive psychology is in no way naïve. It still accepts the reality of negativity and psychological illness. But along with that awareness, it encourages individuals and communities alike to adopt practices that can boost overall optimism, increase resilience, and live blissfully engaged lives.

Seligman’s most recent theory: PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning & Purpose, Accomplishment). He believes that it is these five components that contribute to one’s overall well-being.

  • What The Science of Happiness is not: positive thinking or self-help.
  • What The Science of Happiness is: an empirical field that is research and application-driven. It’s a lens into the yin and yang of life.

*I actually took a Science of Happiness course and it was very eye-opening. Check it out here! (It’s offered by Berkeley University and spans the course of just eight weeks, covering a wide range of down-to-earth, well-researched tips on living a truly happy life.)

 What are some things that make you happy?

Eva Xanthopoulos

Harvard Magazine


  1. Wow.. learning much from you dear. PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning & Purpose, Accomplishment). also Emotional intelligence helps you understand people and human behavior.

    • I’m happy to hear that, Abby! When I discover something interesting, I like to share it with others, in hopes that it’ll help make their lives at least a tiny bit better. 🙂

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