In a world that can often be filled with negativity, it is easy to become jaded and cynical. Perhaps more than ever our society is in need of tools to help achieve happiness, fulfillment and success. In fact, people are actively pursuing many avenues to help them find reasons to be optimistic in mass numbers.
In recognition of this need, the Positive Psychology movement was formed, and has grown into one of the most promising branches of psychology. It has transformed the field from focusing primarily on problems to one that explores human potential. Specifically, it involves the scientific study of the strengths, which enable individuals and groups to flourish.
The field now includes thousands of psychologists, dozens of books, and courses in prominent schools and institutions across the world. Some of the most respected psychologists in the field are involved in this movement and it is regularly featured in the most prestigious psychology journals. Positive Psychology has also caught the attention of the popular media, demonstrating its mass appeal. Time magazine dedicated almost an entire issue to this topic. The movement has been featured in Newsweek, The Today Show, USA Today, Oprah, and various other major publications and programs.
Skeptics may wonder whether positive psychology is merely the mindless pursuit of cheerfulness that makes achieving happiness sound too simplistic. But experts in the field are quick to make it clear that they are not suggesting that fulfillment and tranquility come in a few easy steps. They argue that it takes hard work and a serious commitment to making changes in both perspective and lifestyle. As a result of the research we now have a better understanding of some of the key techniques that almost anyone can implement on a daily basis to make significant strides in achieving and maintaining a more positive existence.
In fact, Positive Psychology researchers report that 94% of people who participated in the most proven Positive Psychology techniques, had a decrease in depression (on average greater than a 50% reduction) and 92% increased their positive emotions in just 15 days. These results are comparable to the beneficial effects of antidepressant medications and cognitive therapy.