<sup>*</sup> A balanced psychology and a full life

Martin E.P. Seligman, Acacia C. Parks and Tracy Steen

in The Science of Well-Being

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780198567523
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191693670 | DOI:
* A balanced psychology and a full life

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This chapter provides a brief overview of American psychology and its history. The goals of studying genius and talent and making relatively untroubled people happy took a backseat to the goal of providing cures for mental disorders after the Second World War, and continued on for fifty years. The chapter tries to bridge this gap by presenting existing research and literature on positive psychology which examines the origins and manifestations of happiness. The latter is defined and ways of increasing it are discussed. Several methods involving positive intervention to engender pleasure, gratification, and meaning are illustrated. The remaining section focuses on the benefits of a targeted increase in happiness on alleviating and preventing distress and on helping people cope better with stress. The author concludes by reasserting the need for a balanced field of psychology to better handle the problems of people in modern society.

Keywords: American psychology; positive psychology; happiness; mental disorder; pleasure; gratification; stress

Chapter.  4267 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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