Using positive psychology to confront negativity head-on

Using positive psychology to confront negativity head-on

The start of the positive psychology movement in 2000 witnessed the publication of 50 titles on happiness in the US. Last year, 4,000 titles with a smiley face in them went into print. Positive psychology courses continued to rake in record number of student enrolments at American universities.

Some experts interpreted these numbers as indicative of the growing anxiety and sadness levels in the very years that happiness movement flourished – it could well be that college students crowded into positive psychology courses precisely because a full 15% of them were reported to be clinically depressed!

Not surprisingly, the publishing pendulum has swayed in the other direction with the advent of titles such as Against Happiness and The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder.

Both these pro- and anti-movements have led to some common insights: one involves a definitional shift of the term happiness, which takes on shades of contentedness or satisfaction, what yogic rules of conduct would call santosha or mudita, rather than the sense of bursting-with-bliss sort of jumpiness or ananda.

To read more of this story touching on issues to do with happiness, positive psychology and certainly relevant to our approach to coaching here at The Happiness Institute – click here