Happiness is…(real) optimism

Happiness is…(real) optimism

Chris Peterson is one of the world’s leaders in the science of happiness and positive psychology. In this article he talks about happiness and positive psychology and especially, the key construct of optimism.

Importantly, he discusses some of the invalid criticisms of optimism and presents a very strong argument for realistic optimism as it clearly leads to many, many benefits (including happiness).

Here’s just a taste of this great article…

Empirical research over the past few decades showing that optimism has many benefits_ã”for achievement, social relationships, and health_ã”is therefore interesting and important (Peterson, 2000). Studies of optimism helped usher in the field of positive psychology by demonstrating the importance of _ã–positive_㝠constructs above-and-beyond the absence of _ã–negative_㝠constructs.

A recent backlash is apparent, reprising the centuries-old suspicion of optimism as indicative of stupidity or denial. Both scholarly and popular discussions have questioned optimism, positive thinking, and more generally positive psychology, suggesting that they are responsible for much of what ails the modern world, including ongoing economic crises in the United States.

When I lecture about these criticisms, which of course need to be considered, I sometimes am tempted to be glib and ask _ã–What_ã_s the point? Are the critics urging pessimism and hopelessness on people?_㝠I could cherry-pick quotes from the critics that seem to imply this, but that would entail taking their ideas out of context. That_ã_s not responsible, even if the critics seem to do that to make their point.


To read the full article, about happiness and positive psychology and “real” optimism – click here