For the last 50 years or so, clinical psychology has been all about trying to cure mental illnesses, and we’ve done really well at developing treatments. But psychologists really didn’t have the tools from that same solid, scientific, quantitative lens to help people truly flourish and thrive.
So positive psychology is about taking the methods and skills that psychology is really good at and directing them toward helping people move from languishing to flourishing. It has implications for how we treat and inspire people. My own work involves recasting positive emotions as an important means of flourishing and thriving. Positive emotions aren’t just the icing on the cake, but something that seems to be essential to get people, organizations, or teams to thrive. And once you recast positive emotions, it can change how you interact with others, how you compliment good work, and how you motivate people.