• Stephen F. Smith, Ed.M.

Positive Psychology


Positive Psychology. Ever heard of it? Let’s contrast it to traditional clinical psychology. The focus of traditional clinical psychology is the reduction of negative symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, obsessions, compulsions, etc.). Whereas, positive psychology is the application of happiness in one’s life to enhance it and flourish. There are two forms of happiness. Both are good. One is better than the other. Let’s consider the former first. Hedonia is a temporal form of happiness that isn’t long lasting. A good meal, going to the movies, taking a swim. These are examples of hedonic pleasures. As to the latter, eudaimonia is a form of happiness where the activity or experience makes you feel as though you are fully alive. When you are engaged in the activity or experience it is as though time has stopped. When you are experiencing eudaimonia you may catch yourself thinking, “This is what I was meant to do,” or “If this were my job, I would do it for free.” A painter creating a masterpiece or an athlete participating in a triathlon might be examples of eudaimonia. What’s yours?

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