Understanding Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is the scientific study of how people can thrive and be happy. Sue Langley thinks that many things, like mindfulness, nutrition, neurobiology, microbes, and genetics, are part of positive psychology. It's all about understanding what makes people flourish.

The scientific study of human flourishing

Nick: I think it would be helpful to try and define positive psychology. So when you're asked what's positive psychology, what's your go-to answer?

Sue: My go-to answer is probably twofold. One is the definition, which is the scientific study of human flourishing. If you want to put it in very basic terms, it's the scientific study of human flourishing, whether it's individuals, teams or organizations. That's the sort of the definition.

I suppose the way I think of it is, there are so many areas now under the umbrella of positive psychology. If as long as they're all in the pursuit, I suppose, of how do we be the best we can be, Those sorts of things are covered.

So whether it's mindfulness or whether it's, now, nutrition has been linked in or exercise or from a neurobiology perspective, microbial perspective, genetics, there are many things that's now being encompassed.

But basically, it all comes back to the scientific study of human flourishing. What is it that makes one human being flourish over another? Or one team work more effectively than another? I always like to come back to what the science tells me, and as I say, at a high level is the scientific study of human flourishing.

How we go about it could be through many means, like the psychological well-being of meaning and fulfillment, and the values alignment, as well as the joy of subjective well-being of am I happy today? And am I enjoying life and having more positive emotions in the mix and many other areas in between.