Positive psychology and the development of well-being

Henry, Jane (2007). Positive psychology and the development of well-being. In: Haworth, John and Hart, Graham eds. Well-being: Individual, Community and Societal Perspectives. Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 25–40.

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Positive psychology is concerned with positive approaches to the development of individual and communal well-being. It acts as a counterweight to the concern with deficiency and failure evident in much psychology. Positive psychology has drawn together and is actively researching the impact of positive experiences and values on well-being and health.
At present topics addressed include personal strengths, positive emotion, hope, forgiveness, optimism and flow for example. Though acknowledging the communal at present the bulk of work in positive psychology is still firmly oriented to the individual. In addition many proponents tend to champion an individualistic and often goal-oriented route to well-being.
This focus will be contrasted with the authors empirical work on positive approaches to development and perceived effectiveness of a variety of individual and social strategies. This work highlights the importance of social, physical and non-reflective routes to the development of long-term well-being. In addition some organisations have adopted positive approaches to development. Research and policy implications will be discussed.

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