For most of its history, the main goal of the field of psychology was to prevent and treat mental health problems. It wasn’t until twenty years ago that prominent psychologists shifted their attention from reducing suffering to studying how people can lead a good and happy life. Instead of trying to get depressed and anxious patients back to a neutral state, this new area of research focused on what a person would need to flourish – to go from feeling “OK” about life to finding fulfillment.
Positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning, searching for the factors that allow individuals to thrive. With an ever-growing body of research, positive psychology wants to build a bridge between the academic theories and the self-help movement. Because how do we define happiness? What do we need to be happy and how can we put the results from all those studies into practice?
Have a look at these 5 must-read positive psychology books from the leading experts on happiness.