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Positive Psychology, Wellness, and You

What is Positive Psychology? It’s a term coined by psychologist Martin E.P. Seligman, and a movement in psychology which emphasizes what is right with people rather than what is wrong with them. Psychology tends to be about negative things – anxiety, depression, stress. It is typified by the DSM-IV-TR, a systematic categorization of mental illnesses. Positive psychology is an attempt to work for a balanced view of and approach to humans, to encourage psychologists to try to contribute to positive aspects of life, not just do something about negative things. One of its main aims is to produce an “anti-DSM” of strengths and virtues that are found in the happiest people.

At Counseling and Psychological Services we attempt to use learnings from positive psychology in all we do, whether therapy or programming on wellness topics.

What is wellness? Here a definition of wellness that was employed for years on our campus: Reaching for optimal well being of mind-body-spirit through attaining balance in life“. One can see how the two concepts are related. We encourage you to explore the potential for optimum functioning that resides within you. Following are some resources to get you started.


Websites to get you started on the road to wellness…

Authentic Happiness Website – Requires free registration – Chock full of information for examining your life/yourself for the elements that are associated with a happy, positive outlook. Many good suggestions here.

Positive Press – Drop in here for a positive quote of the day and positive news of the day. Help your day with information that is positively refreshing!


Positive Psychology Titles

Selected resources for learning about positive psychology: Recommendations from Martin Seligman’s website.

Handbook of Positive Psychology, Edited by C.R. Snyder and Shane J. Lopez
A Psychology of Human Strengths, Edited by Lisa G. Aspinwall and Ursula M. Staudinger
The Resilience Factor: 7 Essential Skills for Overcoming Life’s Inevitable Obstacles, by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté
Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived, Edited by Corey L.M. Keyes and Jonathan Haidt
Good Business: Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, by Barry Schwartz
The Progress Paradox : How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse, by Gregg Easterbrook
Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950, by Charles Murray

Are you sold on the benefits of positive psychology and wellness? Do you have resources or recommendations of your own to pass on? Write us at psycouns@tcnj.edu

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