In the talk Positive Psychology, Professor Seligman defines and elaborates on the elements of this function of psychology. He first validates the need for this function, where observations on the convectional form of psychology, necessitating positive psychology are made. Convectional psychology is reported to have evolved in the past half century where out of the sixty disorders identified, fourteen are treatable while two have their cures known. Additionally, remarkable steps such as explanation, measurement and classification of vague concepts have been made. These vague concepts include depression and alcoholism.
To validate the creation and necessity of positive psychology, Seligman reiterates the disadvantages that arose from the convectional psychology especially due to skewed focus of the practice. An emphasis was made on curing and diagnosing defects as well as psychological ailments whereas developing or enhancing the positive attributes in the “normal” people was ignored. Moreover, the prestigious and intellectual discipline of psychology was perceived to enhance victomology, always finding what is wrong to correct it.
Positive Psychology has developed in the past decade with the aim of granting a genius touch and nurturing eye to ordinary people to enhance fulfillment and happiness in life. It focus on the building and construction of a worthy life not only repairing defects or ailments. This branch of science has development means of measuring and classifying different forms of happiness in regards to the causal elements. Three constituents are used to measure this: namely meaning, flow and pleasure.
Conversely, an opposite of the normal diagnostic manual has been created in the field of positive psychology. It entails classification of virtues and strengths aimed at establishing the sex ratio, possible personality enhancers and inhibitors. This has also helped in discovering the causes behind different positive states by observing the relation between the activities of the right and left hemispheres. Consequently, the differentiations in extremely happy people from the ordinary persons have been established.
Professor Seligman, while stating the reasons for extreme happiness, discards the common notions of religion, wealth and luck as being the differentiation factors. He rather suggests extreme sociality as a main differentiator. This sociality entails romantic relationships and a quality circle of friends. Additionally, interventions steering and enhancing positive emotions in individuals are identified normalized and classified. These classifications have enabled specialists in the field of positive Psychology to identify three types of happy lives.
The first happy life is the pleasant life characterized by high levels of positive emotion and skills for amplifying it. This type of life has three disadvantages where the habitual and eventually ineffectiveness is the first. This means due to the habituating factor it ceases being enjoyable. The pleasant life is heritable whereby 20 percent of it can be transferred genetically implying it is not accessible for experience by everyone. The type is the engagement life that is typified irrelevancy of time while engaged in a particular activity. This type of happy life identifies the distinction between pleasure and flow where the first can be felt while the latter cannot. This is illustrated by a person who enjoys their vacation experiencing a positive state while they are at work.
The third from of happy life is a life with meaning and is the deepest from of happy life controlled by the placebo. This is illustrated in the self-worth derived from imparting positively on yourself and environment. This is why philanthropic activities generate higher from of happiness in comparison to merely having fun. However, professor Seligman notes its important the three types of happy lives are integrated to attain optimum happiness in an individual.