“Positive Psychology is not a self-help movement or a re-packaging of “the power of positive thinking.” It is not American-style “happy-ology,” and it is not a passing fad. Positive Psychology is a science that brings the many virtues of science – replication, controlled causal studies, peer review, representative sampling (to name a few) – to bear on the question of how and when people flourish.”
– Robert Biswas-Diener, 2008
Positive psychology – founded by Martin Seligman – is an emerging field of scientific study that focuses on positive human functioning and flourishing. There is a growing body of research and theory circling positive psychology and broadening its reach to all areas of life. It considers multiple dimensions including the biological, cultural, institutional, global, personal, and relational. The main aim is to understand human strengths and how these encourage people to flourish and thrive.
“Positive Psychology takes you through the countryside of pleasure and gratification, up into the high country of strength and virtue, and finally to the peaks of lasting fulfilment: meaning and purpose” (Seligman, 2002)
The science of Positive Psychology has three central dimensions:
The subjective level of positive experiences = Understanding positive emotions (such as joy, satisfaction and flow).
This involves the study of contentment with the past, happiness in the present, and hope for the future. This level is about feeling good, rather than doing good or being a good person.
The individual level of positive traits = Understanding positive individual traits involves the study of strengths – such as the capacity for love and work, courage, or resilience to name a few.
This level aims to identify what the ‘good life’ constitutes of, and what are the personal qualities necessary for being a ‘good person’.
The group level of positive institutions = Understanding positive institutions involves the study of the strengths that foster better communities, such as civic duty, leadership, teamwork, and purpose.
Investigates how institutions can work better to support and nurture all the people they impact.
Why Positive Psychology at work?
At Bailey and French, we believe that the world of work is shifting towards a digital era that underestimates the importance of the human side of business.
We were drawn to the theory of positive psychology because we understand the effectiveness of focusing on people’s best qualities rather than trying to fix what’s wrong. After all, we’ll never flourish and thrive if we approach every task with our weaknesses front-of-mind. We have become specialists in applying the latest scientific research from Positive Psychology to develop innovative people solutions for our clients. We use the principles of positive psychology to underpin all our work with a strengths-based approach that never fails to get results.
What we see time and time again in our work is that this approach brings valuable learning to people that they can use across their whole lives, not just at work. This is what differentiates our training from boring traditional training sessions. The learning feels relevant and practical. It shifts mindsets and it sticks.