A Brief Introduction to Positive Psychology

The blog post briefly introduces you to positive psychology. You can instantly start practicing it by following a few methods suggested in the blog and enjoy the benefits.

Positive psychology is an emerging subfield in psychology that has been prevalent since its development in 1998 by Martin Seligman. Results from the meta-analysis show that positive psychology interventions in one’s life would improve subjective and psychological well-being, besides reducing depressive symptoms.

In this article, let’s look at what positive psychology is and the benefits it offers.

What is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology is the study of the factors that let people live fulfilling lives. Optimizing thoughts, feelings, and behavior for a better life is its key focus. It differs from following the assumptions of the disease model–which concentrates on mental illness–by giving as much attention to the positive attributes of life.

Positive psychology began when Seligman didn’t like psychology fixating on the negatives, like mental illness, trauma, suffering, and others. Becoming president of the American Psychological Association (APA), he started a new subfield of psychology that also emphasize the positives. Positive psychology thus centers on positive experiences and traits, including, joy, love, happiness, gratitude, and compassion.

According to Seligman, positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments (often known as PERMA) are the five elements essential for happiness and well-being. Positive psychology aims to define and pivot on these five factors to maximize its benefits.

A simple way to adopt positive psychology into one’s life would be by writing a gratitude journal. Elaborately writing what we are grateful for would immediately boost happiness. Being kind and helping others when possible is another way. Overall, having an optimistic view of life and the future will help us maintain positive emotions.

What are the Benefits of Positive Psychology?

We can broadly classify the benefits of positive psychology into two categories: happiness and better engagement.

1. Happiness

Happiness increases as people are in a positive, optimistic state. Rather than dwelling on negatives, they can embark on meaningful things that make them happy, and they will be keen to solve problems than vent. As people become more kind, generous, and confident, their relationships with others and society improve, leading them to have a greater outlook on life.

2. Better Engagement

Positive psychology includes narrowing our attention down to our strengths. We become resourceful and perform better if we work on what we are good at. By doing this, we can enter a mental state of “flow” where we fully immerse in what we do or be in the zone.

It makes us resilient and improves our ability to deal with challenges. We can lead a peaceful, purposeful life by attaining fulfillment from meaningful accomplishments.

A Bit of Optimism and Gratitude

So far, we’ve answered the question: what is positive psychology? And we looked at some relevant benefits. Living in a world that seems to have endless bad news in store, imbibing a bit of optimism and gratitude is not a bad idea. Along with working on things that improve our life, it can positively affect the overall quality of our lives.


5 Key Figures of Eastern Philosophy

Eastern philosophy is a collection of philosophies developed in East and South Asia. It includes Buddhism, Yogic philosophy, Vedanta, Taoism, and others. These philosophies are less concerned with rituals and revolve around understanding our relationship with the universe.

Eastern philosophy is a collection of philosophies developed in East and South Asia. It includes Buddhism, Yogic philosophy, Vedanta, Taoism, and others. These philosophies are less concerned with rituals and revolve around understanding our relationship with the universe.

There are differences between Eastern and Western philosophy. While Western philosophy emphasizes individualism, collectivism is the focus of Eastern philosophy. Virtues are central to both systems.

In this article, let’s look at five of the key figures of Eastern philosophy and their origin. We’ll see when they were around and what their key teachings were about.

1. Patanjali

Patanjali was an ancient Indian sage who compiled and systemized the principles of meditation and yoga. While we know little about his era, but can estimate that he lived around the second century B.C. He wrote the Yoga Sutras, a short Sanskrit book from which the contemporary practice of yoga is founded.

The Yoga Sutras lays out ways to achieve a pure, illusion-free state of being, also known as Samadhi. It describes five social restraints and moral codes of yoga (Yamas). They are Ahimsa (non-violence), Asteya (non-stealing), Satya (truthfulness), Aparigraha (non-possessiveness), and brahmacharya (celibacy or fidelity). Patanjali defined yoga as the “restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness.”

Ever since the beginning of the 20th century, yoga has become increasingly prevalent in the Western world. As of now, around 300 million people regularly practice yoga.

Yoga is a restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness


2. The Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama was born to a noble family in 563 BCE in present-day Nepal. He grew up in a palace and had a luxurious life. Later, he left the palace hoping to find spiritual enlightenment through overcoming life’s intrinsic suffering. In his search for answers, he finally attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya.

Buddhism is a philosophical tradition established on Gautama Buddha’s original teachings. The very fabric of Buddhist philosophy is that suffering (dukkha) is an inevitable part of human life.

This suffering is caused by self-centered cravings (tanha) and aversions. People suffer when they cannot attain what they crave or avoid what they dislike. Buddha says that to achieve Nirvana, one must overcome this perpetual cycle of craving and aversion.

Gautama Buddha taught Vipassana meditation, a mindful breathing and body awareness technique that emancipates practitioners from suffering through concentration and discipline. He emphasized Vipassana as a non-sectarian practice that anyone can practice regardless of their religious beliefs.

Being one of the largest “religions” in the world today, roughly 7% of the total population currently practices Buddhism.

3. Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer who lived in the 6th century BCE. He is considered the founder of Taoism. He was an older contemporary of Confucius and a record keeper in the court of the central Chinese Zhou Dynasty.

Lao Tzu is best known for writing the Taoist classic, the Tao Te Ching. It offers a rebellious spiritual philosophy based on an underlying unity of the universe. It says that one returns to the source of being by being simple in their thoughts and deeds.

Taoism is a religious or philosophical tradition that emphasizes living by following Tao. It can be further classified into religious and scholarly Taoism. According to Taoist philosophy, all living species should live in harmony with the universe and its natural vitality.

Chi or “qi” is the life-force energy that pervades and guides everything in the universe. In yoga, this energy is referred to as “prana” which can be modified through breathwork called “pranayama.”

While it’s been over 2500 since its origin, Taoism still has a large following, especially in China. Today, over 74 million people practice Taoism worldwide.

4. Confucius

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher born in 551 B.C in eastern China. He was one of the most influential Chinese sages and his teachings are still relevant in Chinese culture. He started his career as an official, working for aristocratic households in Lu. He later left the service and became a teacher.

Confucianism emphasizes personal, societal, and governmental morality. Its central premise of having a good moral character is essential to impact the collective environment and promote harmony in society. This stems from the belief that human beings are inherently good and capable of improvement.

The Analects” summarize his teachings and for many years served as the backbone of Chinese tradition. According to the Association of Religious Data (ARDA), there are still over 8 million official Confucianists in the world.

5. Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th and 6th centuries. He founded Zen Buddhism in China. Being originally from South India, he later became a Buddhist monk after a curious Chinese emperor summoned him to hear his teachings.

As the story goes, Bodhidharma encountered Buddhist monks in a Shaolin temple who were physically very weak. He stayed for nearly a decade, becoming a monk himself and teaching them how to cultivate physical health, ultimately improving their meditation.

Eastern Philosophy for a Modern World

Eastern philosophy broadly refers to the various schools of Asian thought. Among the most well-known are Buddhism, Yogic philosophy, Taoism, Zen, and Confucianism.

Meditation, self-mastery, and harmonious living are recurring themes in Eastern philosophy. Based on the lasting popularity of practices like Yoga and mindfulness in the West, it’s clear that these teachings have much to offer the modern world.