The modern positive psychology movement began in the late 1990s.   Dr. Martin Seligman, who was at the time president of the American psychiatric association, felt that the current field of psychology was too focused on diagnosing and treating psychological disorders and getting patients back to “normal”.   Seligman decided to explore the roots of wellness and optimal functioning. Instead of focusing primarily on “What is wrong with you?” positive psychology chooses to focus not just on the absence of misery, but on character strengths and factors that lead to well-being and optimal happiness. In other words, “What is right with you?”.  

In his book, Flourish, Dr. Seligman introduced the acronym PERMA to reflect 5 elements of well-being. 

Here is a video of Dr. Seligman discussing PERMA: 


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