happiness

In August 1998, with his presidential address to the American Psychological Association in San Francisco, Martin Seligman launched the positive psychology movement. In the two decades since then it has caused, according to its architect, a ‘tectonic upheaval’ in the...

Here’s a fact about me: I used to have a job embalming and dissecting dead bodies for a local medical school. They were used to teach students about surgery and anatomy. Since then, I always ‘win’ any debate about who’s had the worst job. But it’s a pyrrhic victory,...

While Martin Seligman is well-known for his recent work on positive psychology, he trained and grew up with the work of Freud and Schopenhauer still the basis of much thought in the field: it was assumed that the best we could hope for was to not be miserable. At the start of...

It was good to see that Mihalyi Ciskszentmihalyi was featured in the article ‘Making a difference’ in The Psychologist (March 2017). His work on enjoyment, flow and happiness using the...

Positivity is a booming industry. Thousands of books, countless blogs and news stories, untold quantities of internet memes, and quite a bit of legitimate science sing the praises of happiness and positive thinking. This sentiment is not new, of course. Its roots precede the...

There has been an explosion of popular interest in the topic of happiness in the last decade involving psychologists (Ben-Shahar, 2008; Lyubomirsky, 2014) and economists (Layard, 2011; Dolan, 2015). Journalists and headteachers have been getting in on the act (Bormans, 2012;...

Children in England show some of lowest levels of happiness with their school lives, compared with 14 other countries surveyed by The Children’s Society. Bullying seems a particular problem with more than half a million 10 and 12-year-olds having been physically bullied each...

You’ve had a varied career – from directing TV programmes, to helping to set up the Consciousness and Experiential Section of the British Psychological Society, to helping to ‘make Slough happy’. What originally got you into psychology?
At school I...