The Power of Positive Psychology

Anna Abenhaim

The United Nations created an International Day of Happiness in 2012, celebrated worldwide and every year on March 20. Happiness has indeed become a growing and common concern across the world. Being happy today – being happier – seems to be everybody’s top priority. This topic of common interest has become the object of an increasing number of studies, before becoming, in the late 1990s, a discipline itself. Positive Psychology, or the Science of Happiness, was born.

Professor Ben-Shahar

Positive psychology started as a new branch of psychology in 1998, with the creation of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. This new positive branch of psychology as a science, complements – without replacing – the more traditional side of the discipline. This ‘science of happiness’ looks at how people can aim towards a happier and more satisfactory life. Positive psychologists focus on humans’ most basic emotions whether there are positive (joy, love, hope) or negative (anger, sorrow, fear), in order to reach a better balance between them all.
‘I was a computer science major at Harvard, I was very successful at school and everything (…) From the outside, my life looked great, but I wasn’t feeling happy inside.’ That’s how Tal Ben-Shahar’s journey in positive psychology started.

He felt that a lot of research was done in the field of anxiety and depression, but that we most importantly needed to conduct serious studies in the field of happiness, and shift the focus to positive emotions. Prof. Ben-Shahar, an Israeli-American writer and lecturer, is today the leading expert in the field of positive psychology. He taught the most popular course of all time at Harvard University, ‘Positive Psychology’, attended by more than 1400 students.

Tal moved back to Israel and teaches today at IDC Herzliya. He lectures around the world about happiness, education, innovation, leadership, self-esteem etc. and is the author of several world-renowned books, translated in more than 25 languages.

Happiness 101

Tal’s main mission today: spread the word, and spread happiness. Indeed, Prof. Happiness, as he is known, is also the co-founder of the soon to be launched Happier.TV, an international online platform aiming at ‘making happiness accessible to the public’. Happier.TV is combining education and entertainment in the most accessible way in order to spread happiness. Happier.TV’s main mission is to help individuals and communities flourish by offering a large range of workshops, interviews and lectures, drawing from psychology to philosophy and from business to art. This accessible online content is intended to help improve the quality of society’s personal and professional lives.
Prior to the launch of Happier.TV, Mr. Ben-Shahar held a lecture in Tel Aviv – ‘Happiness 101’ – to give the public a grasp on what he teaches in his world-famous course, which will soon be available on Happier.TV.

Prof. Happiness focused on the five ‘Happier.TV Zones’ – The Self, Parenting & Relationships, Business & Career and Health – explaining that these zones are interconnected and that increasing levels in one zone will result in an increase in the other zones. A few tips and recommendations from Dr. Happiness – the importance of the connection mind-body is essential – the happiest people are those with the richest social lives – we need love and touch as much as we need the air we breathe.

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