Positive Psychology and Philosophical Concepts

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Human development, both from an individual perspective and in a social context, is a subject of study in different disciplines. Positive psychology is a science that views the human being from the standpoint of the aspects of well-being and conditions for positive development. The analysis of emotions and character traits allows for identifying corresponding states and their impact on people’s lives. Positive psychology has evolved over the centuries and has become an independent field in which the foundations of human well-being are the main subjects of study and evaluation.

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The History of Positive Psychology

The foundations of positive psychology were laid many centuries ago in the teachings of ancient philosophers. Snow (2019) mentions “the ancient Greek, Judaeo-Roman, Muslim, Hindu, Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist traditions” (p. 2). The ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, and other prominent thinkers concerned aspects of virtues and character traits that were considered valuable and highly spiritual. Over time, the philosophical concepts of antiquity were not lost but were refined by contemporaries. For instance, Snow (2019) notes the works by Benjamin Franklin, as well as individual social groups, such as the Boy Scouts of America. Modern psychology can learn much from a branch of positive well-being since many concepts and theories involve evaluating the markers of happiness as significant analytical variables. In addition, this sphere includes a wide range of ideas based on religious, social, and other backgrounds. Therefore, today, modern science about the principles and development of the human psyche is enriched with findings from positive psychology.

Positive Emotions

Positive emotions are a reflection of a person’s favorable perception of an environment or situation. These markers of well-being are significant elements that allow describing an individual character, specific factors and stimuli, as well as the characteristics of the psyche. Fredrickson (2013) lists the top ten most common positive emotions: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. Some of them appear less frequently, and some more often, but they all carry positive feelings and reflect a person’s good mood.

The aforementioned emotions and their periodic manifestations are important conditions for well-being. According to the speaker performing at TEDMED (2016), too much emphasis on negative emotions reflects “a very one-sided image of the human experience.” In other words, the more often a person experiences the feelings of joy, inspiration, love, and other positive emotions, the more versatile thinking becomes, and the wider the spectrum of world perception is affected. For a full life in society, people need to experience pleasant sensations to avoid various disorders, for instance, depression. Therefore, positive emotions are markers of well-being and are valuable components of a healthy psyche.

Positive Traits

Positive traits are personality features that are recognized virtues and reflect an individual’s ability and readiness for well-being, including experiencing positive emotions. Al Taher (2021) categorizes these traits according to characteristic manifestations and categorizes the 24 character virtues into six main groups: courage, wisdom (knowledge), temperance, humanity, transcendence, and justice. Each of these classes includes character features that reflect positive personality traits, for instance, love (humanity), gratitude (transcendence), teamwork (justice), honesty (courage), and others.

The aforementioned traits are important components that form the philosophy of positive psychology. As Al Taher (2021) remarks, experts in this field assess the corresponding manifestations of the human psyche through their behavior and their perception of the world. Positive traits are the markers of well-being and are often the objectives to achieve in interventions and programs to help people with different disabilities. Therefore, in the context of the philosophy of positive psychology, corresponding character traits may be called the result of targeted work to create a favorable worldview.

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Positive Traits and the Development of Positive Institutions

Social institutions are environments in which a person interacts with other people by forming attachments and demonstrating specific features, for instance, love, education, and some others. Behavior in these groups directly affects the nature of the relationship among its members. Accordingly, the more positive traits a person shows through social interaction, the higher the likelihood of the formation of positive institutions. Shoshani and Steinmetz (2014) give an example of family support that is a consequence of successfully implemented positive traits and is possible when all members of this institution cultivate love and respect for one another. The inability to form normal relationships in different environments, in turn, may be caused by the lack of manifestation of the necessary character features when a person is passive to the interests of institutions. As a result, positive traits are important tools for socialization and forging beneficial interactions in different environments.


The formation of positive psychology as an individual branch has taken place over the centuries, and the ancient philosophers’ concepts about virtues have become a valuable background. This science includes assessing and analyzing positive emotions and traits as factors that determine the human perception of the world and behavioral characteristics. Well-being is largely based on these criteria, and positive institutions as environments for social interaction are built with the help of corresponding character traits.


Al Taher, R. (2021). The classification of character strengths and virtues. Positive Psychology. Web.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Positive emotions broaden and build. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 1-53. Web.

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Shoshani, A., & Steinmetz, S. (2014). Positive psychology at school: A school-based intervention to promote adolescents’ mental health and well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(6), 1289-1311. Web.

Snow, N. E. (2019). Positive psychology, the classification of character strengths and virtues, and issues of measurement. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 14(1), 20-31. Web.

TEDMED. (2016). The positive effects of positive emotions [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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"Positive Psychology and Philosophical Concepts." PsychologyWriting, 16 July 2022, psychologywriting.com/positive-psychology-and-philosophical-concepts/.


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Positive Psychology and Philosophical Concepts'. 16 July.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Positive Psychology and Philosophical Concepts." July 16, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/positive-psychology-and-philosophical-concepts/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Positive Psychology and Philosophical Concepts." July 16, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/positive-psychology-and-philosophical-concepts/.


PsychologyWriting. "Positive Psychology and Philosophical Concepts." July 16, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/positive-psychology-and-philosophical-concepts/.