Research on happiness is grounded in the branch of psychology which is called positive psychology. Positive psychology is the study of what makes life worth living and focuses on empirical studies of positive emotions, strength-based character, and healthy institutions. With the insides researchers gain, they don’t just want to heal psychological damage, but want to explore how people build strenght to enable themselves living a happy and fulfilled life.
There will always be drawbacks and challenges, but what matters is how we respond. Why are some people able to respond in a way that doesn’t harm them? How do they bounce back? What makes them resilient to challenges and obstacles? What are the circumstances which enable us to be happy? Why do some people have realistic goals and are able to reach them within their resources to live a meaningful life? What behaviours lead to true happiness?
Positive psychology summarizes various theories about the above named questions. It isn’t just concerned with purpose and meaning in life, but also with positive relationships, engagement, positive emotions, and character strength. The theory about happiness by the founder of modern positive psychology, Martin Seligman, is called „Authentic Happiness“. His theory distinguishes between three kinds of happiness: the Pleasant Life (pleasures), the Good Life (engagement), and the Meaningful Life. To live a happy life, it is essential to fulfill all three kinds of happiness.