The Toronto Centre for Positive Psychology




Below is a sample of topics central to Positive Psychology. Each item is listed with links to relevant research labs. There are of course, many other areas of research; only a sample is presented below.

Positive emotions:

Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina, has found evidence that experiencing positive emotions has beneficial effects on our creativity, productivity, and physiology. 


The happy medium between being bored or overly challenged, the state of "flow", has been extensively studied by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly at Claremont Graduate University. Csikszentmihaly has examined the benefits of flow for productivity and well-being.


Robert Emmons, at the University of California Davis, has found that training ourselves to focus our attention on what is good in our lives not only has long-lasting effects on our mood, but can also improve our sleep and boost our energy levels.

Character Strengths:

Identifying each of our individual strengths (from wisdom to creativity) has been shown to increase effectiveness and well-being. 

Selected Positive Psychology Books:

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment, by Martin E.P. Seligman

Feeling Good: The Science of Well Being, by C. Robert Cloninger

Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived, Edited by Corey L.M. Keyes and Jonathan Haidt

Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning,by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener

The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, by Martin E.P. Seligman

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less,by Barry Schwartz

Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths, by C.R. Snyder and Shane J. Lopez

Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive, by Barbara Fredrickson

Pursuit of Happiness, by David G. Myers

Stumbling on Happiness, by Dan Gilbert

Selected Positive Psychology Overview Articles :

Positive Psychology: An Introduction, Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000

What (and Why) Is Positive Psychology?, Gable and Haidt, 2005

A Balanced Psychology and a Full Life, Seligman, Parks, & Steen, 2004

Positive Health, Seligman, 2008 

Positive Education: Positive Psychology and Classroom Interventions, Seligman, Ernst, Gillham, Reivich, & Linkins, 2009

Other Related Links:

Academy of Cognitive Therapy

Albert Ellis Institute (formerly Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy)

American Psychological Association (APA)

Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research

Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) 

Canadian Positive Psychology Association (CPPA)

Diener Well Being Website

European Network of Positive Psychology

Happiness Research Database

Journal of Positive Psychology

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Participate in the Personality Strengths Project

Participate in Well Being Research

Pay It Forward Foundation

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

University of Pennsylvania Psychology Department

Values in Action Institute


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