A Balanced Psychology and a Full Life Essay

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Summary: This article is written by Martin E.P Seligman, and is largely about the modern

interpretations of happiness and the way psychology has been dealing with improperly by only

looking at how to minimize pain and not maximize happiness. He starts the article by recounting

some of history of psychology that led to the current state of affairs, beginning at World War 2.

He claims that right before WW2 there were 3 main objectives to psychology: curing mental

illness, making untroubled people happier, and studying genius/talent. These all fell by the

wayside after WW2 however as all of the funding began to flow towards the study of mental

illness, not towards the study of mental health. This was mainly because
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This can be true even if the method to achieving this is itself

unpleasant. The third method is revolves around using your strengths to gain a sort of

gratification that is greater than oneself. This is called meaning, where we strive for something

higher that ourselves in order to gain a lasting purpose in life.

The third section of this article is about methods to nurture the three routes to happiness.

Seligman starts by saying that different interventions have been developed for each route and are

also in the process of testing. Preliminary results would suggest that it is possible to increase a

person’s happiness level and that these effects do not fade immediately after the tests. He stresses

that these tests (a few of which he describes in detail) are for increasing happiness and not for

just decreasing suffering. He ends the article by talking about his optimism and goals for the

future of his discipline. He stresses the idea of balancing the field of psychology, saying that this

will happen when there is no longer a distinction between positive psychology and regular



This Article, while being written about an ambiguous topic like happiness, still manages

to stay on point and manages to sound very scientific. One of the main ways he does this is by
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