What is positive psychology and why is it important

Highlighting strengths can bring more significant results to a business. After all, happy teams that have their efforts valued are more productive. However, we know that in the corporate environment, challenges and conflicts can interfere in this process. Hence the importance of applying positive psychology.

Positive psychology is a branch of science that is concerned with the personal and professional development of talent . For this, it emphasizes the positive aspects without, however, ceasing to stimulate learning. Thus, good practices to improve performance and promote well-being result in more engaged and motivated teams.

In this text, we explain what positive psychology is and how to use this concept in your team. Continue reading and find out more!

What is Positive Psychology?

The great premise that guides positive psychology is the perception of happiness as the starting point of human behavior and conduct — inside and outside organizations. In this way, positive psychology focuses on actions that aim to increase the feeling of satisfaction and well-being .

American psychologist Martin Seligman, considered the father of positive psychology, introduced the concept in the 1990s. The theory argues that science must go beyond mental illness and focus on what truly works.

Therefore, unlike traditional psychology, this aspect directs attention to the improvement of what is already strong in each person’s profile . Traditional molds, in turn, focus on identifying pathological issues that involve the mind and interfere with performance.

In this context, the new view on the human psychological state also addresses other elements. Thus, aspects such as optimism, positive emotions, emotional intelligence, purpose and other issues related to well-being and happiness are observed. After all, happy people always see the glass as half full.

What are the main pillars of Positive Psychology?

According to Martin Seligman , positive psychology is based on three pillars that need to be studied, investigated, worked on and developed. Are they:

  • individual characteristics: this pillar studies virtues, personal strengths, the capacity for affection, forgiveness, spirituality, talent, wisdom and interpersonal skills;
  • the subjective experience: studies the subjective well-being of flow states, optimism, positive emotions regarding the past, flourishing and happiness in relation to the future;
  • communities and institutions: studies the civic virtues and institutions that move individuals towards citizenship.

To further support the concept, Seligman, in his book “Authentic Happiness”, established a model of happiness using five other pillars, represented by the acronym PERMA. See what he explains about each of them below.

1-Positive emotions

Represents the letter P of the acronym. This pillar encompasses positive emotions, going beyond joy and satisfaction. It also includes feelings such as enthusiasm, optimism, pride, admiration, grit, and perseverance.

In this pillar, the individual must be encouraged to maintain positive emotional states and train the brain for better emotional control. In this way, he will be able to prioritize the feelings and internal triggers that enhance happiness and well-being.


The next pillar is engagement, represented by the letter E. It refers to involvement in activities that arouse interest, providing a voluntary and immersive state of dedication to a certain goal.

Although this is a subjective factor, when identified, it can lead people to see routine activities as really special and important actions.


Relationships, or the letter R in the acronym, cover family, professional, romantic and friendship relationships in general. After all, they are essential to fuel positive emotions.

This is because the way people interact and seek support from each other tends to strengthen the desire to improve qualities and correct flaws . This is a trend that mainly happens when support comes from positive and optimistic people.


Meaning, translated by meaning, is the letter M of the acronym. It is the meaning and purpose that guides human emotions, motivating action according to dreams, needs or what one believes.

Therefore, it is essential that each individual find a meaning for life. After all, he must justify moments of crisis and difficulties, giving strength to overcome challenges.

5-Accomplishments (Accomplishments)

Now, let’s go to the last letter of the acronym, the A. It encompasses the search for success, which can be individual or collective. In this way, it brings the idea of ​​planning activities from the perspective of positive achievement. With this, this pillar contributes to the best use of achievements, without wasting time on what is not relevant.

From these points of approach, positive psychology introduces and improves techniques for evaluating personal strengths and human virtues. After all, the more efficient the investigative process, the easier it will be to define good actions that contribute to the prevention of behavior problems and even diseases.

What is the importance of Positive Psychology for career development?

The emotional state causes reactions that can be positive or negative, depending on the situation experienced. However, when the company is able to assess the emotions of employees and understand their needs, it can act prioritizing the strong and positive aspects.

It is the opportunity for HR, together with the leaders, to create and put into practice a career and human development program. Thus, by prioritizing emotional issues and emphasizing positive points, employees see themselves at the center. This makes them see themselves as an important axis for the business, increasing engagement and motivation.

Well-being as an agenda in organizations

Mental health and well-being, as well as the means of promotion, are on the agenda in most organizations. This shows the urgency of finding mechanisms that value the strengths of employees much more. This mindset shift contributes to improving team satisfaction and performance.

These are the nuances that determine the direction of a business, especially when considering that people are primarily responsible for productivity and results. Therefore, positive psychology is an essential gain for companies that see the workforce as their most precious asset.

In this way, valuing individual potential, highlighting qualities and stimulating positive feelings is the most appropriate way for everyone to find balance within themselves. This harmony will help to deal with emotions in situations of challenges and uncertainties, making people choose to see the positive aspects of life.

How can management work Positive Psychology?

After knowing the concept and pillars of positive psychology, it becomes easier to understand how beneficial it can be for a company.

Both HR and managers in general can use these principles. They are fundamental to promoting actions that focus on happiness as a driving force for motivation and fulfillment.

In this context, it is possible to choose paths that lead to a positive state of organizational development. This happens from the identification and understanding of personal emotions and their impact on the collective. Thus, it is possible to direct efforts to improve and highlight the strengths of each professional.

See some elements that can be worked on within the organization!

1-Training and developing better leaders

Leadership exerts great influence on teams, being one of those responsible for the behavior of employees. Therefore, developing its positive aspects will allow this professional to be able to identify and praise human virtues.

By valuing the potential of each talent, recognizing their strengths, the relationship between leader and team tends to improve. This, of course, without neglecting the importance of developing weaknesses. This balance is good for the work environment and for personal and organizational growth .

2-talent development

As much as the focus of positive psychology is to highlight and value what each person is strong, it is also focused on improvement. So, if there are skills and competences to be developed, it is important that the management is attentive and promotes actions that favor this learning.

After all, the most talented professionals are those who are not careless and are always looking to improve their careers. Therefore, it is essential to offer development opportunities so that everyone feels encouraged. Thus, they will have the means and incentive to improve skills and explore potential.

3-Building more harmonious teams

Most companies dream of having a harmonious working environment and a healthy organizational climate . To reach this level, teams need to be aligned with each other and with their leaders. This harmony can be achieved through several factors, such as:

  • the alignment between the needs of employees and the company’s objectives;
  • the relationship of trust between leaders and people led;
  • clear and objective institutional communication;
  • the appreciation and development that trigger a sense of belonging.

All these factors are essential to promote the identification of employees with the company. And, from that, aspects such as satisfaction, creativity and engagement are also improved.

4-positive organizational culture

The essence of an organization translates into its culture, that is, the set of values, conduct and rules that guide its existence. The more positive and structured the culture, the greater the focus on virtues and potentialities.

A good organizational culture strengthens the bonds and the relationship between the company and the individuals who work in it. Thus, employees will feel more valued and encouraged to participate more effectively. This helps them feel more comfortable to express opinions and suggest innovations.

How can Positive Psychology be a corporate strategy?

The speed of changes that occur in the world and in the organizational scenario has made companies need to reinvent themselves. Organizations must review concepts and add mechanisms to adapt to new formats — which requires improving people management .

As you’ve seen, positive psychology is a potent tool. In addition to taking care of the subjective aspects of the human condition, it presents a differentiated view of the value that people should have for an organization.

Therefore, investing in happiness and well-being is a smart strategy that transforms and improves relationships and the work environment. But more than that, it also changes people from the inside out, regardless of their position in the company. And that is the purpose of positive psychology!

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