psychology is "the scientific study of what makes life most worth living," or "the scientific study of positive human functioning and flourishing on multiple levels that include the biological, personal, relational, institutional, cultural, and global dimensions of life". Positive psychology is concerned with eudaimonia, "the good life", reflection about what holds the greatest value in life – the factors that contribute the most to a well-lived and fulfilling life.
Positive psychology began as a new domain of psychology in 1998 when Martin Seligman chose it as the theme for his term as president of the American Psychological Association. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi and Christopher Peterson are regarded as co-initiators of this development. It is a reaction against psycho-analysis and behaviorism, which have focused on "mental illness", meanwhile emphasising maladaptive behavior and negative thinking. It builds further on the humanistic movement, which encouraged an emphasis on happiness, well-being, and positivity, thus creating the foundation for what is now known as positive psychology.
Guiding theories are Seligman's P.E.R.M.A., and Csikszentmihalyi's theory of flow, while Seligman and Peterson's Character Strengths and Virtues was a major contribution to the methodological study of positive psychology.
Positive psychologists have suggested a number of ways in which individual happiness may be fostered. Social ties with a spouse, family, friends and wider networks through work, clubs or social organisations are of particular importance, while physical exercise and the practice of meditation may also contribute to happiness. Happiness may rise with increasing financial income, though it may plateau or even fall when no further gains are made