1st Edition

Understanding Happiness A critical review of positive psychology

By Mick Power Copyright 2016
    206 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    206 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    We all want to be happy, and there are plenty of people telling us how it can be achieved. The positive psychology movement, indeed, has established happiness as a scientific concept within everyone’s grasp. But is happiness really something we can actively aim for, or is it simply a by-product of how we live our lives more widely?

    Dr. Mick Power, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of Clinical Programmes at the National University of Singapore, provides a critical assessment of what happiness really means, and the evidence for how it can be increased. Arguing that negative emotions are as important to overall well-being as the sunnier sides of our disposition, the book examines many of the claims of the positive psychology movement, including the relationship between happiness and physical health, and argues that resilience, adaptability in the face of adversity, psychological flexibility, and a sense of generativity and creativity are far more achievable as life goals.

    This is a book which will fascinate anyone interested in positive psychology, or anyone who has ever questioned the plethora of publications suggesting that blissful happiness is ten easy steps away.

    1. The Pursuit of Happiness 2. Love and Mania: Disorders of Happiness 3. The Power of Negative Emotions 4. The Happiness Industry 5. A Timeshare in Paradise: Of Gods and the Afterlife 6. Positive Psychology, Health, and Illness 7. Transforming the Self


    Mick Power is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of Clinical Programmes at the National University of Singapore. He has previously worked in universities and hospitals in London, Tromsø, Milan, Beijing, Edinburgh and Lisbon. For many years he has worked with the World Health Organization to develop a measure of quality of life, the WHOQOL, that is now in widespread use throughout the world.

    "Mick Power has done us a great service in helping facilitate a deeper and more nuanced understanding of what happiness is and how we might cultivate it (if not ‘pursue’ it). In particular, Power shows that flourishing does not mean being relentlessly cheerful and ‘positive,’ but rather is a complex tapestry woven from the many-shaded threads of a spectrum of emotional experiences (as indeed the recent ‘second wave’ of positive psychology is beginning to elucidate). There is a skepticism of received wisdom that is bracing, and a bold willingness to be challenging and provocative that will no doubt inspire and enthuse, irritate and provoke, and above all entertain and educate. Brimful with the latest empirical work as well as under-appreciated earlier studies, the book offers a cutting edge appreciation of the 'state of the art' in happiness studies." Dr Tim Lomas, Lecturer in positive psychology, University of East London, Co-author of Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life