The power of positive psychology

21 April 2016
Love it!

As published in Feeling GOLD on 20/04/2016

Pascale Naessens is always searching for meaning. In her cookbooks, you’ll encounter scientific notes on nutrition as well as simple philosophical musings. This is how she discovered positive psychology. She read books by Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology and spoke with Fredrike Bannink, a clinical psychologist, about the practical applications. And thereby revealing quite a lot about herself.

'You must be very happy with your success?’ That’s a question I’m starting to hear more often in interviews. And yes, I am happy, but not solely because of my success. My partner will usually also want to know why I am happy. For a more concrete explanation, I turned to scientific literature for the answer because it’s something that I like to do. It quickly became clear, the answer was positive psychology. Apparently, I’d been practising it quite intuitively for years: I cultivate positive psychology and I heartily recommend it.

The purpose in everyone’s life

I read an interesting quote from psychologist Martin Seligman in Elke Geraerts’ book Mental Capital (Mentaal Kapitaal): ‘Success doesn’t bring happiness, but happiness brings success’. I was so intrigued by that sentence that I did some further research. Those who google the name Seligman are immediately introduced to the term ‘positive psychology’ and to books with such titles as Authentic Happiness (Gelukkig zijn kun je leren), Flourish... Seligman is not simply a dreamer, he’s a scientist and a former Chairman of the American Psychological Association. Finally, I thought, someone not afraid to use the word ‘happiness’. You usually hear that happiness is nonsense or that happy people are drifting dreamers. I’m not afraid to voice my purpose in life: it’s to be happy. But isn’t that the ultimate goal of all of us? Why shouldn’t you embrace it?


* These are a few excerpts from the article. The full article can be found on the PDF file (in Dutch) below.

‘The cure to life’s little dips is other people.'


'I can still get childishly happy when I’ve created a lovely pot.'