50 Greatest Positive Psychology Quotes

— Researched and written by Dr. Sandip Roy.

A quote is a great way to inspire us if the words are right. These deep quotes from positive psychology are masterful explanations of how the mind can work to make us happier and grittier.

Let’s get inspired by some of the greatest quotes from positive psychology and classic psychology. The meaningful words in this post come from powerful figures in psychology, past and present.

These deeply psychological quotes will help you understand your true potential in ways you may not have known before. (Honestly, you might be blown away by a few of them!)

We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

— Chuck Palahniuk, (Author of Fight Club)

50 Greatest Quotes of Positive Psychology

Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi define positive psychology as:

“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.”

In simple words. Positive Psychology is the study of what makes human lives worthwhile.

Research in this field has redefined happiness, and we even have a happiness formula. We realize now that the way we act and think during a normal day can have a major effect on our happiness.

The following are some of the most encouraging words to help you feel good and motivated to be joyful. Here are the 50 greatest positive psychological quotes:

• The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life. — Martin Seligman (Father of Positive Psychology)

Martin Seligman's positive psychology quote
Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology quote

• If positive psychology teaches us anything, it is that all of us are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. No one has it all, and no one lacks it all. — Chris Peterson

• Once you start making the effort to “wake yourself up” — that is, be more mindful in your activities — you suddenly start appreciating life. — Robert Biswas-Diener (nicknamed “Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology”)

• As for the future, it remains unwritten. Anything can happen, and often we are wrong. The best we can do with the future is to prepare and savor the possibilities of what can be done in the present.

Todd Kashdan

• It is not primarily our physical selves that limit us but rather our mindset about our physical limits. ― Ellen J. Langer

• A joyful life is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe. — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Father of “Flow”)

Mihaly R. Csikszentmihalyi (1934-2021)

• Love is that micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being. — Barbara L. Fredrickson

• While some pain is probably inevitable in all relationships, successful couples are usually the ones who are able to forgive. — Ilona Boniwell

• Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. — Viktor Frankl

• Love and work are to people what water and sunshine are to plants.

Jonathan Haidt

• The good life is a process, not a state of being. — Carl Rogers

• Probably the biggest insight … is that happiness is not just a place, but also a process. Happiness is an ongoing process of fresh challenges, and… it takes the right attitudes and activities to continue to be happy. — Ed Diener (aka “Dr. Happiness”)

Edward F. Diener (1946-2021)

Take a break now to enjoy this calming and inspiring video of positive psychology quotes:

World's Best Positive Psychology Quotes

• Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it. — Daniel Kahneman (The Winner of 2002 Nobel in Economics)

• The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived. — Søren Kierkegaard (The First Existentialist Philosopher)

• Compassion is one of the few things we can practice that will bring…happiness to our lives. — Dalai Lama (The Exiled Spiritual Leader of The Tibetan People)

• We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.

Virginia Satir (Mother of Family Therapy)

• If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life. — Abraham Maslow (Proponent of The Hierarchy of Needs)

• Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations. — Edward de Bono (Originator of the concept of Lateral Thinking)

• We need each other. The sooner we learn that, it is better for us all.

Erik Erikson

• We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.— Chuck Palahniuk (Author of the award-winning book Fight Club)

The next quote is from a non-psychologist, but it captures the essence of positive psychology. Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs and still has traveled to 50 countries to speak to millions of people, is vastly more inspirational than most of us.

• Life isn’t about having, it’s about being. You could surround yourself with all that money can buy, and you’d still be as miserable as a human can be. I know people with perfect bodies who don’t have half the happiness I’ve found. … The “if I just had X, I would be happy” syndrome is a mass delusion. When you look for happiness in mere objects, they are never enough. Look around. Look within.

Nick Vujicic, speaker, born with Tetra-amelia Syndrome, a rare disorder marked by the absence of arms and legs, author of Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life
Positive psychological quote Nick Vujicic
Positive psychological quote Nick Vujicic

• The truth is, bad things don’t affect us as profoundly as we expect them to. That’s true of good things, too. We adapt very quickly to either. —Daniel Gilbert (Researcher on Affective Forecasting)

• When we encounter an unexpected challenge or a threat, the only way to save ourselves is to hold on tight to the people around us and not let go. — Shawn Achor

• Happiness, not money or prestige, should be regarded as the ultimate currency — the currency by which we take the measure of our lives.

Tal Ben-Shahar (Taught the most popular course in the history of Harvard University, Positive Psychology 1504)

• Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous. — Brené Brown

• Hope has proven a powerful predictor of outcome in every study we’ve done so far. — Charles Rick Snyder

• Every person on this earth is full of great possibilities that can be realized through imagination, effort, & perseverance. — Scott Barry Kaufman

• The best way to find out whether you’re on the right path? Stop looking at the path. — Marcus Buckingham (Founder of The Strengths Revolution)

• Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise. — Sigmund Freud (Founder of Psychoanalysis)

• Follow your dreams. Figure out where you’d like to be, what you would like to be doing, and then figure out what you need to do to get there.

Kennon Sheldon

• Happiness is not out there for us to find. The reason that it’s not out there is that it’s inside us. — Sonja Lyubomirsky (The How of Happiness)

• Becoming is better than being. — Carol S. Dweck (Pioneering Researcher of Mindset)

• Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. — Carl Jung (Founder of Analytical Psychology)

• We transcend grief only when we realize how connected we are with all the other humans who struggle to transcend theirs. — Susan Cain, author of Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole

• Discussing positive experiences leads to heightened well-being, increased overall life satisfaction, and even more energy. — Nathaniel M. Lambert (The Journal of Positive Psychology)

• Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it. —Albert Schweitzer (Philosopher, Physician, Nobel Prize winner)

• Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. — Lao Tzu (Founder of Taoism)

• It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted. Yet, everyone takes the happy person for granted. — Gretchen Rubin

• We can regret less and be grateful for what is good in life.

Barry Schwartz

• The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention. — Sharon Salzberg

• Gratitude … goes far beyond saying “thank you.” When we are grateful, we affirm that a source of goodness exists in our lives. — Robert Emmons (World’s Foremost Researcher on Gratitude)

• Happy marriages are based on a deep friendship, mutual respect, and enjoyment of each other’s company. — John Gottman (Four decades of research on Divorce Prediction and Marital Stability)

The Man's Guide to Women: Scientifically Proven Secrets

• A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. — Paul Romer (Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 2018)

• Denial is a useful defense mechanism until it’s not. — Rosalind Kaplan

• Genuine feelings cannot be produced, nor can they be eradicated. We can only repress them, delude ourselves, and deceive our bodies. The body sticks to the facts.

Alice Miller

• Compassion does not render people tearful idlers, moral weaklings, or passive onlookers, but individuals who will take on the pain of others. — Dacher Keltner (Director of the Greater Good Science Center)

• What stress really does, though, is deplete willpower, which diminishes your ability to control those emotions. — Roy F. Baumeister (Author of Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty)

• When we are open to new possibilities, we find them. Be open and skeptical of everything. — Todd Kashdan

Todd Kashdan’s Positive Psychology quote

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are. I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.

Kurt Cobain, Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter at the grunge-rock band Nirvana
Kurt Cobain’s Biography by his manager Danny Goldberg

When 1 Million Hits Happened!

This is the world’s first collection of famous Positive Psychology Picture Quotes. First published in March 2015, after losing a lot of sweat and sleep, it went on to become something that would make people get into high spirits of positivity, and us into unbelievable satisfaction.

The post saw over 1 million (1,006,505) hits as early as Oct 2016.

As of that date, it had been virally shared over social media, with Facebook shares clocking in at 3,600, Twitter at 551, LinkedIn at 403, and Pinterest at 725. Making it probably the most shared Positive Psychology Quotes post on the internet.

We do feel and continue to feel humbled and grateful to everyone who came to this post and found it useful.

Frankly, we were a little apprehensive about whether people would like it. But when we launched, we felt great satisfaction to see it loved and shared by millions of you.

This post of positive psychology quotes has been copied and re-posted at many places. But frankly, we do not mind. We are rather happy that the words have spread far and wide. We feel proud that it turned out to be the first of its kind.

When we think back, our greatest challenge was to create this post in a format that people could visit again and get motivated each time. So, we made each as picture quotes, which was quite an innovative thing back then.

Positive Psychology Picture Book

We recently brought out a beautiful photo book with the same quotes, and we’d be delighted if you could buy a copy or gift it to someone you care for!

Click to buy our book!

We’re grateful for the kindness of all who shared it. And, yes, Todd Kashdan makes a double appearance!

We tried to include every one of the Who’s Who of Positive Psychology:

Abraham Maslow, Martin Seligman, Chris Peterson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ed Diener, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon Sheldon, Todd Kashdan, Robert Biswas-Diener, Barbara Fredrickson, Ellen Langer, Ilona Boniwell, Daniel Gilbert, Robert Emmons, Dacher Keltner, Jonathan Haidt, Tal Ben-Shahar, Charles R. Snyder, Scott Barry Kaufman, Nathaniel M. Lambert, John Gottman, Shawn Achor.

  • Abraham Maslow, the legendary psychologist behind the Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, was the one who coined and gave us the term positive psychology in 1954.
  • As we searched through publicly available resources, the journey became increasingly fascinating, and we rushed to include Carl Rogers, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung.
  • We also included some “psychological” quotes by a few giants who are not positive psychologists but work in other branches, like social psychology.
  • We also went a little adventurous and included quotes from some inspirational masters of their trade, but incidentally not from the world of psychology, such as Nick Vujicic, Dalai Lama, Paul Romer, and even rock ‘n’ roll legend Kurt Cobain. Their words make us feel optimistic, feel good, and prove that happiness is a choice. Without their words, this post and our world would have been poor.


  1. What are the 5 best quotes from positive psychology?

    1. A joyful life is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe. — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
    2. Love is that micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being. — Barbara Fredrickson
    3. The truth is, bad things don’t affect us as profoundly as we expect them to. That’s true of good things, too. We adapt very quickly to either. — Daniel Gilbert
    4. Happiness, not money or prestige, should be regarded as the ultimate currency — the currency by which we take the measure of our lives. — Tal Ben-Shahar
    5. When we are open to new possibilities, we find them. Be open and skeptical of everything. — Todd Kashdan

  2. What are some journals on Positive Psychology?

Two quotes from the book 50 Positive Psychology Quotes

Final Words

Positive psychology researchers say all of us can create our own happiness through positive psychology interventions (PPI), and these quotes are the quickest shortcuts to happiness. So, keep this page bookmarked, and return whenever you feel like it.

Please share the post on your social networks so that your followers and friends get a booster dose of authentic happiness.

We feel humbled by your love for this post. Thank you, forever!

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