February 02


Posted by aadsera


Affection is a primary need of human beings that consists of giving complete support to another person or living being and that is comprised of the expressions of love, tenderness, kissing, touching, hugging, and supplying basic needs like food, home, education, etc.


Altruism is a behavior that seeks the good of other people or institutions as volunteers, asking nothing in return.


The action and effect of falling in love with someone else. It is an intensive, powerful and captivating emotional process that makes people feel the need to constantly be with the object of their affection, with whom they have started or want to start a relationship.


Assertiveness is the personal behavior skill that allows us to express and defend our views, thoughts and feelings appropriately and in a timely manner, without violating or denying the rights of others.


The adaptation and consistency between what one thinks, feels and says and what one does, according to one’s value system. According to Bernabe Tierno, authenticity is not the same as sincerity, as authenticity has more depth and weight or importance.


According to Carol D. Ryff, autonomy is the regulation of behavior based on one’s own criteria, with self-determined functioning, and resilient to the approval or disapproval of others. People with autonomy are not driven by the fears and beliefs of the masses and get a sense of freedom in their behaviors.


In psychology, balance is the fairness and restraint that people show in their actions and judgments when guided by objectivity and reasonableness.


A psychological and behavioral state characterized by tranquility and emotional control. A calm state prevents the formation of tension and stress when dealing with others in conflict situations. It allows for the cultivation an environment of balance and peace among people.


Attitude of solidarity with the suffering of others. It is the religious dimension of the ability to feel love for fellow human beings.


A deep awareness of the suffering of another person, coupled with the wish to relieve it. There is both an emotional and a cognitive component.


Coping is dealing with stressful situations as problems to be solved rather than to be avoided.


Affectionate and friendly behavior of spontaneous, sincere and candid people.


The demonstration of bravery and the determination to face dangerous situations that requires the control of fear, even at the peril of one’s own life.


Creativity is the ability to create and produce something new. To create is to invent possibilities. People are creative when, starting from a set of stimuli, they see what no one has seen before.


The tendency to explore, experiment and investigate something that is considered new. Curiosity is a natural instinct that is advantageous for survival, as it pushes us to find information in our environment and interact with it. Curiosity facilitates creativity.


The emotional impulse that motivates and leads people to act to get something they want.


Dialogue as attitude is the predisposition to search for understanding between two or more people. The attitude of dialogue is to reach agreements via frank, honest and sincere communication.


Dignity is one of the human rights that people have simply by being human and that makes them feel worthy of respect from others.


In positive psychology, the state of hope laden with positive emotions.


Use of willpower to apply energy and personal resources to the accomplishment of a task.

Emotional intelligence

According to Mayer & Salovey emotional intelligence is a set of abilities that allow us perceiving and expressing emotions, using emotions to facilitate thought, understanding emotions and managing emotions, both one's and other's emotions.


Empathy is the ability to put ourselves emotionally into someone else’s shoes. It is the psychological ability to understand the views of the person we’re talking to, to comprehend their experiences, feelings and convictions.


Mood characterized by elation and optimistic ardor about a task or challenge that a person takes on. According to Bertrand Russell, enthusiasm is the most universal and distinctive sign of happy people, as it indicates that they have a powerful inner strength.

Eudaimonic well-being

Well-being in which the most relevant aspect is the harmonious development of the human potential of each individual. (Contrast with hedonic well-being, which focuses on obtaining pleasure.)


A set of religious beliefs. In Christianity, faith is the first of the three theological virtues. In psychology, having faith in someone is to having confidence in and a good opinion of that person and their good deeds.


Treating others simply, naturally and without social conventions, while also remaining respectful and warm.


Flow is a mental state in which the person is completely absorbed in an activity for the sole purpose of satisfaction and pleasure of doing it. Characteristic of this state is the sense that time flies, that is, losing track of time, forgetting problems and worries.


A decision made by a person who has been wronged by another, to exempt an offense, insult or damage suffered. Forgiveness serves to free us from past wounds and regain well-being, as holding a grudge for harm incurred is injurious to one’s psychological health. Those who can forgive are happier, more balanced and more pleasant.


(This is difficult to define.) The law and faculty that allows a person or group to be responsible for their own actions and to be in control of their own destiny.


An affectionate, affable and accommodating disposition that one person expresses to another. According to Bernabe Tierno, when a person normally behaves in a gentle and affectionate way, it is because that person values friendliness.


A feeling of empathy between people that is built throughout our lives through a series of social gatherings. Authentic friendship is based on virtue and is sincere, noble, altruistic and selfless.


The quality of a person that keeps them from being selfish and makes them inclined to give selflessly of both material goods and, especially, affection and feelings based on friendship and love.


A natural inclination to do good. Goodness implies kindness, understanding, patience and harmony toward others. Authentic goodness comes from a place of simplicity and discretion, not in expecting to receive approval or congratulations.


A feeling that makes us respect or hold in high esteem a benefit or favor which has been done for us and pushes us to respond to it in some way.


(This is difficult to define.) Having happiness is having the ability to enjoy life. The concept of happiness is broader than the concept of well-being, and in fact they are not equivalent concepts. The concept of happiness is broader than well-being because it encompasses many cultural and social domains.

Hardiness (psychological)

Personality pattern formed by positive attitudes and behavior patterns that protect the individual from the impact of negative life events, avoiding potential disasters.

Hedonic well-being

Well-being obtained by the accumulation of happy moments and the satisfaction of desires.


A personality trait that leads a person to behave in life with candor and ethics, according to their value system.


In psychology, hope is the frame of mind in which people have the confidence to get something they want.


A generous and kind attitude in welcoming and hosting a foreign person or a visitor.


An act of the practical display and exercise of human values related to compassion, hospitality, altruism, love, kindness, charity, forgiveness and solidarity.


From the point of view of positive psychology, humility is a personality trait that helps us to have empathy, compassion and altruism toward others. It is also an emotional state that facilitates having a restrained and objective opinion of oneself.

Humor (sense of)

The highly complex cognitive–emotional ability that facilitates laughter. It entails having a playful and optimistic attitude in life, lets us view problems with a positive light, and helps us have happy and constructive expectations for the future.


The cognitive ability to form ideas, search for innovative solutions and plan a project with originality. Imagination is the basis of creativity.


A manner of being sociable, spontaneous and carefree, characteristic of youth, but which can occur in a person of any age.


An enjoyable and lively emotional state which usually manifests in animated words, gestures and behaviors.


A manner of behaving in accordance with the law, fairness and objective reasoning.


An innate and universal emotional expression in human beings, triggered by funny stimuli and that transmits a cheerful and positive mood.

Laughter therapy

Laughter therapy is a group technique that employs games and cheerful behavior to improve the way we perceive life situations, to see them from a cheerful and optimistic perspective.


A personality trait that gives people the ability to motivate, organize and lead a group. One of the most important qualities of a leader is to know how to bring out the best in each individual in the group for the benefit of the group itself.


Relaxing and restorative fun or entertainment that people take part in in order to enjoy their free time.


(This is difficult to define, but I’ll try.) Love is a universal experience in humans which materializes in the act of love, expressing a willingness to give affection to others, respecting, valuing and accepting them as they are, while at the same time looking out for their happiness.


A behavior habit that complies with, in an honest way, the social principles of fildelity and commitment to other people, groups and institutions.


In psychology, the personal trait that makes people behave in a sensible, responsible, unencumbered way, without being carried away by impulsivity, and with the ability to evaluate the consequences of their behavior.


According to Viktor Frankl, meaning is what life challenges us with at every moment. According to Martin E.P. Seligman, a meaningful life is using your own personal strengths and talents to serve something bigger and more important than yourself. This can be done through social, cultural or religious institutions.


A mental exercise of deep contemplation, accompanied by silence, relaxation and breath control. Practitioners divert their attention from environmental stimuli, focusing their mind on images and thoughts that produce a state of calm and well-being.

Mental health

According to Carmelo Vázquez and Gonzalo Hervás, mental health is not just the absence of mental disorders, but also implies a positive mental state, which consists of: a mindset of compassion toward ourselves and others, having positive expectations of the future, an adaptive way of interpreting reality, and having the psychological resources to deal with adversity and to grow as human beings.


A contemplative psychological technique that seeks attention and full awareness. The focus is on what the person feels in the present moment, accepting and living experiences as they occur, without attempting to value or try to change them.


A personality trait that drives a person to appear to others they really are, in a spontaneous and honest way.

Open mind

An open mind is the optimal state of balance between assertiveness and empathy. That is, people enjoy an open mind when they are able to defend their views assertively, but at the same time know how to listen to others and recognize the sage advice that other people can give.


Optimism is a state of mind that, when looking toward the future, helps us see and evaluate things in their most favorable light.


The ability to maintain the harmony and regulation of things in relation to each other, both physical and psychic. Order and organization in life are positive values, because disorder, apathy and neglect of self and relationships with others lead to failure.


In psychology, intense emotional display indicating: 1) a strong desire for another person for whom one feels attraction, or 2) a strong conviction in the performance of an activity, in the discussion of a topic or in exposure of ideas themselves. In the classic sense, passion was often contrasted to reason, because it was believed that passion is dominated by the impulses of the body and dulls the will.


The ability to calmly carry out frustrating or meticulous tasks, enduring setbacks without anger or annoyance. Having patience with others is to allow time for someone else to express themselves and resolve their own conflicts.


(This is difficult to define.) In psychology, having peace is to not be in a state of confrontation with oneself or with others, enjoying calm and quiet. Self-esteem (as defined by Nathaniel Branden) is the primary psychological factor leading to the development of states of inner peace. Love allows us to externalize that inner peace toward people and the world around us.


The ability to engage in achieving set goals, fighting with determination to overcome obstacles and difficulties that arise. Perseverance is closely related to willpower, patience and constancy.

Personal growth

The determination and effort that a person puts into developing their potential in order to grow and expand as a human being.


In children, play is a cheerful and spontaneous behavior performed for the sole purpose of entertainment and fun, and which helps children interact and discover their environment. As people age, play is socialized and practiced based on rules.


Good feelings as a result of doing something that we like. Pleasure is an emotional experience that goes beyond the simple physiological perception.

Positive attitude

Attitudes are predispositions and habitual ways of feeling, thinking and acting according to the values of the person. A positive attitude means being predisposed to facing problems in order to to try to solve them, and seeing things with optimism and hope.

Positive emotions

According to Barbara L. Fredrickson, positive emotions are those emotions that indicate and produce flourishing and lead to well-being. They are joy, curiosity, empathy, love and serenity, among others.

Positive psychology

Positive psychology is a new approach within psychology that focuses on improving quality of life and well-being; studying the qualities, attitudes and positive emotions of human beings; and applying this knowledge in a scientific manner.


According to Stephen R. Covey, being proactive is more than knowing how to take initiative, it means that as human beings, we are accountable for our own lives. Proactive people give priority to values. They recognize their potential in the conduct of their lives and do not blame their behavior on their circumstances or the conditions they face in life.

The project of self

The development and construction of a person’s own life and personality, carried out in order to give meaning to their existence and achieve personal goals. The project of self, if positive, usually involves self-actualization.


The practice of caution and moderation when dealing with other people and situations. Prudence is a virtue because it prevents precipitation and facilitates good judgment to discern what is appropriate and to act wisely.

Quality of life

According to Michael B. Frisch, quality of life can be defined as the extent to which your most important needs, goals, and wishes have been fulfilled.


The cognitive ability that allows people to understand the life’s situations and to be responsible for themselves and their actions, consciously and with awareness.


The state of simultaneous physical and psychic rest while maintaining consciousness. During relaxation the body rests and the mind is freed from all worries.


Resilience is the ability of a person or group to stand and move forward successfully in life despite suffering from traumatic experiences, hardships or possibly serious illnesses.


Consideration and deference toward people or institutions. Respecting others is to accept them as they are and to assess their capacity to think positively, decide and act freely.


The ability to behave sensibly, with common sense and according to rules, in order to take care of yourself and those in your charge. Responsibility is closely related to personality maturity.


In positive psychology, savoring is enjoying the good times of the day-to-day, living in the present without being in a hurry, and focusing attention on everyday experiences that provide satisfaction.


According to Abraham Maslow, self-actualization is the culmination of the satisfaction of human needs: it is the most important psychological need of human beings. It means developing our human potential: accepting oneself, relating in a healthy way to others (with empathy, honesty and assertiveness), knowing how to live in the present with happiness, etc.


The ability to reflect on one's own thoughts, feelings and moods. Self-awareness allows us to step back and to see ourselves in a way that is not determined by external factors or by the opinions of others.


The control of one’s impulses and reactions, especially those of an emotional type. Self-control lets us take charge of our own lives, adaptively and unencumbered by impulsivity.


According to Nathaniel Branden, self-esteem is the sum of confidence and self-respect. It is the conviction that one is competent to live and deserves happiness.

Self-improvement capacity

A positive attitude that promotes a person's desire to improve personally and to overcome life’s challenges.


A psychological state of peacefulness and calm in which there is no physical discomfort or moral conflict. Serenity also refers to the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.


A set of anatomical, physiological, psychological and behavioral characteristics that are specific to each gender (male / female). In a broader sense, sexuality encompasses eroticism and bonds in interpersonal relationships. In a couple, sexuality is an important facet of life because it allows for intimate emotional attachment.


The adaptation and consistency between what is said and what is thought or felt.


An altruistic behavior that makes people feel connected to others who have suffered adversity. Typical channels of solidarity are NGOs and religious charities.

Sound judgment

The ability to make accurate judgments of situations, discerning the truth, beauty and goodness in them so as to act fairly.


According to the VIA Classification of Character Strengths, spirituality is having coherent beliefs about a higher purpose and a meaning in life. Spirituality is often associated with religiousness.


Psychological, moral and physical soundness that gives force to a person in life. The human strengths that positive psychology studies are attitudes and skills based on human values.


The favorable outcome of an action that has required effort. Material success brings happiness only if it is based on human values. Success in interpersonal relationships and success in a life with commitment can often bring true happiness.


The affectionate and loving treatment toward others you love, demonstrated by caresses, kisses and hugs. Tenderness is based on communication through touch, via the skin, the most sensitive organ we have.


The positive change a person experiences as a result of the process of struggle they’re involved in after having suffered a traumatic event. Thriving involves the gradual return to normality and can even lead to a new way of viewing life and more positively.


The ability to respect the ideas, beliefs and customs of others, even if they are different or contrary to your own.


The subjective sense of security that a person feels about the ability, professionalism and diligence of another person. Trust can also refer to the feeling of tranquility we get from the supposition of loyalty and honesty of another person.


In humanistic psychology, understanding is the ability to comprehend another person's situation. Understanding and empathy help guide us in our understanding and treatment of others – understanding stemming from our cognitive side, and empathy from our emotional side.


A pattern of behavior that people demonstrate who live their daily lives in an active and energetic way. Vitality can be facilitated by following a balanced diet, exercising regularly, laughing often, sleeping well at night and participating in creative activities.


The vital status of a person characterized by being satisfied with their lives, experiencing positive emotions often and enjoying physical and mental health according to their own expectations. Well-being is mostly subjective, because it depends on the subjective perception that each person has of their own life.


(This is difficult to define.) The highest degree of knowledge, whether in science, literature, arts or about life itself. Wisdom often entails the ability to provide sound advice to others.

Definitions taken from the book "Positive Psychology Therapies", by Antoni Adsera. © 2012 Antoni Adsera. All rights reserved.

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