Harry Potter Positive Psychology 2.0 Dr. Lilian Jans-Beken

Harry Potter and Positive Psychology 2.0

With closing the book of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, my Christmas holiday is over. It had been a few years since I had read the Harry Potter books and I was looking forward to reading the entire series again. A Christmas holiday is the perfect period for that, and I enjoyed reading the books very much. I just couldn't help not only to enjoy it this time, but also to look at it from the perspective of positive psychology 2.0.

Positive psychology 2.0 wants to get the best out of people and societies, despite and even because of the dark side of human existence. Well, I don’t think life gets darker than Voldemort – the Dark Lord – who makes Harry’s life extremely miserable. He sows death and destruction and he is unable to feel love. He takes the lives of Harry’s parents James and Lily, his godfather Sirius Black, his elf Dobby and many more loved ones. Mourning for lost loved ones is therefore a recurring theme in the books.

Harry also faces setbacks from a different angle. Hogwarts professors who make his life miserable, humiliate him and prevent him from doing fun things such as playing quidditch and taking a day trip to Hogsmeade with his friends. This makes Harry very sad, but he also finds strength in it. He is determined to achieve his goals, no matter what. He receives help from his friends Ron Weasly and Hermione Granger and from other professors who are well disposed towards Harry. It shows that the people around us are very important when life takes a wrong
turn. They can help us to go on in life.

Harry shows courage in the last book. Courage to face evil with an open mind because it is inevitable what is to come. It is inevitable that we will have dark periods in our lives and if we realize that, we can arm ourselves against it in advance. Gratitude for what has been, optimism about the future and acceptance of the present strengthen our resilience. Setback teaches us new insights that we bring to the rest of our lives. Setbacks make us grow.

Now, my Harry Potter books go back into my bookcase. In the coming months, I am continuing my research on positive psychology 2.0 and gratitude. So, stay tuned for updates on this research and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.



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