We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas and theories about what happiness is and how we can get it. So what is it? And is happiness something we can pursue?

Recently we have seen a dramatic rise of scientific studies in positive psychology or neuroscience that seek to discover not only what makes people happy but what makes what is the best in the world, such as outstanding performance in sport as in business.

Fortunately, many of these studies demonstrate specific ways to think and act that can strongly influence our sense of well-being and happiness, and support our success. The resulting discoveries advance counselling practices, clinical psychology, psychiatry and coaching, and connect modern science with much older traditions, such as meditation, yoga and other body and spiritual practices.

Positive Psychology Coaching courses are appreciative, in that they are aimed at identifying sources of strength and resources. They can be tailored to the needs of the individual or organisation and cover topics such as happiness, well-being, character strengths, embodiment, mindfulness, presence, focus, resilience, relationships, purpose, leadership or performance.

In our private lives they can help us self-direct our happiness, nurture our relationship, and add meaning to our lives.

In our professional lives, a lot of people aspire to be more productive so as to be happier but research in Positive Psychology (the science of growth and extraordinary performance) and Neuroscience has demonstrated that happiness leads to productivity, and has discovered the tools to develop it.

Work on happiness in business has an impact on our engagement, our productivity and sales, on our relationship to colleagues, managers and staff and on the climate and culture of a company. As executives or employees, it has an impact on our resilience in relation to the risk of burnout.

And, of course, even if we focus on professional life, more benefits of this work lie outside of business, in personal and family life.

Sebastien Martineau is an Aikido teacher and psychologist, expert in the application of positive psychology in business and personal development, offering positive psychology coaching to businesses and individuals.