Balancing Time + Positive Psychology

Balancing Time Positive Psychology2

To dive a little deeper, let’s further define these perceived experiences of past, present, and future.


  1. Concentration on negative past: reliving traumas, heartbreak, disappointments, past sadness

  2. Concentration on positive past: ”stuck the glory days,” if you will. Focus on past positives that are no longer present

  3. Hedonistic concentration on present: ”here and now,” but with a high risk and pleasure-seeking aspect. Disregard for past and future. No consideration of consequences.

  4. Fatalistic concentration on present: believing that we have no agency over the future, so why try? Passive, pessimistic

  5. Active concentration on present: ”here and now,” while honoring each passing moment and seeing value in the present

  6. Concentration on future: goal orientation, planning, formulating


Clearly, Active Concentration stands out as an appealing temporal time perspective. But it’s important to remember that balance of all three time periods is the key to well-being, at least according to the research.


Today, consider how balanced you are between past, present, and future right now. If you find an imbalance, that’s to be expected. How can you take one step towards more balance; honoring the past, soaking in the present, and anticipating the future?

Boniwell, I. and Zimbardo, P.G. (2015). Balancing Time Perspective in Pursuit of Optimal Functioning. In Positive Psychology in Practice, S. Joseph (Ed.). https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118996874.ch13

Sobol-Kwapinska, M., Jankowski, T. Positive Time: Balanced Time Perspective and Positive Orientation. J Happiness Stud 17, 1511–1528 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-015-9656-2

(2015, March). Positive Psychology in Practice: Promoting Human Flourishing in Work, Health, Education, and Everyday Life, 2nd Edition. Wiley Publishing.