Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

2014 Edition
| Editors: Alex C. Michalos

Peak Experiences vs. Everyday Feelings

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_2109



Peak experiences are multifaceted transcendental and ecstatic states of extreme happiness, fulfillment, and loss of self in a mystical and transpersonal dimension. They represent crucial components of healthy human functioning which characterize self-actualizing individuals.


Historical Roots

Peak experiences were first described by Abraham H. Maslow (1968, 1970), a prominent founder of humanistic psychology. In his attempt to provide a broader vision of the human being, he paved a “third way” between behaviorism and psychoanalysis and heralded the advent of positive psychology by focusing on human resources and potentials as constituents of healthy human functioning. Maslow maintained that individuals have a strong desire to realize their full potential and to reach self-actualization, that is, a state of harmony, understanding, and accomplishment, at the top of the human...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Cliniche Luigi SaccoUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei TrapiantiUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly