All posts filed under: positive psychology

4 Easy Ways to Encourage Positive Emotions

Positive emotions such as joy, love, amusement, gratitude and pride are the foundations of a flourishing life. Experiencing positive emotions not only makes us feel good but encourages creativity and social interaction. Positive emotions also broaden our perspective. Think about a time when you last felt inspired – did anything seem possible? Or a time when you felt deep awe – did your personal problems fade away with the realisation of something far greater? How can we cultivate positive emotions and experience more of them? Boosting both our health and happiness. According to Positive Psychologist Dr. Barbara Fredrickson – who has spent over 20 years studying positive emotions, there are four steps to increasing our positivity ratio. To be clear, the idea isn’t to avoid negative emotions – we need those in order to grow and flourish too – but instead, to counteract the negativity by boosting our ratio of positive emotions. The four steps are: Allow yourself to go back and re-experience positive emotions on a regular basis. Remembering what different positive emotions feel like allows us …

Ditch Those Toxic Tech Habits and Become a Better Version of You! 

Care to admit it or not, we’ve become a nation of tech addicts who spend more time looking at our screens each day than sleeping (on average 8 hours 41 minutes). When the average adult picks up their phone over 150 times a day, it’s hardly surprising that 69% of children say their parents spend too much time on technology. If we look at the building blocks of happiness found in Positive Psychology Professor Martin Seligman‘s PERMA model, we find five key areas we need to nurture and cultivate in order to live our most happy and flourishing life. These are – POSITIVE EMOTIONS ENGAGEMENT RELATIONSHIPS MEANING  ACCOMPLISHMENT So what’s the impact of our technology addiction on each of these building blocks? And how do our digital devices stop us feeling, thinking and experiencing happiness? Let’s take a closer look at what toxic habits we could give up in order to boost our happiness. 1. POSITIVE EMOTIONS (P) You’ve heard it before and yet you continue to watch one last episode of your favourite TV …

How to Master the Art of Being Alone

Are you scared to be alone? Do you only spend time by yourself when you’re forced to? Why is solitude always met with negative connotations? In this scientific based TED Talk, Thuy-vy Nguyen explores what happens to us when we’re alone and how simply shifting to choosing to be alone, can help us to cultivate positive emotions and feelings of peace and relaxation.    

Want to Feel More Fulfilled? Go Find your Flow!

Time stands still, oblivious to your surroundings, the world is set to pause, fully absorbed on your task at hand, focused and concentrating, time disappears and you become completely lost. Psychologists call these fully absorbent times, ‘flow states’ or a ‘heightened state of consciousness’. Times when our skills and competency are tested and our ability is just about sufficient to meet the challenge. Stretching us to our maximum limits. If the challenge is too easy, we become bored and lose interest. Too hard and we become anxious and want to give up. So flow can only be found under very specific conditions. Perhaps you find yours completing a difficult crossword or playing a musical instrument. You might find it writing up a new project at work or giving a public speech. Learning a new skill like tiling your bathroom! Regularly finding flow is incredibly important to achieving inner happiness because it leaves us feeling worthy, satisfied and pushes our personal growth by testing our limits. We ultimately feel fulfilled and proud of ourselves, which does wonders for our self-esteem. Unfortunately, time spent scrolling social media sites, watching netflix and answering whataapps doesn’t …

Poetry Friday

Self-Observation Without Judgement  Release the harsh and pointed inner voice. It’s just a throwback to the past, and holds no truth about this moment. Let go of self-judgment, the old, learned ways of beating yourself up for each imagined inadequacy. Allow the dialogue within the mind to grow friendlier, and quiet. Shift out of inner criticism and life suddenly looks very different. I can say this is only because I make the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to acknowledge the real me. What’s needed here isn’t more prodding toward perfection, but intimacy – seeing clearly, and embracing what I see. Love, not judgement, sows the seeds of tranquility and change. by Danna Faulds

10 Keys to Happier Living

To celebrate World Mental Health Day earlier this month, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) collaborated with Action for Happiness to produce a “10 Keys to Happier Living” poster. Listing everyday actions to boost wellbeing and improve your mental health. It’s a wonderful tool to print out and refer to when you’re feeling a bit low or out of kilter. You could even check it every day and take positive action to protect your mental health. Download a printable pdf here –  10-keys-to-happier-living  

A Letter of Self-Compassion

Are there elements about yourself that you dislike? Things that make you feel frustrated, angry, anxious or embarrassed? We all have aspects of ourselves that we find it difficult to be with, and when our inner critics take over, they can be incredibly harsh and belittling. Leaving us feeling unworthy and ashamed. Compare this to the way we might talk to a friend when they’re feeling low or unhappy with themselves. Why are we so quick to show kindness and compassion to others and yet have zero patience for ourselves? A Letter of Self-Compassion is a positive psychology intervention tool which aids in boosting self-compassion, so whenever you’re giving yourself a particularly hard time, or in need of some self-love, see what positive impact this might have: Take a pen and paper Sit down and think about one of your perceived flaws, or something you’ve been giving yourself a hard time about Write in detail about how this inadequacy makes you feel Now turn the page, and start to write yourself a letter from the point of view of a …

Be happy. Be productive. Build PERMA.

We all want to be happy. When we’re happy we look on the bright side of life, take ourselves less seriously, become more motivated, loving, and are generally better people. Scientist know our genes and upbringing influence around 50% of the variation in our personal levels of happiness.  Our circumstances 10%, e.g our income and external environment. Which leaves as much as 40% accounted for by our daily activities – the relationships we keep, the work we do and the choices we make. Our actions strongly impact our happiness levels, which is great news because it means we have great control over them and can therefore almost instantly, boost our happiness. Respected positive psychologist Professor Martin Seligman developed a well-being theory called the PERMA Model. It combines the five building blocks required for a happy and flourishing life. These five blocks are – POSITIVE EMOTION (P) Experiencing feelings of joy, hope, love, inspiration, satisfaction, gratitude or any positive emotion allows us to experience wellbeing. ENGAGEMENT (E) When we’re fully engaged in a challenging task and time seems to stand still, we experience a state of flow (see blog post ‘How do you …

The Art of Resilience

We will all experience suffering at some point in our lives. Perhaps through illness, heartbreak or death. Difficult times are inevitable, often hitting us some idle Wednesday afternoon, unexplained and unexpected. No matter how careful we are, how honorable a life we lead or how hard we try to avoid pain, in the words of Buddha, life is suffering so it’s inevitable it will affect us all eventually. For some, suffering will be an old friend, to others a frightening new foe. We cannot change the things that happen to us, we must each accept that. Fortunately, we can change the way we respond to them and this is where building resilience is key. What is Resilience? def. the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy. It’s important to point out resilience isn’t overcoming pain nor trying to forget it ever happened, instead it is growth and personal development through suffering and adversity. Author, psychologist and resilience specialist, Chris Johnstone designed the Self Help SSRI Model to help each of us improve our resilience. It’s important to …

Rediscover the Power of Mother Nature

This weekend for two days only, the London Parks & Gardens Trust (in association with the National Trust) are offering a fabulous incentive to promote London’s green spaces – the Open Garden Square’s Weekend. In honour of this Historical event, run solely by volunteers, today’s post is about reconnecting with Mother Nature. When we were young, most of us couldn’t get enough of the Great outdoors. Charging outside at any given moment to make perfume from flower concoctions, jump in muddy puddles or follow adventure trails through the woods. But why do we so quickly lose that desire as we grow older? Our lives become so busy, it’s easy to forget how magical and nurturing nature can be. Living in London we become blinded by the miles of concrete and rows of skyscrapers that dominate our physical environment. Yet underneath it all lies a peaceful, natural landscape. The foundation of our planet and all that lives and thrives on it. Our core. The provider. Mother Nature is a beautiful, life-giving power that we must endeavour to keep in touch …