We spend so much time, effort, and often money, trying to find out what makes us happy, yet for many people it feels like an elusive concept that is just out of reach.
But what if we apply a more psychological approach?
In 1998, when mental illness was still being treated in a pathological way, Dr Martin Seligman introduced positive psychology as a means of boosting our wellbeing. To illustrate his research, Seligman created the PERMA model identifying the five factors that contribute to a person’s overall sense of contentment.
As a transformational coach and therapist, I have integrated the PERMA model into The Live Powerfully Programme and I want to share it with you now. After all, what is more powerful than learning the skills and the mindset to be able to flourish and thrive – even in the trickiest of circumstances?
P: POSITIVE EMOTION
Positive emotions include happiness, love, compassion, pride, laughter, and gratitude. Those of you familiar with my coaching, therapy work and training will know that a basic place to start is to savour these emotions when we experience them. Recognising these moments in our daily lives, helps to build strong neural pathways.
How to nurture positive emotions:
Spend time with your loved ones, take part in activities you enjoy, practice long-term gratitude.
Engagement is often described as ‘Flow’, which is when we become so engrossed in what we are doing, we lose self-consciousness. We are existing in the moment. Research shows that people are more likely to experience flow when they are using their signature character strengths and being engaged in this pure way contributes to feelings of life satisfaction and supports your body to be in a more healing state.
How to develop engagement:
Take part in activities that you love and lose track of time when doing them, use your strengths in daily life, practice mindfulness in everyday tasks.
R: HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
Seligman recognised that connection help us to feel valued, supported, and loved, and provide a sense of belonging. This becomes increasingly more important as we get older. Studies have also shown that how we relate to people during good times, and how we share their success, is as important to how we respond during challenging times. The next time someone shares positive news with you, take a moment to engage, listen, and genuinely share their joy. This boosts intimacy and wellbeing.
How to encourage healthy relationships:
Finding purpose in our lives is fundamental to the human psyche and Seligman describes meaning as ‘belonging and/or serving something greater than ourselves’. Having worth within the world we inhabit also helps us to appreciate what is important during difficult times. It may be supporting a political cause, having a spiritual practice, or volunteering within the community. Whichever way we discover our purpose, we may benefit from better life satisfaction, improved health and even increased life expectancy!
How to discover meaning:
Sign up to a cause close to your heart, devote time to those you really care about, get creative and learn new skills that help others.
There is no denying it feels wonderful when we persevere with something, and then finally reach our goals. According to Seligman ‘A sense of accomplishment is a result of working toward and reaching goals, mastering an endeavour, and having self-motivation to finish what you set out to do.’ Happiness is generally higher when the accomplishment is linked to self-improvement and / or engagement. E.g., training for a marathon or learning a new skill to a high level.
How to acknowledge accomplishment:
I created The Live Powerfully Programme after many years of research and experience and as part of the programme I also support my clients to consider the following additional ‘pillars’ of thriving resiliently:
The way we treat ourselves shapes our potential to grow, to feel fulfilled and to live the life we deserve. However, many of us struggle to accept ourselves, and rarely show the compassion we so readily share with others. By understanding the transformative power of self-love, we can get to ‘know’ ourselves and change our habits, our unconscious thoughts, and our actions. We begin to build a healthier self-love relationship.
How to practice self-love:
Talk to yourself with compassion, think about what makes you happy and do these things regularly, accept your ups and downs, DO NOT compare yourself to others.
Just as exhaustion, poor nutrition and inactivity can leave us feeling low and sluggish, regular exercise, quality rest and eating well are all necessary for optimal physical and mental health.
How to prioritise your health:
Incorporate daily movement into your routine, prepare nourishing food rich in vegetables and nutrients, go to bed 30-60 minutes earlier, give yourself ample opportunities to relax and recharge.
* Please do not feel you have to achieve everything all at once. It takes time and commitment to adjust long established behaviours and thought patterns. do not be hard on yourself and ask for help if you need to. Be it from a close friend or a professional, being supported to make these changes is not a weakness but a sign of determination for things to be better.
I am privileged to witness the amazing progress my wonderful clients make on their journey towards the life they want to live. A life full of self-belief, love and flourishing. To find out more about how I can help you to thrive with The Live Powerfully Programme, CLICK HERE (https://www.everylife.com/contact) to book a FREE discovery call with me today.
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