Our wellbeing relies on us having the ability to celebrate and savour good experiences but also to be able to deal with the setbacks and negativity we experience regularly. This is
particularly relevant to those of us working in education settings and/or parenting.
To enjoy wellbeing and to flourish in our lives, Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology tells us that our lives require the features of:
engagement and interest
meaning and purpose
The goal of positive psychology is to increase the amount of happiness in individuals lives and the happiness on the plant! We are all capable of contributing to the happiness of our own lives, the lives of others and the whole planet. How? Reflecting on, and being mindful about our own wellbeing is an important starting point when we are caring for others in any capacity. How many positive emotions do you experience in a day, in comparison to negative? Barbara Fredrickson, emotions researcher, suggests that we should experience at least three times as many positive emotions to every negative emotion in order to lead a flourishing life.
We all experience negative and positive experiences, people and emotions in our lives, of which we have limited control over, but we all have control over our responses. In the book titled The Subtle Art of not Giving a F@#!, Mark Manson states, “we don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.”
He continues to say that we choose the values we live by and the metrics that we measure against, and some situations could be viewed as good or bad depending on the lens that we view the situation through. Manson challenges us to accept responsibility for our problems which he feels will result in us exercising more power over our lives. I would invite you to take a moment and reflect on this idea and how powerful if we could model this to children of all ages to be able to learn from.
I would invite you to reflect about how you are measuring against Seligman’s features required to lead a flourishing life. Be honest with yourself about the choices you are making. If you are having trouble with self-reflection introducing some mindfulness practices to increase your awareness can be a worthwhile technique. Don’t be surprised if this makes you feel uncomfortable to start, we need to experience discomfort to change, you will become more comfortable with time. There are many useful apps and resources available to help you with mindfulness practices if you are new to it. Two of my favourites are Smiling Mind and Insight Timer app, both have programs for adults and children.
I would love to hear about your experience with these applications and your choices and exercising control over your responses.