I'm becoming increasingly aware of the bad rap positivity and even the word positive has at the moment & I have to admit to becoming a little confused in my own thinking. On the one hand I get it - things are tough for a huge amount of people & being told to "think positive" "look on the brightside" "make lemonade" that there's "zero negativity around here" etc is NOT helpful.
However.... this week alone I have had feedback saying how powerful an impact some of the positive psychology interventions I have introduced them to have had.
Here's an example "I keep returning to the resources Annie shared & the notes I made as they have had a profound impact on my thinking, wellbeing & plans for the future". WOW... this isn't about me it's about the interventions. I also heard from someone who had introduced their teenage daughter to the simple 'what went well' exercise of finding 3 things that have gone well for them everyday - apparently this practice has had a hugely beneficial influence on her wellbeing. What this exercise enables is a gradual shift from seeing things in a 'negative' way to a more appreciative way. That in itself can be life changing.
In my sessions I make sure I don't position Positive Psychology as a cure all - as a brush to sweep all other emotions under the carpet - that's NOT what it's all about to me... however my feeling is that there's some work to be done. What are 'positive' emotions and what are 'negative' emotions? How does labelling & separating them help?
When contemplating this my mind often wanders to the awesome Pixar animation Inside Out... definitely not just for kids! The premise is that there is a presumption that feeling joy is better than sadness - by the end of the movie it is clear that without sadness there can be no joy. There is a real trend at the moment to find happiness like it is something once we have found we can keep. This just isn't how life is or how it's meant to be. We learn so much from our emotions... ALL our emotions. This doesn't mean that we can't strive to have more joy - it's just vital to manage our own expectations. Chasing happiness can have exactly the opposite effect when we don't achieve it or we perceive we don't have enough of it. What is enough?
If you would like to find out more about positive psychology please do feel free to download the intro to Positive Psychology - you don't have to sign up - it's just there for you to use as and when. One of the biggest learnings from my deep dive into positive psychology is that self-awareness is key and that there is no one size fits all or 5 simple steps despite what some may say. Changing state takes practice - if you want to feel happiness or joy or positive more often then you are going to have to practice! These reflective questions may help boost your self awareness and lead to more conscious shifting from one emotional state to another:
I'd love to hear your thoughts & experiences!
AUTHOR: ANNIE LEE
Annie is a coach, coach supervisor & coach adventurer! Warmth, depth & joy sum her approach up in a nutshell!