Positive feelings & coaching
I am currently studying Positive Psychology with Chris Johnstone. He has recommended many books for the course, one of which I am currently reading – Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman. Seligman is seen as one of the founding fathers of positive psychology. After many years as a psychologist, Seligman realised how psychology was a science that focused mainly on what was wrong with people, as opposed to finding ways to optimise people’s good feelings and therefore well being.
Appreciation and Gratitude
The course is fascinating – we have been looking at how we can enhance positive feelings by increasing positive emotions. This can be done in many ways, by focusing on gratitude, for example, and how being appreciative of what we have around us can make us feel more positive, as opposed to becoming obsessed by what we don’t have. This seems such a simple idea, but works so well. With many coaching clients I work with, once they start exploring another perspective i.e what is good about their life or job as opposed to what is bad, they immediately start feeling more positive.
Following on from appreciation and with a wish to cultivate more positive emotions, positive psychology recognises the benefit of focusing on our strengths. So many of us have been through an education system, where the focus has been on our failings or weaknesses and teachers and parents have sought to help us improve these shortcomings. Imagine how different things might have been had the spotlight been on our strengths and building on them. I wonder whether this would have encouraged more confident children?
When we do something we are good at, we tend to enjoy it. Time passes and we may not notice – we become so deeply engaged in the task. This ‘flow’ that can be achieved is certainly recognised as a contributing factor to the cultivation of positive emotion. It makes so much sense, if we compare it to attempting to do something we really are no good at, where we find ourselves struggling and resenting the task in hand, feeling a big of a failure at the end. Think about that last time you achieved a state of flow when doing something.
A word I hear and read about often in the world of positive psychology is ‘flourish’. Imagine encouraging children, friends or colleagues to flourish. Imagine if you could be doing something that means you flourish. Just saying the word brings a positivity to my thinking. Try it.
If you could do one thing today that will help you or someone near flourish, what would it be?
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