“Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.” Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Pennsylvania
As far as qualifications go, I’m a qualified personal trainer, practitioner in mind/body medicine and life-counselling and I have a strong interest in Positive Psychology. I will begin studying in 2015 the ‘Certificate in Whole Person Positive Psychology’ with the whole being institute and Tal Ben-Shahar. All this adds value to my speaking work.
Firstly though, you must know, I am not a psychologist or a doctor, I have however spent the last seven years studying and applying wellness in my own life and through this, have found studied, workshopped and found the principles of Positive Psychology to be an excellent tool. It is my new passion – because it is adding tremendous value to my life and to those around me.
It was on my own wellness journey around seven years ago, I discovered ‘Positive Psychology.’ At the time I was reporting for Ultra Fit Magazine and initiated with my editor that it would be great to do article on happiness and wellness in relation to health and fitness. I received the go-ahead from my Ed, hopped on a plane to Sydney and trotted off to attend and report on the International Convention on ‘Happiness and It’s Causes.’ With my media pass, I chose to workshop with two leaders in the field of positive psychology:
- The leading lecturer of positive psychology at Harvard University – Tal Ben Sha-Har
- Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, the Director of the Positive Psychology Centre of Pennsylvania and a Professor of Psychology
What I learnt there, I found mirrored my own personal experiences and story of overcoming depression to find more inner health, happiness, wellness and abundance in life. The best thing since, I have found – is to be able to share and teach this to help others through my speaking and presentations.
Later I studied and attended the first, three day parent training, ‘Discovering Positive Pyschology’ at Geelong Grammar School.
Some of the simple powerful tools I have learnt personally through PP and now use with my clients and audiences are:
- “Give yourself permission to be human, when you accept negative emotions such as stress, anger, sadness and fear, you are more likely to overcome them.” Ben Sha-Har
- The value of a ‘growth mindset’ – this is when you know that you can develop and improve your talents and abilities in any given area, when you consistently put energy and effort into them, over time. This is rather than a ‘fixed mindset,’ which is believing that your abilities are ‘set in stone,’ or that some people are just ‘good’ at things and others are not. You understand that your brain has the ability to develop, grow and extend pathways within it.
- Exercise – Twenty minutes of moderate walking three times a week is all it takes to make a big positive difference to your mental health.
- While it’s important to feel secure and take care of yourself, remember to step outside your comfort zone sometimes – this is where the magic happens!
- Look for your own and others strong and good personality qualities, rather than their weaknesses. Of course that does not mean that you ignore or deny a situation where someone’s weaknesses are affecting you negatively.
- Choose an attitude of gratitude, be grateful what you have, special moments and who you are in life. Remember to pay attention to what is going well.
- There are many positive emotions which make up a meaningful and fulfilling existence. There is not only happiness but also joy, fulfilment, peace, hope, pride, inspiration, love, appreciation, connection and many more positive and important emotions.
- Engaging and being absorbed in a challenging and achievable activity is called ‘flow’ and is a positive and enriching experience.
- In relationships it is important to both give and receive and be honest and assertive in your communication. Giving also makes your feel good – try giving someone a genuine compliment and see how good it feels!
- Failure is simply an opportunity to learn, develop and grow and a normal part of life. Mistakes are valuable lessons. Learning that failure is not wrong, rather it is valuable, builds resilience.
- It is possible to dispute, challenge and change your negative thoughts and beliefs and replace them with more positive and true thoughts.
- Choose activities that are purposeful and meaningful to you. This feels good and is empowering.
- Remember that change is good, change is powerful and change is possible.
If you want to know more, please research further, I can recommend Tal Ben Sha-Har’s site and also the Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Pennsylvania.