09 Sep September 2021 Newsletter
Happy new school year back everyone!
I hope you all had a restful time off this summer break. At this point, you might be hoping and wishing all your positive feelings would last a bit longer. This is why, in this first autumn newsletter I thought I’d share a very important insight from the science of Positive Psychology (happiness) on how to sustain those accumulated restful feelings over the whole year ahead by supporting your wellbeing. Yes, that’s right, your own wellbeing is a priority! By learning how to look after yourself effectively you can feel confident, capable, and resilient for those you love, hence it all starts from you.
Even though this time of year might feel very different for you whether you are a parent, educator or perhaps both, the struggles and possible reliefs feel real for everyone. Here’s something useful for everyone!
A formula for HAPPINESS 😊
The PERMA Model of Wellbeing was developed by Dr Martin Seligman’s and his work on Positive Psychology. His research in Positive Psychology is ground-breaking and highly influential as it focuses on an individual wellbeing from the perspective of its quality rather than from the lack of or treatment of mental illness (see Madeson, 2021). This model suggests different aspects of one’s well-being, supporting of which ensures flourishing and thriving life.
As any other formula for success though, it needs to be practiced to produce positive results through decisions and actions otherwise this knowledge might just add to the feelings of disappointment and guilt which desperately try to motivate us for change.
These are usually considered as ‘nice to haves’—but research has shown that they are vital to our positive psychological wellbeing and have numerous benefits for our cognitive ability as well as our overall health. Positive emotions are as important as the negative ones as all of the emotions are important signals for us to recognise, interpret and grow from. However, when it comes to more pleasant, positive emotions as we call them, the effects on our whole wellbeing are enhancement and positive growth. You probably heard a lot about the effects of stress onto the physical and psychological wellbeing, and indeed chronic (repeated) stress leads to significant health detriments. Equally, repeated (consistent) experience of positive emotions (which we often need to make effort to cultivate as opposed to the effortlessly generated negative ones) promotes health, vitality and life satisfaction as a whole.
Paying attention with interest and curiosity to whatever you interact with. This kind of engagement helps to connect and benefit from any experience. When we are immersed in activities that play to our strengths, we can reach a state called ‘flow’. High engagement activities flood the body with positive hormones that elevate one’s sense of wellbeing – this is called being in a state of ‘flow.’ When we are in flow we perform at our best and experience less anxiety, fear and worry. This aspect of the model emphasises the importance of the environment and possible changes we can make to create favourable conditions for better engagement.
Having strong and trusting relationships with a depth of understanding and respect has many benefits in terms of collaboration and having a sense of support. As most recent psychological research suggest even knowing and thinking about those people who are always by your side plays a highly positive role for our healthy wellbeing.
When we approach life with curiosity, awareness, purpose, and value we can more easily access and cultivate positive meaning in every moment. There is always more than one side of the experience and the one we focus on defines the quality of the lesson to learn and direction onward. I.e. if I see the glass in front of me being half full then I will feel happy with what I have and can focus onto something more important to do; on the other hand, if I see it half empty then I might feel disappointed and start looking for different ways to prove my point and make sure it is full before I can start engaging with anything else. Neither of these different perspective changes the fact that there is a glass with some water in it. Unfortunately, life experiences do not seem to be as straight forward as this example but it is the same principle, things you assign meaning to get the most of your attention.
Something that we worked hard for and feel proud of achieving. It doesn’t necessarily have to be recognised by others, although this fact does amplify the sense of pride and accomplishment. These experiences can often be small and significant things for us that we have made big effort towards, and accomplishing them boosts us in many ways by cultivating feeling productive and sense of moving forward, discovering and building character strengths as well as flexing the window of tolerance.
According to the PERMA model, the five pillars together result in people experiencing positive wellbeing and developing greater resilience in life and all the challenges it presents us with.
I hope the PERMA model of happiness has resonated with you today. Look out for some practical ways of exercising each aspect of it in the following newsletters.
At Unravel we have been actively practicing all the pillars in our personal lives as well as in our professional capacity, supporting you best we can. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further.
Best wishes from Unravel.