Positive Emotions are Part of the Process

by kellylavieri on June 3, 2015

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My days are so hectic lately, and as I work on my own #Balance365 process myself I would be remiss if I didn’t introduce a concept called the PERMA model for happiness, developed by Dr. Martin Seligman, founder of positive psychology and author of the book, ‘Flourish.’ Dr. Seligman was one of adjunct professor when I was in nutrition school and I have read many of his works.

Seligman developed the PERMA model to describe the 5 areas that we can develop in order to not only feel happy, but also thrive and that is really want we are wanting to do. However, we run through our day at a pace that would be viewed as survival instinct. Most of us are trying to be positive about are thoughts, but  as much as we’d like to believe that if we just “think positive thoughts” and all of a sudden we will just be happier, that’s not how it works.

In fact, operating with positivity isn’t about being happy all the time. It’s a way of being in the world so that even when the real crappy stuff is happening, we can still find a way to get through it with confidence, self-compassion and optimism.

Positivity is an operating system. And you develop it by honing these 5 concepts:

PERMA:

P – Positive emotions

E – Engagement

R – Relationships

M – Meaning

A – Accomplishment

Some people feel more excited and hopeful when they’re accomplishing things. However, others feel more alive and happy when they are engaging with others. Still others need a deep sense of meaning in what they’re doing to feel optimistic and effective.

The key is that all 5 of these need to be tapped into in order to increase our happiness, though usually one will be stronger for most people.

My strongest one is meaning. I need to feel a deep sense of purpose behind what I am doing day-to-day. If I don’t, then I tend to feel like, “Who cares? This is not making any difference!” (I feel bad for all high school Spanish teachers trying to get kids excited about learning a new language, even though most the time after they leave class the never utter a word!).

For me, over these last 2 years, I have been really working on finding a direction of value and owning that value, that is one of the reasons I need to always feel tapped into a bigger ‘why’ aspect of what I am doing. If I am working or engaging with others it’s because the bigger picture is what meaning these women I engage with bring to my life and I bring to theirs.

Anyway, to me, meaning is the most important and the other concepts are just as relevant, and be more relevant to you.

So how do we do we increase our level of each of these concepts? Let’s just take them one at a time and let them sit and begin to put them in your process of finding #balance365.

Positive emotions:

This is tricky because when it comes to nutrition and exercise, it’s easy to go negative: “This sucks, I am so bad at this, I have no willpower anymore, this is to complicated, I can’t do it!”

I get it, I do. And for many years, the way I “kept myself in line” was negative motivators: guilt, shame, remorse and self-disgust. But the interesting thing was that as much I thought those things were working (and I was scared to give them up!), once I started adopting positive emotions like gratitude, self-compassion, recognizing my humanity and giving myself the win, it was then that my actions turned around. I was MORE motivated to eat well, stay consistent with training and was able to be more resilient in my eating, not letting a single slip-up turn into a weeklong binge.  A shift in my mindset..#Mindset360.

To cultivate positive emotions, you have to catch yourself in the negative. Whenever you are sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, berating yourself, insecure, whatever. Ask, “Is this emotion serving me?”

You can’t control your thoughts but you can question their utility. Choosing positive is a practice, but accordingly to Seligman, the more you do it, the easier and more automatic positivity becomes.

So today and every day, take a moment and as the kids say, “check yourself”, is this emotions helping me in any way…and if not, take the #mindset360 approach, and reverse the situation. If you can see one positive thing from the circumstance or thought, grow that and if not, throw it away..

Next blog I will be talking engagement..and I don’t mean “put a ring on it”, just yet.

Find your process…

XO,

Kelly 🙂

 

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