After finishing my Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology with WBI in 2014, I was excited to start sharing the life-changing content I’d been learning. I was also trying implement all the great insights into my life. It was almost a year later when I came up with a framework to make Positive Psychology easier to teach and use. I call it The Path for PositivityTM. It summarizes five key concepts which help me understand and apply my learnings.
1. Understand why it’s hard to be positive when our survival instinct naturally focuses on problems and dangers.
I believe that learning how our survival instinct works helps us understand why it’s so easy to get stuck in negative thinking. It’s a natural part of our biology and a universal struggle (although more for some people than others). Once we recognize this, we can look for solutions.
2. Realize we can change our thinking and take advantage of our neuroplasticity.
It’s only been in the past 20 years or so that science has begun to more fully recognize the power of neuroplasticity. There is real hope that we can physically and functionally modify our brains to improve our thinking. It’s possible to see more positive things in our relationships, work, and personal lives.
3. Improve our ability to manage our thoughts and our saboteurs.
The ultimate goal in all of this is to better manage our thoughts so we spend more time with thoughts that serve us instead of those that are working against us. It’s easy to get stuck focusing on past, present, and future stresses. Soon, we could be in a downward spiral that can take our happiness, our lives, and our health.
4. Use practice tools to make it easier We need to change our thinking.
Now there are studies that have looked at different strategies and tools that can make this shift easier. Research supports the idea of focusing on gratitude—looking for three good things in your day, nurturing your social network, and many others. These are easy things that can be incorporated into busy lives.
5. Find ways to remind yourself that you have a choice.
We are so busy! How can we possibly stop thinking? There are so many distractions, so many things to do. That’s where the last step comes in. We need tips and tricks to remind us that we have a choice. Here are a few that you might like to try.
- Do you have a password that you use every day? You might try an acronym or word that is associated with a positive emotion, experience, or thought. IAG4MVSH could stand for “I am grateful for my very supportive husband.” Or try a simple phrase like “Peace4All.” It could be the first letter of each word in the title of your favorite song. A phrase that brings back a fond memory could be used. You get the idea.
- What about using one of your favorite photos of a happy moment as the background for your device or on your desk? I also love to place positive words and quotes on my desk, in my car, and on my bathroom mirror.
- Do you find that your phone’s ringtone triggers happy feelings or memories? With today’s technology, we can have our favorite uplifting song at our fingertips.
We don’t need help noticing or remembering the unhappy happenings around us, but we can add positive reminders to help us find a better balance.
This post was reprinted with permission from Tina’s website, thepositiveedge.net.