Smile

Before I start week 5 of my Positive Psychology course I wanted to continue with my blogging and summarise Week 4 –  which was last week and which unfortunately I ran out of that precious commodity of time to blog.

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Week 4 was about love. Love is part of our most important bonds, but as a society we have almost put it on a pedastool as a super important emotion. Love can be small, it does not have to be big. It can be momentary and over time built up. It can be a micro – moment that then helps to build a healthy sense of connection…

Photo credit: hdnextyear.com

Photo credit: hdnextyear.com

The term used when one feels love and connection is ‘Positivity Resonance’. For these moments to happen, a person needs to feel safe and connected. The connection needs to be face to face or actually talking on the phone, there needs to be a ‘real time’ sensory connection as so much is portrayed in the embodied emotions. ( There is a challenge for our world today with the texting, intagram and other means of communication – one is not building the ‘positive resonance’.)

Photo credit: intereactiveconsulting.com

Photo credit: intereactiveconsulting.com

The smile is a very important part of building positive resonance. In a brief moment it can do so much and yet it is not a costly investment. As a smile is shared, there is a moment of shared positivity which then can provide the opportunity for a person to ‘broaden and build’.

Photo credit: globe-views.com

Photo credit: globe-views.com

My ‘take away’ thought from the studies this week is how important and underestimated the power of a simple smile is. I want to be sharing a smile with everyone!

“The smile is a ‘hook’ that creates a moment that nourishes us all.”
Barbara Fredrickson

Photo credit: imgarcade.com

Photo credit: imgarcade.com

Prioritising Positivity

Thank you to those who are traveling with me through the Positive Psychology 6 week course run by Dr Barbara Fridrickson. This is week 3 and I have learnt so much.

As a very interesting aside, tonight my 9 year old out of the blue said “I just want to be free.”
“What do you mean by that?” was my response.
“I don’t want to go to school, I want to be free to do other things.”
“Like what?” Was my next question.
“I want to go fishing and mountain bike riding.”

Photo credit:hdwallpapers-3d.com

Photo credit:hdwallpapers-3d.com

I was very interested to have this conversation, we have been discussing this boy lately as he has been struggling with life at different times. This conversation has certainly made me think. He is 9 and feels like this – what is happening to his childhood? What positivity are we prioritizing for him?

This week one of the ideas put forward was ‘prioritizing positivity’ (It was stressed that negativity is an important part of life, but the ratio is the key). The idea put forward was that we need to purposefully think about ways in the day to ‘create a circumstance to experience positive emotions’. It is about building the emotion, not focusing on the feeling. It is about actually thinking about doing something each day that builds a positive emotion for you.

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” Dolly Parton

Photo Credit: jongordon.com

Photo Credit: jongordon.com

The list of benefits that come as one prioritises includes:

*more positive emotions
*higher life satisfaction
*reduced depressive symptoms
*more resilience
*better able to express appreciation
*build better relationships
*put more effort into positive feelings
*choose to savor positivity
*plan for positive experiences e.g. what’s planned for a relaxing Sunday

Photo image: estilotendancy.com

Photo image: estilotendancy.com

 

Interesting. Maybe I need to make the time to take my boy fishing and mountain biking? But then another point made was that it is not just the big events that builds positivity, the small little positive emotions actually make more of a difference.
Happy prioritising!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Positive emotions broaden our behaviours

It is week 2 of my 6 week Positive Psychology course that I am doing on-line.

This week’s learning has left me thinking a lot about those kids in my class and even my own kids at home who find it hard to experience the positive emotions.  The positive emotions are often fleeting, but they are nutrients for growth.  When people are taught positive emotions a domino effect happens.

Photo Credit: stockfresh.com

Photo Credit: stockfresh.com

A subtle increase in positive emotion leads to an increase in positive resources in a person’s life. For example, the ability to be more mindful or feelings of greater connectedness, which then leads to an increase in positive psychological resources: fewer aches and pains, increased satisfaction in life and reduced depressive symptoms.

Photo Credit: coachingforclergy.com

Photo Credit: coachingforclergy.com

As part of the course there was a reading that asked the question “How can we increase positivity?”

For me, this is where the rubber hits the road, these are the things I want to be helping kids to learn, as positive emotions are closely connected with resilience. Resilience is a resource that can grow. Resilient people are less worried about the ‘perhaps’ negativity in life. Resilience is a fantastic life skill to have.

Photo Credit: theschooloflife.com

Photo Credit: theschooloflife.com

We can help increase positivity by:
*Being aware of the present moment.  Most moments are positive. When we miss the moment, we miss opportunities to experience positive emotions by thinking too much about the past or worrying about the future, rather than being open to what is.

*Pay attention to human kindness. Gratitude is unlocked when we see things done for us by others. But also, we can make someone’s day!

*Go outside in good weather. Research shows that just 30 minutes outside increases positive emotions.

*Rearrange life around your strengths. This is an involved step, but includes looking at your strengths and using them in daily life.

Photo Credit: generationext.com.au

Photo Credit: generationext.com.au

 

I am thinking that as parents we can help our kids do this in so many little ways as we practice it.
Yesterday we needed to visit the Doctor to get an asthma plan for one of my tribe going on camp. The Boy and I reflected afterwards how thankful we were to not have to wait long, how nice it is to have a GP who has a personal relationship with us as a family and what a blessing Bulk Billing can be. At the time I did not realise it, but together we were building positive emotions!

 

Take a moment to notice…

‘Savouring’ is a Positive Psycology term that involves being in the moment, not rushing or thinking ahead but appreciating the positive things that are happening around you and even to you.

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Photo Credit: vibrantwomen.com.au

Last week in the school yard I happened to see a Mum give her child a kiss. From where I observed it was for no reason, just a sharing of love.  It was a moment that brought back so many beautiful memories and I did let my mind reflect on this act. What a privilege to be part of that moment as a spectator. It was a lovely small act. I ‘savoured’.

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Photocredit: healthyliving.msn.com

Two of my boys are starting new schools next year. The uniforms were purchased yesterday and tried on again as soon as they got home. It was such a pleasure to be in the moment and sharing their excitement and joy as they anticipate a new year. This is quite a big thing in our family. We ‘savoured’.

“Noticing and savouring life’s small and big positive occurrences is a powerful tool for increasing one’s overall well-being.”
(Positive Psychology in a Nutshell  I Boniwell pg 136)

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As this Christmas season continues, as the school year ends and parties and celebrations happen, may you and your children find the time to ‘savour’ some moments. May you have the mindfulness to stop, enjoy, notice, appreciate and maybe even share the ‘golden moments’ whether they be ‘big’ or ‘small’.

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Photo credit: brainworksrehab.com

I would love to hear about some of your ‘savouring’.

Thought for the weekend

 

How exciting and fun it is to purposely think about being kind and to purposely notice the kindness graciously given from those around us.

It was so encouraging to see the enthusiasm of the class as we did this. (Below is an art activity that we did. The photo does not show well the way the hearts ‘glowed’, but they looked great!)ImageMay you have a weekend filled with much doing and noticing of kindness around you.

 

Please can we go play?

This week’s blogs, seem to have become reminders of topics I have previously written about.  (Just in case some of you didn’t know,  if you click on the words in blue, they are links to the past blog entries.) In my readings this week these topics of treasure and play surfaced again.

When I step into a classroom, one of the first thing kids ask is “are we going to do fitness today?”

As I was doing some reading, the penny dropped. I knew that play was important and I have written about play in a few past blogs (Play , More on play, Positive emotions in play…again!)  but I was reminded again how important it is for positive emotions.

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photo credit 123rpf.com

“Play is what we all LOVE to do. Play is where our subconscious naturally guides us. Play is the state where we are truly ourselves, once we let go of our egos and fear of looking stupid. Play immerses us in the moment, where we effortlessly slip into flow. Play allows us to imagine, to create, to bond with and understand each other. Play is what creates our strongest social circles.

And most importantly, play utterly destroys anxiety. Play gets you around other humans, face-to-face, and allows you to form a real connection with them. Play allows you to stop taking your life so damn seriously, so you can start living again.”   Charlie Hoen  How I Cured My Anxiety

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Hoen suggests that we “write down all the activities that repeatedly brought you joy from your childhood, then start incorporating them back into your life.”

He tells the story, instead of meeting a client for coffee he suggested meeting in the park and throwing a football.

Kids seem to know the importance of play instinctively and they want it. As parents,  teachers and adults we have the challenge to build it into their lives and ours!  What do you think? Try making the list and playing this weekend.

I would love to hear if anyone does it.

Dr Suess   “Adults are just obsolete children.”

Positive emotions in play…again!

As I sit to type this I can hear squeals of fun and chatter as the children play in the backyard!  We have a lovely next door neighbour who has her delightful family from England visit each year.  My children have just loved playing with them and they all get on fantastically well! Each night after school there is the rush to finish homework before play begins! It may involve a football, or imaginary games with police, robbers, and sniffer dogs!  There may be tickling, card games, Twister or throwing balls at each other. Play is such a natural thing to do, yet so, so important!

“Far from having only a momentary effect, positive emotions help to build important physical, intellectual, social and psychological resources that are enduring, even though the emotions themselves are temporary. For example, the positive emotions associated with play can build physical abilities; self mastery and enjoyable times with friends increase social skills.”( Positive Psychology in a nutshell by Boniwell Page 11)

So the kids are out playing with no idea of all the things they are really learning and doing!

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Satisfaction

I have been tossing this word ‘Satisfaction’ around in my head for the last few days after reading it in a list.

Positive psychology operates on 3 different levels – The subjective level (how you feel, the emotions you experience), the individual level (what makes a good life and what qualities are needed for it) and the group level (what action is taken or positive behaviour shown).                               Positive Psychology in a Nutshell by Boniwell Page 3

Satisfaction is in the first level, it is a positive emotion that makes us feel good.

On the weekend as a family we went to Victor Harbour to help clean up my parents property.  A storm had blown down a beautiful, big tree and strewn branches and twigs everywhere. It took a few hours to drag branches, mow lawns, rake leaves, sweep, stack firewood and my husband got to spend time on the end of a chainsaw! The kids helped! We could not have got it done without them. Along the way there were a few grizzles, not many, and they came mainly as they got tired. But, the difference between when we had started and the end of the day was amazing!  The sense of satisfaction for a hard days work was felt by all, in fact it was a privilege to be able to do it!
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In this era, many computer games don’t really have an end point, there is so much information out there that you never get to the end of a topic, there is always more that you can do! In the classroom how does this effect the kids we are teaching? At home, how often do our kids do things that give a sense of satisfaction?

Mmm. I am still pondering the idea! What things do we do that give us a sense of satisfaction? Love to hear your thoughts.