From Fixing what is wrong to Building what is Strong

psyche-thumbThis is the title of the seminar workshop I attended the other Monday in Davao.  Banking on Positive Psychology, the speaker shared researches on the factors that cultivate positivity in one’s life and how people flourish.

Prior to World War II, there were only three major missions in psychology: to cure mental illness, to find and nurture genius and talent, and to make normal life more fulfilling. Emphasis was given on the first objective and the last two were largely ignored.

In the ensuing years, the positive psychology movement began to emerge. More and more studies on happiness and optimal human functioning were conducted. These studies aimed to discover and promote factors that allow individuals, communities, and societies, to thrive and flourish.

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A new framework on positivity and wellbeing came to the fore. How can we flourish? Through PERMA which stands for P-ositive Emotions, E-ngagement, R-elationships, M-eaning,  andAccomplishment. Today, we’ll talk about positive emotions. The rest will be on our next issue.

The first core truth about positive emotions is that they open our hearts and our minds, making us more receptive and more creative. The second core truth is that Positivity transforms us for the better.  By opening our hearts and minds, positive emotions allow us to discover and build new skills, new ties, new knowledge, and new ways of being.

When you experience more positive emotions than negative ones, at a ratio of 3 positive emotions to every 1 negative, you can enter into an upward spiral of growth. The ratio of 3:1 is the tipping point that divides a state of languishing (below 3:1) from a state of flourishing (above 3:1).

Here are some ways to increase positive emotions. By investing in activities that generate positive emotions, you’re investing in your future and opening yourself up to the positivity of a transformation.

  1. Attitude of Gratitude – It is a feeling of thankfulness, wonder, and appreciation for life.Gratitude improves your quality of life.Robert Emmons, positive psychology’s leading researcher on gratitude, describes it as a two stage process based on wanting what we have.

    First, gratitude is about acknowledging what is good in your life. Second, it is about recognizing that the source of the good thing lies at least partially outside of yourself. Gratitude is,in essence, an appreciation of something external, an awareness of the benefits that we are not responsible for ourselves but are still fortunate to have.

  1. Savoring the Moment – It is the ability to tune into, appreciate and enhance the positive experiences in your life.Depression is almost a form of reverse savoring, where your awareness of the negative is intensified, savoring the bleakness, the ashes, and the utter greyness of life.
  2. Learning Optimism–It is expecting a positive outcome, a sense of confidence about things turning out well.
  3. Humor and Laughter –It is said to be the best medicine. Indeed it is. Norman Cousins was literally cured by a disease with a 1:500 chances of recovery with boisterous laughter and a megadose of vitamin C.He said, “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least 2 hours of pain-free sleep.”
  4. Mindfulness – It is a practice that calms the mind and relaxes the body. Mindfulness is about paying attention in a non-judgmental way.
  5. Regular Exercise– All of the available evidence suggests that the type of physical activity that best prolongs life, prevents heart attacks, prevents stroke, and preserves the brain is aerobic exercise.
  6. Connect with Nature – Take time to go to the forest, smell the flowers, or dip into the sea. It will give you a good feeling.
  7. Eat Good Food – Good nutrition is directly linked to our sense of our wellbeing.

Now, let us all cultivate positivity and reap the benefits of a good life. Email me at kitbalane@boholchild.com or you can also text me at 09122506898. (By Kit Nemenzo Balane)



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