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How to live well: 5th meeting - positivity, savouring & gratitude

 

"Ten thousand flowers in the spring; the moon in autumn; a cool breeze in summer; snow in winter.  If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life."                                Wu-wen

"Thus weave for us a garment of brightness; that we may walk fittingly where birds sing; that we may walk fittingly where grass is green; O' our Mother the Earth, O' our Father the Sky."       Tewa Indian 'Song of the Sky Loom'

Deepening our enjoyment & appreciation of life

A sense of meaning, connection to our values and real engagement in what we do are crucial to nourish high wellbeing in our lives … and then high wellbeing feeds back to help us be more vital & effective in what we do.  But it’s important too to ‘smell the flowers’ on our journey.  Excessive focus on being happy is likely to be counter-productive but being too ‘puritanical’ tends to shoot ourselves in the foot as well.  The fascinating work of Barbara Fredrickson on the 'broaden & build’ function of positive/pleasurable emotions illustrates the way that deepening our enjoyment & appreciation of life doesn’t just balance energy & effectiveness, it actually boosts these qualities.  A high emotional

  • How to live well: 4th meeting - coping with difficulties, the mindbus, compassion, mindfulness & reappraisal

     

        "You learn to love by loving - by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done."                                                                                                                                                      Aldous Huxley                

    How to live well: 2nd meeting - mindset, motivation, positive emotions, exercise & sleep

                 

                          "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."     Henry Ford                

                            "Knowledge is only rumour, until it is in the muscle."   New Guinea proverb

    How to live well: 1st meeting - values, self-determination theory, roles & goals

     

    "When I get to heaven, they will not ask me 'Why were you not Moses?'.  They will ask 'Why were you not Susya?  Why did you not become what only you could become?'"                    Susya, a Hasidic rabbi

              "Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."                                                                                                                                Jalal al-Din Rumi

    How to live well - a shared exploration: course questionnaires

    I'm running a ten-session training, starting next week, called "How to live well - a shared exploration".  Here's a link to a description of the first evening - "How to live well: 1st meeting - values, self-determination theory, roles & goals".  Before, during & after the course, there's encouragement to fill in questionnaires.  This is suggested for at least three reasons.  One is that when we measure something, we tend to pay more attention to it.  Keeping track is often a therapeutic intervention in its own right.  Secondly we're using questionnaires to see if changes in our behaviours actually produce the improvements we're hoping for.  D

    Recent research: articles from spring journals

    I read a lot of research.  When I find an article of particular interest I download it to my bibliographic database - Endnote - which currently contains well over 26,000 abstracts.  I also regularly tweet about emerging research, so following me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ (click on the relevant icon at the top of this web page) will keep you up to speed with some of what I'm finding interesting. Additionally you can view this highlighted research by visiting Scoop.it (click on the "it!" icon at the top of the page).  At Scoop.it, I stream publications into five overlapping topic areas: Cognitive & General Psychotherapy, Depression, Compassion & Mindfulness, Healthy Living & Healthy Aging, and Positive Psychology.

    The surprising power of weak 'social ties'

    I’ve just been to the Farmer’s Market here in Edinburgh and I set myself the challenge of being more chatty than usual to the stallholders I was buying food from.  I ‘pushed’ myself to be friendly & talk more than I’ve ever done before (and I’ve been going to the market intermittently for years) … and it was such fun.  Tender, bubbly, jokey, light.  And I had more of a spring in my step for hours afterwards.  And it didn’t mean that I took much longer doing the shopping than I usually do either.  And as one might have predicted, this ‘good mood’ and happy positivity then splashed over into my actions subsequently (see Barbara Fredrickson's 'Broaden-and-build theory' of the function of positive emotions and her comments about

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