Every new year, new moon, birthday— we set intentions; and then a few months or even weeks later, we fizzle out. We don’t change our lives like we had set out to do after all, why? It might be because we’re missing the mindset for change. Using Dr. Martin Seligman’s, work in positive psychology, here’s three ways to change your life.
#1 POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY
Here’s the facts. Most psychological approaches are geared toward ‘fixing’ or ‘relieving’ a problem. Those approaches are capitalized on with advertising. A walk down a self-help isle in a bookstore, can confirm this. How to get through your breakup. You’re sad. Here’s how to fix you. It’s today’s language.
Consider this though, you’re not broken. You don’t need fixed. Or at least, you don’t need to use that language to cultivate your dream lifestyle with. Stop trying to fix your life and as we say here at BCRX, start living.
Sounds easier to say than do, but I have a question for you. When you focus In on your life are you focusing on digging yourself out of a hole? Not wanting to be depressed? Relieving your misery, maybe?
Well that’s one approach to life. The other approach to life? Much more enjoyable. Building happiness, is Dr. Seligman’s solution for your best life. He isn’t called the father of positive psychology for no reason. The optimism approach is used to help today’s servicemen and women. Applied in classrooms and executive boardrooms. It’s the way to build resilience, get rid of negative self-talk, stop feeling helpless, and achieve the life you want. The great news is, we don’t need to be in a board room to use his approach.
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Let’s recap, digging deeper into the two approaches you can take toward life: relieving misery or building happiness
Decide, which one sounds better to you.
Choosing to build happiness is choosing optimism. Like a good savings plan, leading an optimistic life will build you up over-time; make you happier. You’re feeding into your wellness 401K. Optimism leads to more happy moments. What exactly defines happiness, though? Turns out its 3 things:
- Positive emotion
Feeling positive emotions comes from engaging in life. Engaging in life means using your strengths, i.e. the things your good at. Engaging with your strengths (social, money management, art) you tend to enter a phase of flow. Curious about finding your strengths? Click here and here.
Flow, is when you’re so locked in you forget you’re working. You’re existing with meaning. That meaning brings you fulfilment. Imagine living immersed in your own day-to-day life. That sounds like a $4,000 retreat, right there. The pursuit of meaning and engagement lead to more life satisfaction.
We’re building happiness because we’re focused in on actually being involved in our own lives. Not only are we involved- we’re optimistically involved. We aren’t getting hung up on our feelings about the past or our anxiousness about the future.
So by now you know, both approaches (relieving misery or building happiness) result in extremely different lifestyles. Your dream life boils right down to how you speak and think. It’s the ‘relieving misery approach’, that fills your vocabulary with negativity.
Beginning your new goals with idea that you’re so far away from being able to achieve them. Ideas like you’re already in the negative zone; you don’t have to begin your new lifestyle with that mindset.
If you like the idea of positive psychology you might be wondering where to start. Start with your language.
“WANT TO SQUASH THE NEGATIVE SELF-TALK? HERE’S HOW.”
Essentially, we’re getting rid of the negative mind-frame and restructuring the thought process.
Instead of: “I don’t want to be depressed anymore.” Try thinking more along these lines: “I’m going to engage more with my life.” It’s a power statement. It’s a promise. It’s optimistic.
“I don’t want to be depressed anymore,” That statement, isn’t even in your vocabulary anymore, delete it. You have other more positive things to think about and do. You got this!
Let’s try another one. It’s not, “I’m going to dig myself out of my financial hole in 2020.” It’s, “I’m going to educate myself on investing and while I’m at it, pull up my credit report.” When you see that credit report, do you know what you’re going to say next? Yup, “I got this.”
Catching on? This is how change happens. With an optimistic mind frame you’ll stick to your goals and may just change your life while you’re at it. You got this.
#2 WHAT ARE YOUR ACTUAL PRIORITIES?
This next phase of cultivating your new lifestyle is about addressing whether your habits and routines are setting you up for success.
“YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO TODAY, NOT WHAT YOU HAVE PLANNED TO DO TOMORROW.”
Let’s meditate for a moment on how honest we can be with ourselves. Reflecting on the past 48 hours; does this quote and your recent behaviors resonate with your aspirations?
Reading about how to cultivate a lifestyle, how to make a power bowl, how to keep your New Year’s resolutions, etc. is great. It’s also great if you’re able to distinguish the realities between your actions and your goals. What you actually do today, sets you up for success tomorrow. Priorities should be evenly in line with actions and goals. This is the stuff your new lifestyle is made up of. Honest optimistic intention.
It’s all about consistency, staying present, and of course positivity.
Here’s some activities, from Dr. Martin Seligman, you can do to detox your current mindset. Set the mind-frame you need to realign your day-to-day actions with your true purpose, using positive psychology.
- Design yourself a beautiful day. Put it in your planner for some time between now and the next five days.
- Couple Exercise: Design an evening where one or both of you can use your strengths.
- Gratitude: Reflect on something someone did for you that was soul-crushingly important to your life. Write them and thank them.
#3 A STUDENT ALWAYS
When cultivating a lifestyle, choose what areas of life to balance together. Get exciting. It’s thought, humans can balance 3 life areas at once, that’s a great limiting tool for framing your focus for your new lifestyle. Limiting your focus, allows you to hone in with energy you need to succeed.
Let’s say you chose health and wellness as one area; here’s where you should start.
- With an open mind.
- Researching beyond trendy fads.
- Consuming trustworthy health and wellness media.
- Deciding if this lifestyle option fits your values.
Essentially, educate yourself on what is hype and what is authentic. Then when you figure out what brands or media outlets your values align with, surround yourself with all the good feels daily. Learn more about the topics that you find intriguing. Learn more about how your body actually works. Maybe, learn about how the gut communicates more to the brain than the brain to gut.
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Learning, is at the heart of seeing through everyday actions. Learning provides substance. We must have substance behind the ‘I want to be…” statement, or we will flounder to stay committed. We won’t understand why we shouldn’t drink soda or why even with exercise we aren’t getting slimmer. When you pull back the urge for instant gratification you begin to educate yourself on how your body works. That knowledge, like how your gut health can protect you from cancer and dementia solidifies your conviction for a healthier life. It solidifies into your value system easier than feel-good quotes. Researched content will always resonate longer with you, because it builds up your belief system and improves it.
Keep in mind, learning goes hand-in-hand with awareness. When you see new claims or new fads, do a quick google check, do these facts hold up? Is this new information helping you cultivate your lifestyle?
Always stay aware, because it leads to you being more engaged with your life. You’re engaged when you’re learning what is best for you. Remember, engagement leads to building happiness. It’s a chain effect. It’s one of the many ways to be more engaged with your life.
It becomes clear when you apply these three guides, that your environment can be optimistically molded to support you. You become aware that a lifestyle begins with every action you take.
A lifestyle becomes cemented when you believe in your actions and are engaged in life. Before you know it, you’re flowing through life experiencing happiness, engaged. Believing in your own abilities starts with optimism, not with relieving yourself of your problems. Cultivating a killer lifestyle that meets you not halfway but all the way takes positivity.
HERE’S SOME LAST REMINDERS
Stay aware. Stay above media hype and you’ll come out an educated consumer. You’ll live with more conviction and intention. You’ll be in a flow state; finding and engaging with your strengths. Living that dream lifestyle. Cultivating an enriched healthier lifestyle. Stay optimistic always. Reframe your speech and thoughts.
you got this.
---Klarrisa Arafa, BCRX Content Writer