The cost to the Australian economy of mental ill-health and suicide has reached up to $60 billion per year. In fact, one in five Aussies spend over $4,000 on treatment for mental health annually. As a society, we can’t continue our reactive approach to wellbeing. It simply isn’t working.
By Dr Suzy Green, Clinical and Coaching Psychologist (MAPS) and the founder of The Positivity Institute
Over my 20 year career as a Positive Psychologist, I have seen thousands of clients change their lives by proactively taking charge of their wellbeing. Now in The Positivity Prescription, I am sharing 20 practices and evidence-based techniques pivotal to the practice of Positive Psychology. Each technique falls under one of the 6Ms in the Foundations of Flourish. From mood to motivation and mindfulness, I don’t want Australian’s to seek help only after the curveball hits.
Now, let’s dive into the Foundations of Flourishing, so you can begin your transformational change to become your best possible self.
Whilst most of us are seeking to be happier, emotions like sadness, fear, and anger are normal and appropriate responses to certain life circumstances. It’s only when they become problematic and impact on our daily functioning that we should consider seeking help. However, one powerful way to boost your positivity is to “prioritise positivity”. That means knowing what activities, people and situations boost your mood. For example, if you love getting outdoors but work in an office, making sure that you have at least some lunch breaks in the park and scheduling a hike in the mountains or swim in the ocean on the weekend.
Knowing what drives you is what creates what we call “intrinsic motivation” – that is motivation that is energising and inspiring. It’s our values (the things that we hold most dear to us) and our strengths (the things we’re good at and feel good about doing) that will help create sustained levels of motivation. If you don’t know your top five core life values there’s plenty of free lists available on the web or you can check The Positivity Institute’s own colourful pack from their website.
Might means strength, and knowing what yours are is the first step. You can take a free character strength assessment here and discover your top five signature strengths. These strengths come naturally to you. They define you as an individual and also energise you when you use them! Remember though there’s nothing wrong with developing a lesser strength. So, be sure to look at your bottom five and create a plan to actively work on developing them.
Now more than ever, meaning matters. We don’t just want jobs, we want meaning at work and in our lives. Knowing your life’s purpose may be too big of a stretch right now, but you can start reflecting on what’s most important in your life and work and how close or far you are to truly living these values. Yes, values don’t just only impact our motivation, but by walking (not just talking) our values – that’s what brings meaning!
Everyone’s talking about mindfulness! It’s important to remember that it’s not a panacea for everything. It’s a skill to be learned and practiced. In a nutshell it’s about being here, and not ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. It’s about being present with your own thoughts and emotion and being present with the people you’re with. It’s also important that you create a regular practice, just like going to the gym. As you build your mindfulness muscle, you’ll be able to apply it when you need it!
Last but definitely not least is mindset. There are so many posts now on Instagram about the importance of mindset. It’s been the bread and butter of psychologists for decades to help people identify and perhaps challenge their irrational or unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. It’s also been used in elite sports for peak performance. If you’ve not leant some of the basic evidence-based techniques like Cognitive Behavioural or Acceptance and Commitment approaches – check out Change Your Thinking by Dr Sarah Edelman or The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris.
You can purchase a copy of The Positivity Prescription here.
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