Positivity through adversity

Updated: Nov 1, 2018

Welcome to my blog! After weeks of deliberation, for my first ever blog I've decided to talk to you about a subject that I'm passionate about. So here goes...

Positive Psychology in a nutshell, is the study of happiness. It encourages us to consider a meaningful life rather than a life based on material gains and short-term highs, leading us to thrive and flourish. The practical focus is usually on the current moment or the future, rather than dwelling on the past, and allows us to find and build upon our strengths. If you'd like to read about this in more detail, a solid starting point is 'Flourish' by Martin Seligman.

There are many sources of information that we can easily access online which relate to Positive Psychology, and they can offer lots of useful information and advice. Take Action for Happiness on Twitter for example. They have created a brilliant calendar this month called 'Optimistic October'. For every day throughout October there is an example of a small task that you can do to help you stay hopeful for the future and focus on what really matters in life. If you haven't seen it already, it's definitely worth a look.

But what happens when you're not well enough to engage in tasks such as this? As someone who is managing a long term health condition, I'm used to feeling frustrated when reading about things that 'we can all do' to help lift depression, ease anxiety and encourage us to live a healthy and happier life, such as;

Getting into nature

Writing down how you feel

Moving/exercising more

Expressing gratitude

Helping others

Getting more sleep

If we're not in a position to put one or more of these ideas into practice due to illness (mental or physical) then this can leave us feeling even more isolated than when we're well. So in this instance, we need to adapt and get creative and look for our own 'version' of ideas. For example, how do we get into nature if we're unable to walk or drive? Obviously this depends on the condition that you have, but are you able to ask a friend or family member if they can take you a local park? If not, what are the barriers? Try saying out loud what the barriers are and see if they sound different to when they're in your head. Can the barriers be challenged? If you're unable to move or leave the house, maybe you could open a window to at least let in some new sounds and smells, or how about having more plants in your room? Sometimes looking at scenic pictures or listening to sounds such as the sea or birdsong can be just as powerful as actually being there!

There are lots of other ideas that we could consider for this example and the other points mentioned above, but to continue to be creative, adaptable and forward thinking through the more difficult times, we need to also be resilient. Resilience is an integral feature in Positive Psychology and finding the right tools to put into your 'resilience toolkit' is something that I will be discussing in upcoming blogs.

Until then, please feel free to message me if you have any questions. I'd love to hear how you get through each day and what you already have in your own resilience toolkit!

#positivepsychology #resilience

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