Five Ways To Feel Good Now

Flourishing is not dependent on the weather, the current political environment, or one’s wealth and status. Flourishing isn’t dependent on any external factors at all. Aiming for a ratio of 3 positive experiences to 1 negative experience is the path to flourishing and for effectively dealing with whatever comes our way.
Five Ways To Feel Good

The Covid-19 pandemic. Unemployment. The economy in shambles. Increased violence. Injustice for many of our brothers and sisters. Leadership crises.

Some lucky souls are blessed with naturally sunny, positive dispositions. But what about the rest of us? Well, as William Arthur Ward stated, “Happiness is an inside job.” Research in the field of Positive Psychology has shown that we have a fairly large influence (about 40%) over our own level of happiness. That’s right. There are things you can do . . . today . . . that can measurably improve your feelings of contentment and gratification. Here are 5 suggestions, to get you started.

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A Balanced Approach To Using Character Strengths

Use your Signature Strengths to improve your life, building on positives and learning from the negatives but don’t neglect your other character strengths. If fact, you can use your signature strengths to practice and build up your lesser strengths to better use all of the strengths.
character strengths

Strengths And Virtues

Signature Strengths are one of the foundational principles of positive psychology. Early proponents, including Martin Seligman, Chris Peterson, and others, combed through the wisdom literature of many of the world’s religions and philosophies. They identified six “virtues” that were common across all the cultures and thinking, ancient and modern, that they examined.

Then they identified 24 ways the six virtues are lived out. These they called strengths. We all embody all 24 of the strengths but we rely on and use our top 5 or 6 strengths more often and more naturally.

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Six Reasons To Choose Positivity

There are six facts about positivity — discovered through rigorous laboratory experiments — that can help you understand the importance and the pull of positive emotions. A thorough grasp of these facts starts you on an upward spiral.

upward spiral of positive emotions

A Choice

We are living in dark times, some say, troubling times. But remember it isn’t the event that troubles us, makes us sad or angry or afraid; it’s our judgement of the event. For many of us, the world is a far different place than we’ve ever seen before. We could easily slip into a downward spiral of negative thoughts and emotions. Some wisdom from neuroscientist and author Dr. Alex Korb might be helpful.

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Why Relationships Matter

The “rugged individual” is a false ideal. We are social animals who have evolved to bond with and depend on other human beings. Our attitude and actions can improve the quality of our relationships or cause them to deteriorate.


A story from India about relationships [1]:

A young woman married and went to live with her husband. Her mother-in-law also lived in the house.

It didn’t take long for the young woman to discover that it was nearly impossible to get along with her mother-in-law, a critical and mean-spirited woman, able to find something wrong with anything the young wife did. They constantly argued and bickered, even though custom dictated that the mother-in-law was to be treated with respect.

Finally, the young wife reached the breaking point. She went to see one of her father’s old friends, a dealer of herbs, wise to the ways of the world. There she poured out her sad story about the situation that had become unbearable to her. She asked if he could give her a poison that would solve her problem once and for all.

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Be More Of Who You Are

Everyone has a combination of character strengths, “core capacities” for human beings to grow and flourish. The combination of strengths and the ways they are used is unique to each individual. While you can’t be good at everything, you could be GREAT at one thing. Focus on developing and expanding your unique Signature Strengths

The Animal School [1]

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must make some adaptations to meet the challenges of a changing world. So they set up a school.

They developed a curriculum of climbing, flying, running, and swimming and declared that all animals must take all subjects.

The duck excelled at swimming. In fact, she was better than the instructor! However she was only fair at flying and her wobbly gait got her a D- in running. Because of her poor running grade, she had to do extra practice. She ran until she wore out her webbed feet and then she was only average in swimming. But average was OK so nobody worried. Except the duck.

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Reap The Benefits Of Positive Emotions

There are a number of benefits inherent in having a positive outlook, including being healthier, having more energy, recovering quickly from adversity, having deeper social ties, and others. While a portion of your natural positive or negative inclination is immutable, you do have the ability to influence a large chunk – up to 40% – of your positivity. Engage positive emotions and reap the benefits.

The Weight Of Water

A psychology professor stood in front of her class and picked up a glass of water. The professor asked, “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?”

The students shouted out several answers, ranging from a few ounces to a couple of pounds.

The professor replied, “From my perspective, the weight of the glass depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s quite light. If I hold it for an hour, the weight might make my arm ache a bit. But if I hold it for an entire day, the weight will make my arm cramp and feel numb – and eventually I’d drop the glass, which would break on the floor.”

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Passion And Perseverance: How Effort Leads To Achievement

Having a talent for a specific endeavor does not insure that you will do it. You must exert effort to transform the talent into a skill. Turning the talent into skill does not insure that you’ll achieve your objective. You must exert more effort to transform the skill into achievement.

A Failed Dream

I was 6 years old and excited to have the chance to take piano lessons. I loved music and dreamed about playing – hymns in church or songs for my family to sing together. Although they didn’t have a lot of money, my parents bought a nice new piano and had it placed in our living room. A friend of our family, Miss Pritchard, who played piano at church, agreed to give me lessons.

The first book was a breeze. Simple songs to start my understanding of the techniques of the piano. My teacher wrote numbers over the notes and then numbers on the corresponding keys of the piano. It was a simple matter to match the numbers on the page to the numbers on the keys.

Miss Pritchard also gave me scales to practice. But for this part, I wasn’t as diligent at practicing as I could have been — I found it boring to play the same 8 keys over and over. But I practiced my songs and when we had our first recital, I was a star! I performed the best and Miss Pritchard gave me a big hug when the recital was over.

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Creating Positive Relationships

Developing and enjoying positive relationships is an important part of well-being — one of the 5 core concepts identified by Martin Seligman in his PERMA model of well-being theory. [Seligman] Positive relationships can even help us live longer, as shown by the evidence in the “Blue Zones”, areas of the world with the longest-lived peoples. [Kotifani]

The Fable Of The Porcupines

It was a frigid cold winter. The earth was frozen and many animals died from the cold. And so a group of porcupines agreed to huddle together that they might keep warm.

But as they lay up close to one another, the quills of each porcupine pricked and injured the ones they were closest to. After a while, the porcupines decided they couldn’t take this anymore, so they moved apart. And one by one, they began freezing to death.

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The Willpower Question

Willpower is like a muscle, according to some research, and gets depleted with use over time. Newer research has not replicated this finding, however. Other researchers believe willpower may get depleted because we think it will be. This is at the heart of the willpower question.

Cookies And Radishes

It was a cruel and heartless experiment . . . at least for the hungry college students taking part. They were told not to eat anything for several hours prior to the experiment so they were hungry when they arrived at the lab.

The students were divided into three groups. Group 1 was given a plate of warm, freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies. And a plate of radishes. They were told they could have all the radishes they wanted, but they were not to touch the cookies.

Group 2 was given a plate of cookies and a plate of radishes and told they could eat all they wanted from either (or both) plates.

Group 3 was given nothing.

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Strengths In Adversity

Drawing on character strengths, and especially our Signature Strengths, gives us tools to deal with adversity and grow, even thrive (i.e., become “antifragile”), from the process. Using strengths in adversity provides three distinct techniques to positively deal with set backs, glitches, and failure.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But it almost kills you.” ~ Conan O’Brien

Opportunity Or Adversity: A Good Time To Use Your Strengths

I typically think about using my Signature Strengths to enhance positive emotions and experiences. But in addition to using them when life is going well, a person can draw on Signature Strengths during the hard times and difficulties of life. In fact, using strengths in adversity may be one of the most beneficial ways to live from your Strengths.

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