Here’s a strategy to help gear you up for the festive season and to gain the most value and positive energy boost from it.
How often do you consciously think about doing something that will have an immediate, short and long-term impact on your overall wellbeing at work and in your personal life?
I’ve been studying the value and benefits of specific positive psychology interventions – activities specifically designed and validated to help boost our overall sense of wellbeing in our personal and working lives.
It wasn’t surprising to me that the research stresses that these types of activities (I’ve listed 12 of the most validated by Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research below) do require personal intrinsic motivation to be most effective… and of equal importance, is that they be completed in a ‘proper way’ – in a way that has been validated by the research as providing measureable benefit.
Now some of these activities will resonate with you immediately, while others won’t.
What I suggest (and this is a short cut version of Lyubomirsky’s approach – which I recommend you might want to check out here) is to read through the list and pick just 3 from the list. And then over the next week, focus on just one, then the following week, focus on another and then the following week, focus on the third. This will get you to around the time that many of us have a few days off for the Christmas/Festive season… and you should be geared up to share your joy, happiness, and wellbeing with others.
- Expressing gratitude – eg., thank people more; write down what you’re grateful for; list daily 3 things you’re grateful for.
- Cultivating optimism – eg., practice positive thinking; write and refer to some affirmations
- Avoiding overthinking and social comparison – eg., catch yourself comparing/keeping-up-with-the-jones; accept you don’t have control over everything in your life
- Practicing acts of kindness – eg., do at least one kind deed a day without expecting anything in return
- Nurturing social relationships – eg., really listen to people; seek opportunities to meet
- Developing strategies for coping; eg., do some contingency planning; practice ‘breathing’ and calming strategies for those ‘heated moments’.
- Learning to forgive – eg., look for the good in others; focus on the action in question and not the person
- Increasing flow experiences – eg., do more of the things that you get ‘lost in the moment’
- Savouring life’s joys – eg., reflect on moments of joy you’ve experienced in your life
- Committing to your goals – eg., set some weekly goals; set and pursue lifestyle goals; reward yourself for achieving small steps
- Practicing religion and spirituality – eg., be more involved with your local church; read an inspirational book; watch an inspirational film
- Taking care of your body – eg., meditation, physical activity
Now the examples I’ve provided after each positive psychology intervention may or may not resonate with you and if you’d like to know a bit more about the ‘how’ to do any one of these (the ‘why’ ought to be obvious), I recommend you grab a copy of Sonja Lyubomirsky’s excellent book ‘The How of Happiness’. It’s one of, if not the most practical book with scientifically validated examples of how to add to your wellbeing, rather than just talking about the why!
So, pick just 3, and really focus on investing a minimum of 5 minutes a day, each week, for the next three weeks… and I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the boost in your wellbeing so that you can share even more joy around this fast approaching festive season.