Positive shift happens when we practice the building blocks of positive psychology. The first letters of the practices that have been shown by research to increase happiness and well-being, happen to spell BE MEASURING. (although it is not usually important to measure them.)
The building blocks divide into four Ps: Power Up, Pause, People, and Purpose.
- Power Up with Gratitude, Uplift, and Exercise.
- Gratitude – we are happier when we are grateful and express our appreciation. We can keep a gratitude journal, and express gratitude with thank you notes or small Appreciation Gifts that combine a treat with a punny tag.
- Uplift – yourself with positive thoughts, music, books, and videos. Uplift others with kind words and Random Acts of Kindness. A favorite RAK is to leave a bookmark, quote, or poem in a library book when I return it. I often practice uplift by watching a short video at Goalcast.com.
- Exercise – has many proven benefits, including increasing happiness! When the weather is nice, I walk around the lake at Bass Pro and enjoy the beauty of nature at the same time. I often include a short yoga routine in my day as well.
2. Pause to Breathe, Notice, and Meditate.
- Breathe – deep breathing can lower blood pressure, and improve heart rate and sleep. It lowers stress so we feel calmer, and our ability to handle emotions is improved. It is a tool that can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
- Notice – happiness is increased when we are mindful of the present moment, using all the senses. Slow down to savor the taste of food, observe a beautiful sunset, listen to the sound of a song you love, inhale the scent of a flower, and feel a cool breeze on your skin.
- Meditate – I often use Tara Brach’s 10 minute guided meditation during a mid-day break, or the One Moment Meditation app if I’m pressed for time.
3. Connect with People: Relate, develop Emotional Intelligence, and Share.
- Share – volunteer or donate to a cause you believe in, give a simple gift.
- Relate – Cultivate relationships with shared activities. People who have strong connections with others report higher levels of happiness. You can develop a support system, use conversation starters, practice the love languages, and plan some fun. Communication is key, especially listening.
- Emotional Intelligence – learning to understand and manage our emotions helps us interact with others.
4. Connect with Purpose: Aspire to goals, Inspire Flow, and nourish the Spirit.
- Aspire – reaching for goals increases meaning in life. Check out the How to Set Goals free tutorial and the Goal Toolkit to learn more about setting goals. Use time well – learn how at Time Management 101, and more at the Productivity Toolkit. A regular review of my progress and value statement helps to maintain focus on tasks, goals and projects. The Brand and Purpose Toolkit has resources for discovering purpose.
- Inspire Flow – seek activities that balance challenge with skills. Use strengths for an experience that is so engaging that we lose all track of time.
- Spirituality – Studies show that those with a spiritual practice or religious beliefs tend to be happier than those who don’t. There are many paths, but you can examine your beliefs, practice your values, and pursue spiritual growth.
Use the power of the pause to make positive shift happen.