Positive Psychology coaching enables individuals to look at their lives as a whole and find ways to use their strengths to build a life where they are thriving and flourishing.
During these uncertain times, this can feel like quite a challenge.
Many of my clients, friends, and family are doing their best just to get through the days and weeks at the moment awaiting every news broadcast to determine their next steps.
As humans, we like structure and control in our lives and thriving at this time can take a little more work.
One of my clients asked me this week:
How do you stay so happy all of the time?
This made me laugh, the truth is, I don’t.
I don’t know anyone that can be happy all of the time, but I do work at my positivity and happiness every day. Most days, I feel happiness but there are also days where I just feel meh, tired or a little low, especially over this Lockdown period.
I accept those days and know they will pass.
So how do I work at my happiness levels with the intention of living a full life and thriving as much as I can in a tricky time like this?
How can we build good mental habits into our day just as we build physical exercise?
Here are my top tips for times such as these.
Feel all of your feelings.
It is ok to feel tired, sad, angry and worried, however, it is equally important to notice your positive emotions. The more we notice and feel these emotions, we teach our brain to look for them and build mental resilience for the hard times.
In positive psychology the ten emotions we focus on are:
joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love. (Frederickson, 2009)
Can you challenge yourself to fit these into your day?
Can you walk at the time of sunset to experience Awe and Serenity?
Can you watch funny clips on YouTube for amusement?
Can you spend some time looking forward to a holiday next year to inspire hope?
This is one of the most researched and effective strategies for staying mentally healthy. Culturally we can be very good at having a grumble, let’s use this time to change our conversations and be grateful.
This is a fantastic one to do with the whole family. Get the children involved. In my consultancy role, I visit a lot of children in schools and they sometimes need some help to look around and be grateful.
In can be as simple as the food you are eating and the water you are drinking.
Start a gratitude journal, everyday look around you and write down three things that you are grateful for.
This helps to build mental resilience and when we start to look for things, we are grateful for, we begin to notice more and more things.
Make a Done list instead of a “to Do” List
This is a tricky time. It is very easy to get to the end of the day and give ourselves a hard time about all of the things we haven’t done. It is also very easy to compare ourselves to others and think that they are achieving more, doing more and getting it all right.
Especially if we are scrolling through Facebook or Instagram.
Be gentle with yourself.
If you find yourself at the end of the day thinking about all of the things you haven’t done or should have done. Try to list all of the things that you have done, even the little things.
I showered and got dressed
I made breakfast for my family
I made the best attempt I could at helping the children with their work.
You will be surprised at how much you have done in a day, even on a “not so good” day.
The children do not have to finish every task set, you do not have to have a perfectly clean home. Make sure your list is positive. When I hear my clients say what they “should” have achieved, we write a list of what they have done already and there is always a look of surprise.
Spot your strengths
This is a good time for reflection. Our brains need to be controlled at times. They are very good at reminding us of the things ‘we are not’.
Tell your children, partner, family members the things they are good at.
Point out characteristics they have that are not related to what they achieve but who they are. For example:
What are you good at?
Are you kind?
Are you curious?
Are you a good learner?
Are you a good listener?
Are you a good friend?
Write down all the things that you do well.
If you cannot think of anything ask a good friend or family member to tell you . If they find that awkward, I recommend a good test that I use frequently with my clients.
It lists your 24 strengths in order, look at the top 5 to discover your natural strengths.
Here is the link: www.viacharacter.org
When my clients know their strengths, we do a lot of exercises to help them use them in a natural and habitual way. I help them to explore ways to use them in work situations, relationships and their overall happiness. This helps them gain confidence in many areas of life.
I hope that some of the tips help you.
It’s a time of change for all of us. If we can use this time to learn how to keep ourselves mentally fit and well, it is a skill that we can take with us into the next stages of our lives.
If we can teach this to our children whilst they are at home with us, they will build resilience and optimism into habits which will enable them to thrive and flourish in a changing world.
Click below for your FREE Lockdown Journaling worksheet and please let me know how you get on with building your mental health during this time.