“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Dr. Susan David
This week kicks off my well being series where over the next six weeks I will cover the domains of well being and I invite you along for a fresh spring opportunity to transform something in your life.
The domains create the acronym PERMAH
Let’s kick off today with the domain of positive emotions.
Read the quote above again. This quote is telling us that we have an opportunity. That there is a choice for us in between the time something happens and how we respond to it. In my coaching practice I use a tool called TTR- it stands for Trigger Thought Reaction. So what Dr. David is referring to is the opportunity of thought. The power to choose our response. What we think determines HOW we respond and that determines whether or not we are going to experience positive growth in our lives or lead ourselves into suffering. Whether we experience freedom through mindful choice, or lock ourselves into a less than satisfying situation.
What can help us to use that pause, that space optimally? I believe it is building a foundation, a storehouse within us of positive emotion. So that when something challenging comes along, we have reserves to help us to gracefully navigate the situation.
How can you consistently build and strengthen your foundation? To be ready for challenges that come our way we must first realize that an important part of life IS challenges. Without challenges we would know non challenge! Thinking that filling of up positive emotion will remove the obstacles and challenges in life is magical thinking. Step one, acceptance.
Step two is to find the things that you will do on a regular basis that makes you feel positive and you can to have the fun of determining these things for yourself. I love the idea of experimenting with life. Experiment and see what really uplifts and energizes you!
Some ideas just to get you started– a hobby you love or used to love that you could pick back up, for me, reading uplifts me and driving along in the car listening to an uplifting audio book raises my emotions high because I love driving. Especially if I have cleaned my car and filled up the tank. This combination of things boosts my emotions ten fold! Things like exercise, meditation, yin yoga for me, sitting out in nature or taking a walk, seeing an uplifting friend, humor, playing games, and setting things up to look forward to are just a few more ideas. My son and I are very competitive so we like to play games together and mildly trash talk each other. Lots of laughs there.
I like to take road trips which I love and they fill me up. Lately I have been challenged with learning some new technology, though the idea of that does not bring on positive emotions- taking in the challenge, learning and figuring it out floods me with positive emotions! If you have been reading my blogs for a while, you know about my strong belief in taking on challenges and how positive that can be.
So, we are not trying to banish what we can negative emotions we are looking to build reserves and also some tools to use in the moments where positive emotions can help us. Once you take a moment to pause, these tools are available to you- pause is step 1 in this area.
Some step 2 tools are:
-tapping into your strengths and using them on purpose
-Ask yourself “How do I want to feel right now?” “How could this be helpful?” “Are these thoughts helpful?” “What’s good about me?”
-Go for a walk.
-Write out the challenge and how you really feel, then how you want to feel, then what you have the power to do to feel better.
-Talk to a resilient person.
-Stop and play a game like Wordle that breaks your attention from what is happening for just a few minutes so that you can return to the challenge fresh.
-Make a list of your go-to’s so that when you are under stress and feeling other than positive you can look at it and choose something.
Spend time in intentional focus daily, weekly on building your reserves, acknowledge challenges are real and feel your feelings and then when wanted/needed/ready get your go-to’s list out and take action.
“Positivity is a choice. A choice we all need to make again and again, day after day.” Barbara Frederickson
Play around with some of these ideas around positive emotions in the week ahead. Next week we will look at engagement and how it fits into living a life of well being!