Be Happy Now–Part 2

Happy senior couple on the beach. Retirement Luxury Tropical ResPositive Psychology has much to teach us about how to weave happiness into our everyday lives. In my last post I shared information from Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness. In this post I want to introduce you to another researcher, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, and her book, Positivity.

According to Fredrickson, positivity is the whole range of positive emotions–from appreciation to love, from amusement to joy, from hope to gratitude. She says it includes the positive meanings and optimistic attitudes that trigger positive emotions.

Rather than pursuing happiness, Fredrickson suggests we pursue positivity. She lists 10 forms of positivity:

  • Joy
  • Gratitude
  • Serenity
  • Interest
  • Hope
  • Pride
  • Amusement
  • Inspiration
  • Awe
  • Love

So how do we use this information to increase our positivity?

Fredrickson devotes five chapters in her book to explore ways to enjoy life and “become the best version of yourself.” One way to increase positivity is to reduce negativity. She offers a number of strategies for reducing negativity, including

  • Disputing negative thoughts (looking at the facts of a situation instead of wallowing in the emotions around it)
  • Distracting yourself when you find you are ruminating on a negative thought
  • Practicing mindfulness with some form of meditation
  • Examining those areas of your life that cause you stress and consider ways you can change the situation or the way you look at it

As for increasing positivity, Fredrickson recommends the following:

  • Look for positive meaning in the events of your life in order to open up the space for some positive emotion to come forth
  • Savor and appreciate your experiences
  • Count your blessings and express gratitude
  • Perform acts of kindness and recognize it in others
  • Follow your passions, at work and at play
  • Use visualization to dream about your future
  • Apply your character strengths (see VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire)
  • Make a point to connect with others
  • Spend time in nature
  • Be curious and open your mind to new ways of thinking

Which of these strategies have you found most effective in helping you stay positive? Which ones would you like to try?

-G.

Be Happy Now!

Be Happy Now!

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Two-year-olds have it down pat. They know how to say “No!” with gusto and without apology. By the time we start school, however, a lot of that natural inclination to say “No!” is trained out of us, and we spend the rest of lives saying “Yes!” So what’s so powerful about this little two-letter word? Saying “No!”…Continue Reading

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“As long as you’re breathing,” said Maya Angelou, ” it’s never too late to do some good.” In this post I want to share what I’ve learned recently about giving back and the incredible effect one person can have on the lives of others. If you are like many of us, the word philanthropist conjures up…Continue Reading

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“Imagine a life where all your time is spent on the things you want to do. Imagine giving your greatest attention to a project you create yourself, instead of working as a cog in a machine that exists to make other people rich.” These are the first two sentences in Chris Guillebeau’s book, The $100…Continue Reading

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If you are anticipating retirement in the next three to five years, you have probably noticed that much of the media’s focus for upcoming retirees has been on having enough money saved. I recently read that 31% of Boomers don’t have any retirement savings. Yet there is a group of people retiring in their 30s–part of the Early…Continue Reading

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According to a recent U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of folks approaching retirement age have not built travel expenses or plans into their retirement budgets. If travel is on your bucket list, you may find some of the following tips useful. Getting There Sign up for one or more airline rewards programs. My husband and…Continue Reading

Meet Gail

Gail Pentz, author

My work experience spans Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits. As a corporate trainer, I have delivered training throughout the U.S. and in 18 other countries. I designed and wrote hundreds of instructional materials for numerous industries, and worked as a teacher and staff in private schools. I also have experience with small businesses. I was a founding partner and Director of Operations for T.W.I.C.E. Educational Services, Inc., a Sarasota-based continuing education firm serving mental health professionals.

Having worked 60+ hours a week for several decades, I know what it’s like to be on the proverbial hamster wheel, using weekends to catch up on what I didn’t get done and preparing for the week ahead. Like me, you may be ready for at least two days each week that are filled with activities you find satisfying and fulfilling. Less time working (or preparing for work) translates into more time for recreational travel, self-care, and personal development. I firmly believe that as we take better care of ourselves, we are better equipped to share our gifts with the world (and especially the quality of effort we bring to the workplace).

You can begin enjoying a retirement lifestyle this weekend. Let’s get started!

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