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Dec 1, 2016

Positive Psychology

I am a big fan of Positive Psychology. We know so much now about how we can intentionally create our experience of life through conscious choice and the brain science behind neural plasticity. And consciously bringing in positive thoughts to our daily lives has been shown to have a significant impact on well-being. There are some critics of the movement and I for one am careful not to suggest some kind of 'Pollyanna' way of living. Aside from the fact that it is unrealistic, it is also not wholly useful. We know the importance of negative emotions in our lives - not just through avoiding risk and ensuring survival (key reasons why negative emotions can be quite dominant!) but also because negative emotions allow us to both appreciate the good times in life as well as teaching us fundamental lessons about ourselves and our interaction with the world around us. If we can learn better to harness those appreciations and recognize the learnings when they appear we can hopefully learn to embrace more readily those negative emotions as not only part of us, but a valuable part of us. For example, guilt is an unpleasant feeling. Yet at its core is a high degree of empathy for the person we feel we have hurt or disappointed and also a level of responsibility that we take for the impact that we have. Our core negative emotions can be explored and dissected to see what we can take and learn from those all too familiar feelings. It can be a wonderfully empowering frame of reference for ourselves as well as a useful reframing as a parenting tool to allow kids to accept rather than reject the full spectrum of emotions that we all feel - and that is completely normal. Whatever normal is! Useful reading : The Positive Power of Negative Emotions - by Dr Tim Lomas.