Putting Positive Psychology Into Practice – Part 2

This blog captures my recent synthesis of Positive Psychology explorations.  It’s my list of Positivity Practices /Positivity Skills Development where I’m capturing possible How-to’s not just on the absence of negative (the bad things to “stop”), but also on the cultivation & nurturing of the positive. 

Why am I doing this?  Research continues to support these practices not only improve health and increase longevity, but also increase happiness.  Being happier, being healthier, and living longer in my retirement is what I aspire to!

These 11 Positivity Practices are the summation of learning from the Science of Well-Being course (blog link/course link), the Positive Psychology course (blog link/course link), The Flourishing Center (site link) and other positivity reading (sites like Blue Zones, Authentic Happiness,  The Happiness Advantage, etc.) 

For each of the 11 Practices, I have tried to “get granular” (as we used to say in the workforce) – clearly articulate what actions can be done to implement the practice!  This is my HOW for putting Positive Psychology into practice. Hopefully the specifics I’ve crafted give you ideas on how you can put Positive Psychology into practice in your own life.

While this is an extensive list of HOWs, I do not view it as a do everything right now list.   I am using this list to choose specific items for my own (seasonal) action plans. I also expect to add more “possibility HOWs” that fit my lifestyle as I hear about new tools/approaches.

Positivity Practices – HOW Possibilities

  1. Savoring the little things in life. Taking time to appreciate life.
    • Use my Jolts of Joy tool (blog link); find pleasure in little things every day
    • Identity what brings more Sensuality into my life
    • New experiences tracking (my personal goal is 101 new things in 2020)
    • Boost time in nature (and pause to appreciate it!)
    • Cooking exploration; create a signature dish/cocktail
  2. Invest in Experiences, not things – when planning activities, think about the Pleasurable Anticipation, be Attentive in the Present, and Reminisce about Positive Past.
    • Boost courageousness by taking guarded risks – turn my “someday I will” into action steps (starting small if needed!); Plan something outside my comfort zone.
    • Boost love of learning (a key strength for happiness) by taking new on-line classes; Boost curiosity with something different
    • Plan day trips – 2-3 for this fall and winter
    • Learn a new hobby
    • Be open to opportunities; say yes, be spontaneous!
  3. Practice Daily Gratitude – write down 3 every day –> gratitude, blessing, great things that happened
    • Be detailed in gratitude writing
    •  Consider a “50 things making my happy right now” when my emotions are spiraling downward
    • Express appreciation to others
    • Appreciate the Time Abundance that retirement provides!
  4. Practice Kindness
    • Explore ways to implement this – random acts of kindness
    • Volunteer – where are you giving your time, talents, treasures?
  5. Social Connections – be intentional with social bonding & friendships
    • Regular planning of connections (face-to-face IRL and Zoom)
    • When possible – reinstate physical touch (hugs)
    • Dance (provides an alternate oxytocin release to physical touch!) – find on-line classes to join
    • When possible – reinstate dinners with friends (drinking alcohol moderately and regularly with friends and/or with food is a Blue Zone must!)
    • Work on Active & Constructive responsive listening and celebrate the individual
    • Plan more time with spouse/partner/family – togetherness activities
    • For me – find new confidants via intentional planned connections
  6. Mindfulness/Meditation
    • Do yoga and/or breath work
    • Explore meditation (ex. Chopra series, Calm, etc.)
    • Continue journaling with regular Emotional Awareness (articulate your emotions, whether positive or negative!) and Self Awareness (continue challenging self limiting beliefs and replacing with self-empowering beliefs)
  7. Exercise – daily movement/functional fitness
    • Make movement a daily habit – add goals & accountability
    • Boost the Fun Factor & Engagement with Others (Blue Zone = have a social circle that supports healthy behaviors. Happiness is contagious.)
    • Body maintenance – Eat well (smaller portion, more fruits & veggies), hydrate, and do all necessary checkups
  8. Adequate Sleep
  9. Activate Your Strengths – Design your life to use your strengths more; Acknowledge signature strengths and celebrate accomplishments
    • Know your signature strengths (link to know yours) and create activities that utilize them
    • Build top strengths for happiness – gratitude, love of learning, hope, honesty, humor
  10. Proscription – Encourage a Positive Future-Focused Mindset
    • Stop “Catastrophizing” – dispute catastrophic thinking with critical thinking; shift self-limiting beliefs
    • Reduce Social Comparison – stop Compare & Despair and shift to celebration of individuality (yours and others)
    • Face Fear with Action – shift from worrier to warrior; Be intentional  “I can do this; I trust my capability to do this.”; focus on the skills you have to succeed, not the reasons to fail.
    • Shift Judgment: to compassion or acceptance (for self and others)
    • Let Go of Resentment
    • See the Positive – actively look for the positive in the adversity
    • Limit Social Media/news Time
  11.  Find Purpose/Calling
    • Keep exploring what your purpose/calling is; clearly articulate your purpose; design your life to live your purpose
    • Continue to align chosen activities with vision/values/strengths
    • Explore philanthropy
    • Join a faith-based community

Making positivity a permanent way of thinking takes practice – just like keeping muscles strong and your body flexible requires regular exercise and movement. This list of practical how-to ideas gives me different approaches for each of the proven Positive Psychology elements.  I have added many into my daily life and continue to work on adding others.

Have you decided to put Positive Psychology into practice in your life?  What are some of your HOWs?

Picture Credit: me (one of my new things – take more pictures!), a sunrise view from our back yard, with hubby’s fish kites (no wind)

13 thoughts on “Putting Positive Psychology Into Practice – Part 2

  1. Hi Pat – I loved this list and there are certainly a few that I need to work on – especially in regard to proscription and risk taking (I’m very risk adverse!) Also working on my strengths and how they play into my calling and future plans is something that’s been puttering around inside my head a lot lately. Thanks for sharing your gleanings with us – it’s always helpful as I work my way through to the next chapter in my life.

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    1. Leanne, I would say I am risk adverse myself. In one of my explorations, it was pointed out that I only did things I was sure I could accomplish. I was also encouraged to read the book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. It will probably come into a future blog but one thing I gleaned from that is my fear or risk aversion is because I don’t trust myself/ my capability. I really did enjoy crafting this list and thinking how to put the science of Positive Psychology into practice. Not that I do them all well… it is called practice after all!

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  2. This is a fabulous list. I actually find that I’m doing alright against it. Except for mindfulness…I’m not doing at all well against that one! Or sleep. I don’t do that well either. Sigh…

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    1. Jo, my hardest are kindness, proscription, and purpose. But it’s called “practice” for a reason…. just keep working on it! Small steps. (And aren’t your morning walks really all about mindfulness?)

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      1. Not really as I go with my husband & we chat and catch up. My afternoon walks are possibly more so as it’s my way of unwinding and getting out of day job mode. But yes, it’s not called practice for nothing.

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    1. Tom, yeah, I kinda have #8 well in hand too. (Notice no action steps there.) But it shows up on almost every list for positive psychology and happiness, so I had to include it. And for many (non-retirees), it is a challenge. #2 is one I miss ALOT right now. 10 and 11 are my hardest to do. It was actually a lot of fun to get to a list of things to try to see if I really can put this into practice more.

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  3. Very interesting Pat, and inspirational !!! Thank you for your blog! I hope all is well. Diane

    Le dim. 11 oct. 2020 à 20:53, retirementtransition a écrit :

    > patwdoyle11 posted: ” This blog captures my recent synthesis of Positive > Psychology explorations. It’s my list of Positivity Practices /Positivity > Skills Development where I’m capturing possible How-to’s not just on the > absence of negative (the bad things to “stop”), but als” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Diane, we’ve been here in FL the past month but are heading north. Hope to catch up with you in December when we are back. I started going to Redington Shores beach yoga again, about once a week and plan to again in December.

      I am happy you enjoy the blog!

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