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4 research-based approaches to cultivating a positive mindset

9 June, 2022

Positive thoughts boost your mood and energy and cultivate even more positivity and happiness in your life. In reverse, negative thoughts can create a domino effect of destructive energy, and falling into a negative spiral affects how you live your life. 

You don’t have to accept the negative thoughts and internal chatter. Instead, you can choose to switch to positive perception and reach for healthier, hopeful thoughts. Of course, it takes practice, but soon enough, your mind will move towards more positivity.

  1. Balancing act: hedonic and eudaimonic well-being

In positive psychology, there are two main types of well-being: Hedonic and Eudaimonic:

Hedonic well-being: refers to a high level of positive emotion and life satisfaction. Simply put, you achieve hedonic well-being by attaining pleasure and avoiding pain; an example is winning or losing. 

Eudaimonic well-being: involves feelings of self-acceptance, growth, mastery, life purpose, autonomy, and positive relationships with others. Eudaimonic well-being is the joy and contentment that comes from pursuing meaningful fulfilment. 

A person who wins a race, for example, experiences hedonic well-being. In contrast, the glowing feeling of joy a person might experience after a deep meditation represents eudaemonic well-being. These well-being types are essential components of happiness and positivity as they complement one another to create a balanced life.

2. The PERMA model

Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, put together what he calls the Wellbeing Theory, also known as the PERMA model. 

P Positive emotions

E Engagement 

P Positive relationships

M Meaning

A Accomplishment 

According to Seligman, PERMA is an acronym for the five areas of well-being:

P – Positive Emotions: Experiencing positive emotion – enjoying yourself in the moment. 

E – Engagement: To be completely absorbed in something you enjoy, you thrive and excel at (I would refer this to as getting into your creative flow!)

R – (Positive) Relationships: Humans are social beings; we rely on connection with others to flourish. Deep, meaningful, supportive relationships with others are vital to our well-being. 

M – Meaning: Finding meaning in life, dedicating yourself to something bigger than yourself. 

A – Accomplishment / Achievement: We all thrive when we’re succeeding, achieving goals, and bettering ourselves, we need the drive to accomplish and achieve authentic well-being. 

This model gives us a framework for understanding well-being and as a foundation for improving our well-being. 

So, if you’re looking to experience more positivity and enhance your sense of authentic happiness, here are the five things that can help you:

  1. Experience more positive emotions by doing more things that make you happy, and commit to bringing enjoyment into your daily routine.
  2. Increase your engagement by pursuing hobbies that interest you, developing your skills, looking for a job more suited to your passions, or doing more of the work you enjoy.
  3. Improve the quality of your social circle, and work on building more positive and supportive relationships with your inner circle. 
  4. Seek out meaning; if you don’t find it through your work, look at volunteering, hobbies, sports or use your field of expertise to mentor others.
  5. Keep focused on achieving your goals (if you don’t have any, set and commit goals that will bring joy and a sense of accomplishment into your life). Remember to keep your ambition balanced with all the other essential things in your life.

3. Embracing a new way of being

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, another positive psychology researcher, states that you cultivate a positive mindset by being open, curious, kind, appreciative, and genuine. 

Open: try out new experiences, be willing to consider others’ perspectives, ask questions and search for information that challenges your beliefs. 

Curious: self-motivated, loves to learn, stays in the moment, asks questions, listens without judgement. 

Kind: to be friendly, generous, and considerate of others’ feelings, experiences, views, and beliefs.  

Appreciative: cultivate an attitude of abundance, be optimistic, to experience gratitude. 

Genuine: forge your own path, don’t try to make people like you, don’t pass judgement, not driven by ego, trustworthy, and not motivated by material things. 

4. Use effective goal setting 

Using goal setting helps you uncover that you can achieve more than you thought you could, bolstering self-esteem, increasing focus, and enhancing productivity and commitment. 

The goal theory (Grant, 2012, Locke & Latham, 1984, 1990; Latham & Locke, 1984) states to make your goals S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely to help you stay on track and reduce overwhelm. When you set effective goals, you will achieve more. 

When writing out goals, use positive language for a positive outcome – work for what you want, not what you want to leave behind. 

We can’t be happy every second of the day, and we shouldn’t expect this either. To experience life, we must experience all the good, bad, and ugly emotions. However, we can learn to embrace life with a positive attitude; this will open the door to experiencing more positive emotions. A lot in life is out of our control; learning to accept those parts is essential to own what is within your control entirely. This control is what brings hope and cultivates positivity.

Do you want support putting these theories into real-life practice? Then, one-to-one coaching will be perfect for you! So book your discovery call today. 

Do you want support putting these theories into real-life practice?

Then, one-to-one coaching will be perfect for you!

Click here to book your discovery call today

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