Doable positive psychology tips and takeaways ...


If you've ever stepped inside my office you may have noticed a bunch of books on my shelves from a wide variety of people - psychologists, philosophers, self-help gurus, political heroes, etc. I'm a bowerbird of ideas - I take bits and pieces from all of them.

There are a couple of books by Martin Seligman on my shelves - the 75 year-old American psychologist who co-founded 'positive psychology' around 20 years ago.

I was introduced to the concept of positive psychology when my own coach, the fabulous Corrinne Armour, suggested I do Seligman's 'signature strengths process' in about 2008. The process assessed my strengths based on the 24 identified strengths that fit under six overarching virtues that almost every culture across the world endorses - wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. One of the great things about this website is that it saves your top strength, so you can see how things change over time - my current top strength is leadership. Over the last 10 years it has bounced around between bravery and valour (2011 and 2014), gratitude (2015) and leadership (2013 and 2018).

I now use the signature strengths process with my own coaching clients. By understanding individual signature strengths, people are able to align their values with their strengths to unleash potential and increase happiness. This is all really good stuff. If you're keen on also exploring this, see here.

So, I was pretty keen to hear about what else Seligman has been working on lately when he recently did the rounds to spruik his latest book, The Hope Circuit. I booked a couple of tickets to The School of Life-hosted talk on called Martin Seligman on Hope and Helplessness.

But I couldn't make it. An old friend and coaching client went for me and wrote a long and easy to read blog post, which she has called 'write down your 'what went wells' and use your 'active constructive words'. The post looks at the history of positive psychology, how Seligman learnt how to be optimistic (detailed in his new book) and lists a few doable positive psychology tips and takeaways, such as:

  • How to give up on being grumpy

  • Three positive things you can do at work

  • Plus, three random takeaways

One of the positive things you can do at work - or on your own - is write down three things that went well every day for a week. The blog post has a link to a 'what went well today?' worksheet you can download and fill in, and also aligns nicely with my blog from March 'what's the best thing today?'.

Have you done the signature strengths process? What are your top strengths? And what's your 'went well' from today? I'd love to hear - feel free to get in touch ...

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