Surprising New Ways to See Success and Happiness
By Sandy Schroeder
Many of the things that work to improve life are fairly well known and accepted. Mindfulness meditation, helping others, and being grateful are all good choices, but there may be other thoughts out there that are worth examining.
Here are some different views from the recent meeting of the International Positive Psychology Association’s 5th World Congress.
Relational energy works – Relational energy is a new kind of psychological mapping that measures how much interactions with others inspire, motivate and energize people, instead of draining them of energy and eventually exhausting them.
The people who were positive energizers were found to be trustworthy, real, unassuming, forgiving, and helpful in solving problems. Their impact worked four times as well as the usual motivational methods used in the workplace, according to Kim Cameron, a University of Michigan professor and leader in organizational psychology.
Be careful what you say – Most of us feel we are being helpful when we remind our children or spouses to eat healthier and exercise more -- or suffer the consequences. When we say that, we may really be planting the wrong ideas in their heads as they see themselves lagging behind and becoming unhealthier.
Research suggests what we think may actually have effects on our bodies. So telling people they are doing unhealthy things may create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
To help our friends and family thrive, we may want to take a whole new approach. Introducing them to a new beach or park or lining up a special weekend campout or wilderness hike could help to activate them and bring them back for future events. They will feel like they are healthy because they are actually out there exercising.
Eating healthier could be launched with some new heathy salads, fruits, dips and main courses at home, along with suggestions for healthier ways to dine out.
In both cases, actual events may produce positive results, rather than negative ones.
Recognize meaningfulness – There are many suggestions for ways to make life more meaningful, but some researchers say we may see life as meaningful just the way it is. If we look around, most of us appreciate good times with friends, satisfying meals with our family, and ongoing interactions with colleagues.
Learning to recognize what we have could be as easy as reinforcing the habit to look around and spot the meaningful positives wherever they are. Be glad that you have them and keep looking for more.
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