Doing what you love.

Nothing gets me more excited than doing what I love. Today I’m meeting with a group of Wishful Thinking Women, and I can’t wait. I love talking with interested, talented women, who are exploring their lives, sharing their thoughts and moving toward their dreams.

I hope wherever you are and whatever you are up to this weekend, your life is filled with fun, flow and fulfillment, because that is the key to flourishing, PERMAnently!

Let us know what you are excited about these days. Your happiness, can inspire others. Go for it!

Up next

Patrice Koerper, American Corner, Bitola, Macedonia

That’s me. Happy and fulfilled because I was using my strengths and was very grateful to be where I was, doing what I was doing – talking about positive psychology at the American Corner in Bitola, Macedonia to a great group of people!

For my next project I am heading to the Republic of Georgia for three months as a Response Corps Volunteer with the United States Peace Corps. I love the Peace Corps; 2011 is their 50th anniversary. Who knew during the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps I would be a volunteer with them again! That’s the fun of creating the life you want, it is often a mystery – until it unfolds in front of you, like Macedonia and Georgia have done for me.

I will live in the capital of Tbilisi, and will work with the Ministry of Environment Protection writing a public relations plan for them. Before becoming a life coach, I worked in public relations for 25+ years, but could never have predicted I would someday be using those skills in Macedonia or in Georgia.

Georgia and Macedonia have a number of things in common, they have both been republics since 1991, and they are both beautiful mountainous countries with lots of vineyards; wonderful, warm people and rich histories. Their climates are similar, and much like Cleveland, Ohio were I was born and lived for 36 years.

I cannot wait to begin my assignment in Georgia, but it is just as difficult to say goodbye to Macedonia and my friends and “family” here, as it was to leave my family and friends in the States. Change and courage go hand in hand with each new adventure. We can never be certain where our journeys will take us, but I know that happiness is my constant traveling companion if I only remember to open my suitcase!

I hope wherever you are in the process of creating the life you want, you are experiencing fun, flow and fulfillment and are surrounded by friends and are finding ways to use your strengths, because as noted on the screen in the above photo those five things combined are the key to creating the life you want, PERMAnently.

Below is the next stop of my journey, where will yours take you? (Please remember, the internal places we travel and the friends we make are as important, and are usually more life changing and lasting, than the locations we visit.)

The Republic of Georgia

And, in true Georgian tradition, I will toast to you and your journey as soon as I can in my new location. You see, in Georgia . . .

“Toasts, however, are not simple declarations; they are expected to be speeches mixed with mirth, spoken verse and insight. Toasts are usually made with wine, toasting with beer is an insult to the one toasted. We are very generous with our wine, but since toasts are the only time you are supposed to drink your wine, we have many toasts (we have always been a practical people). In fact, we will use just about anything as an excuse to toast, a foreign guest happens to work quite well. So get used to your family, your country and friendship and your character being toasted. ”

http://georgia.travel/culture/food/toasting/

And, since Georgians never toast without a table laden with delicious homemade food, I know I will be feeling at home very soon!

PS  This post is filled with interesting links and videos about Georgia and posts about Macedonia and Wishful Thinking Works. Please take a minute to scroll up and click to learn more about where I am heading next, where I have been and what I’ve been thinking about along the way.

Why positive psychology matters

This Thursday at 6 p.m. I will be presenting my second “Why Positive Psychology Matters” talk in Macedonia at the American Corner in Bitola. I presented my first via the Internet in March at the American Corner in Skopje.

We will be discussing gratitude, the 3 F’s of Happiness, PERMA, personal stories and strengths and how are brains are designed to help us create the lives we really want.

If you are in the area, please join us! If you can’t make it, clink on the links above to read some of what we’ll be talking about. It may change your life.

And, if you like what you read, you can subscribe to Wishful Thinking Works, and follow on Facebook.

Active, constructive

Would you like to improve your relationships with your kids, your spouse, significant other, friends, extended family and co-workers?

If so, try the method Dr. Martin Seligman describes in his latest book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. Seligman is the father of positive psychology and in Flourish he discusses PERMA, the 5 pillars of well-being:

P – Positive emotion (happiness, fun, gratitude);

E – Engagement (flow – loosing ourselves or becoming completely absorbed in our work, our hobbies, or the moment);  

R – Relationships (those that touch our hearts, our souls and our minds); 

M – Meaning (a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives) and

A – Accomplishment (learning and moving forward with endeavors big and small and knowing and using your strengths).

Today, I’m focusing on only one aspect of PERMA – Relationships, and how to create better connections.

Shelly Gable, an assistant professor of psychology at UCLA, took a positive psychology approach to love and marriage research and discovered that how couples celebrate the good times, is a stronger indicator of the strength and resiliency of relationships than how they fight or deal with negative situations. This might not seem like a big deal, but for decades psychologist have been researching and trying to fix conflict or breaks in relationships rather than focusing on what make them stronger.

“Shelly Gable turns all this on its head. She is one of the few who work on what makes a marriage great, and her work holds a crucial lesson for all of us who want to transform a good relationship—marriage, parent, or friendship—into an excellent one.”

Gable developed the chart below to identify and categorize how people communicate in response to good news. Read the chart and decide where the majority of your responses fall. (Be honest – awareness is the first step of change!)

 

Next, observe yourself in action over the weekend and the next week or so, to see if your reactions fall squarely where you think they do. If you discover that your actions are not speaking as constructively as you would like, follow these steps and in no time you will be seeing positive results.

  1. Pay attention. Let the person who is talking to you “see” that you are listening. Look them in the eye, turn your body toward them. Smile, laugh, touch them.
  2. Say something positive: “Oh, Susan, that is wonderful.” “I’m so excited for you.” or whatever words work for you. Let your choice of words and the way you say them show your excitement.
  3. Ask questions: “When did you get the good news?” “How did you find out?” And, then follow-up with a sincere “Tell me all the details.” or “You must have been so excited, tell me all about it.” Any words that show your honest interest are the perfect words. You don’t need to overdo it, just ask and then listen – actively. Stay involved in the conversation so the person you care about, can share and savor the good news with you. Let the conversation be all about them.
  4. Suggest a way to celebrate. “Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate.” “Let’s open a bottle of wine.” Let’s go to the movies.” “Let’s . . . ” simply fill in whatever you know the person or child would really enjoy.

If you’re involved in a conversation and you realize that you aren’t responding as you would like, no problem. Simply stop and ask for a do-over. Say something like “You know what, I don’t think I’m being as positive as I can be about your good news, can we start over?” And then, do it. Your listener may be surprised, but will appreciate it.

Active/Constructive communication works so well, you may notice immediate results. Seligman shares a wonderful story in his book about an Army sergeant, who began actively and constructively responding to his young son and reported “about halfway through the conversation, my son interrupted me and said, “Dad, is this really you?” The sergeant’s new approach made his son uneasy at first, but within a few minutes the happiness in the boy’s voice shared just how much his Dad’s attention and approval meant to him. (Seligman has designed and is implementing a very successful resiliency program for all Army personal, which includes the concept of PERMA; I will share more about it in a future post.)

Give active/constructive communication a try, and let me know how it works. I want to hear all about it!

 

Flourish PERMAnently

Give me a P.  “P”   Give me an E.  “E” 

  Give me a R, M, A!   “R, M, A!”

What does it spell? PERMA! Louder. PERMA???

 

Now that I have your attention, I would like to tell you about Dr. Martin Seligman’s acronym for what we need to flourish in our lives – PERMA. My explanation comes from the pages of his newest book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, which I have mentioned several times in recent posts.

The book is 300+ pages of:

  • what’s working in positive psychology (lots)
  • stories about how positive psychology got to where it is today (It’s growing by leaps and bounds and finding its way into schools, businesses, and the United State Army – more on that later.)
  • a how-to manual for those interested in improving their lives (that’s us)
  • and a guide for where Seligman thinks positive psychology, we, and the world should direct our attention next.

Ambitious? Yes.  Interesting? Quite!  Insightful? Undeniably.  Helpful? Unbelievably.  Readable? Well, yes, but my guess is not everyone will find it the page-turner that I did. (I say this only because I have learned from the kind and well-meaning feedback of friends and family throughout the years that one woman’s non-fiction dream, can be another person’s sleeping potion.) So just incase you don’t pick-up the book, I will keep sharing what’s inside it.

Which brings me back to PERMA, and how to create the life your really want from Seligman’s five pillars of well-being.

P – POSITIVE EMOTION (happiness, fun, gratitude – a solid base)

E – ENGAGEMENT (flow – losing ourselves or becoming so absorbed in our work, our hobbies, the moment)

R – RELATIONSHIPS (those that touch our hearts, our souls and our minds)

M – MEANING or a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives

A – ACCOMPLISHMENT (learning and moving forward with our endeavors big and small; knowing and using your strengths)

Put them all together and what do you have? PERMA and folks, who are flourishing by living happy, interesting, fulfilling lives that they created, embrace, value and appreciate.

I’ll be posting more info about Seligman’s 5 factor approach for flourishing. PERMA is much more than a to-do-list. It’s about creating the life you really want, and can help you focus your attention and efforts on what’s ahead for you, not the past. There’s a big difference and that difference can help you flourish – PERMAnently!

PERMA is definitely one of those Wishful Thinking kind-of things that work!

WTW Dandelion

Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

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