Positive Emotions.

During my coaching training we completed modules on positive psychology. Standard psychology = broken people need fixing. Positive psychology = focusing on the positive aspects of human life and how to enhance them. The world definitely has a need for both but 2020 has highlighted to me so far that there is a special need for positive psychology in the general population at the moment. So far this year has been scary to say the least, a lot has happened, a lot IS happening and it is easy to get sucked into a downward spiral of worry and fear. 

Broaden and build theory suggests that emotions are very functional. Where negative emotions serve a purpose by limiting our thoughts and behaviours allowing us to act more decidedly in times of stress, positive emotions broaden and build our conscious awareness. When you are in a bad mood, you are very closed off & stuck in negative thought patterns. When you are in a good mood you are more curious, sociable, creative & healthier. You become better at problem solving and are able to persevere longer at tougher tasks. More importantly right now, your immune system works better!

On a personal level, we should be looking to nourish and increase positive emotions in order to get the above benefits, but also on a company level. For any business, big or small, i fully believe in the importance of looking after the mental health and overall well-being of your employees. In coaching we look at each person as a whole. We understand that in order to feel satisfied, fulfilled and happy, one must have balance in key areas of their life. If one of your team members is not performing well, instead of focusing on their current lack of achievement, have you thought about the possibility of something outside of work that might be affecting their performance? If they feel unfulfilled in life, the negative feelings and thoughts will seep through in to their work life. If they are having trouble at home, or if they are having health issues, the same thing will happen. When our lives feel balanced and fulfilled, we can increase positive emotions and in turn improve our lives even more creating an upward spiral.

A meta analysis study by Lyubomirsky, King & Diener in 2005 on positive emotions shows that positive emotions have the following results within a company – 

  • Lower turnover at work.
  • Better reports of customer service.
  • Better supervision evaluations.
  • Lower emotional exhaustion.
  • Higher job satisfaction.
  • Better organisational citizenship behaviour.
  • Fewer work absences.
  • More social club involvement.
  • More volunteerism.
  • Perceived by others as being friendlier more assertive and more confident,
  • Higher annual salaries,
  • Higher longevity.
  • Lower incidence of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Faster recovery from illness or injury.
  • More likely to resolve conflict through collaboration.
  • Increased motivation.
  • Better decision making efficiency.

I have just provided you 17 good reasons to work on interventions to help increase positive emotions in yourself and in your employees.

Business hats to one side though, couldn’t we all use a little more of this? I know my anxiety has started to creep up on me the past few weeks and with the current COVID-19 pandemic i know i can’t be the only one. From the fires across Australia devastating the native wildlife, to multiple deaths & tragedies, now countries going in to lock down due to the coronavirus, what a year so far. I think of myself as a very positive and open minded person and i tend not to get worried or sucked in to things that we have no control over, but even so i can’t help but feel overwhelmed at how the year has started. 

So this post is just as much for me as it is for you. Whether you apply this just to yourself, or if you are in a position where you can apply this to your company and employees, let’s look at some interventions to increase positivity and get ourselves into that upwards spiral.

We’ve all heard of ‘name 3 things your grateful for’, right? I want to take it a step further. 

Although studies show that naming 3 things your grateful for each day does in fact increase positivity, they also show that people tend not to stick to the practice after the study has ended. It just doesn’t feel worthwhile enough for people to continue long term. In coaching, we focus on creating long lasting habits so i’m going to suggest gratitude to you, but in a slightly different format. 

At the end of each day, instead of naming 3 things your grateful for, i want you to think about it in a bit more detail. Keep a journal of this and ask yourself questions that focus on the positives such as – 

  • Who supported me today?
  • What were today’s successes?
  • What did i do well today?
  • What did others do well today?
  • What was the highlight of my day?

Keep this up for at least 1 month, it should only take a few minutes each night, you will be surprised at how much you notice. Make sure to leave your journal somewhere you will see it each night so that you don’t forget. It might also be helpful to think of a trigger such as brushing your teeth before bed or getting changed in to your PJ’s, so you know when i get changed in to my PJ’s each night i will take a few minutes to write my journal. This is a great way to integrate it into your routine and form a new habit. 

If you are in a business environment, you could also do this as a team at the end of each work day. Ask your team to reflect on these questions and write them down, either individually or as a group. 

This is such a small step and will only take a few minutes each day, you have read the amazing effects of increasing positive emotions, we could all use a little boost right now i’m sure, so let’s all do this together. Let’s start today!

 

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References – 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/positive-psychology

Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching – Robert Biswas-Diener.

 

 

New Beginnings.

As most of you will know by now i recently handed my notice in at my job of 2.5 years.

I’ve had a great time there but over this past year i’ve been feeling kind of stuck. I felt a long time ago that i had gotten everything i could from this job, there was nothing more that i could do here, no new skills to learn, no room to progress and grow. It started making me feel really bored and unhappy, so i finally bit the bullet and started applying for new jobs.

Luckily something fell right into my lap and very quickly i got an amazing new job offer. I’m so excited to start this new chapter in my life and this new job is exactly what i was praying for. Last year was very tough for me, a lot of ups and downs but i somehow managed to power through and this year things are looking so much better.

Last year there were a lot of days where i struggled to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning, a lot of days where i was afraid to talk to anybody and i was afraid that things would never get better. Around me everybody would have thought i was the happiest person ever but that’s just because i was afraid to tell anyone what was going on in my head in case they told me i was crazy. The best decision i ever made was to confide in a friend and to get help. Its been a long road so far and i’m not naive enough to think that my troubles are behind me, anybody who has suffered with mental health will know its an uphill battle where you get knocked back down again and again.

So far in 2017 i feel like one good thing has been happening after another, it feels almost to good to be true. My blog has been doing amazing, my training is going really well, i’ve had a few photo shoots, and most of all i feel happy again. Unfortunately with anxiety there’s always that little voice in my head telling me this won’t last, something will go wrong. What i’ve came to realize is that that little voice is probably right, the good times don’t last forever, but neither do the bad times. Life is fleeting and no matter what happens nothing lasts forever.

So while all of these good things are happening to me i’m going to focus on vibrating higher, live right in this moment and appreciate every single good thing that is happening to me right now. The big things and the small, getting a new job and finding a lucky cent. Because they all matter and they all make me smile and it’s these things that manage to keep me going even in my darkest days.

One thing that has really helped me in not being so worried about the future is how i have such an amazing group of friends who have been so good to me through everything. On days when i have felt low and felt empty, its my friends who have helped raise me back up and fill me back up with love.

It’s weird how much things can change in one year, how your perception can change. I once remember writing that life is not meant to be lived in pain. Oh how naive i feel now for writing that, but that’s genuinely what i thought at the time. Now i realize that that’s what life is, it’s painful and it’s unfair. We just have to not let that pain consume us and drag us under. For it’s the pain that makes us who we are. The pain makes us stronger.

So here’s to new beginnings. Here’s to 2017. Here’s to being stronger than ever.

Even in my lowest lows I have unwavering faith that the universe has my back.

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May every sunrise bring you hope.

For people who struggle with mental illness sometimes it can be so hard to think of reasons to get out of bed in the morning, or to think of reasons to carry on.

Sometimes you gotta dig real deep and even then you might still come up empty.

That’s why i take so many pictures of the sunrise every morning… i print them all out & stick them on my bedroom wall.

Because if anything can bring me back up from the darkness its the thought of seeing one more Sunrise.

& i’m always so glad i was strong enough to get up and watch it and to make it through another day, because every sunrise gives me new hope.

Here’s one i took this morning.

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Welcoming Autumn.

I love autumn, it has always been my favourite time of year. Today in the northern hemisphere we have the autumnal equinox. Today day and night are the same length of time and the sun and moon are in perfect balance.

Major moments like the equinox and change of seasons will always be reflected in ourselves. We are one big living organism. By taking a look at the outer world and the shifts that are happening around us we can also learn a lot about our own journey at this time.

So what does the autumnal equinox and the coming months mean, for us?

”the trees are getting ready to shed their leaves and let go of all the old”

Well, it couldn’t be clearer than that could it? Now is the time to let go of the old, release anything that no longer serves you, release any emotional baggage, release any negative vibrations, let go of any negative thought patterns, ANYTHING that no longer serves you.

Write it down on a piece of paper. ASK the angels to help you release it. Then burn it outside under tonight’s equinox moon and feel that weight being lifted off from you as you let go and let God.

But remember this is a culmination of energies and patterns that have been playing out and building up over a very long time. They won’t be gone in one night. What you are doing is setting the intention that you want to let go, you want to be free, you want to release these things. Now in the coming days listen. Let your spirit guides do what they do best and GUIDE you on your path to inner peace and transformation.

Your angels will always guide you on the right path. They always know which way is best. They ALWAYS have your best interests and they want this for you more than you can ever imagine. All you have to do is ask, then listen. Listen to what they are telling you to do next.

Maybe it will be a feeling you get. Maybe an unexplained ‘meaningful coincidence’. Maybe they will send you an angel feather. Maybe you will have a dream. Or maybe something will just come to you and you will just KNOW what is next. Whatever way your angels communicate with you (it is different for everyone) just trust them, and have the courage to take the steps.

Transformation is a beautiful thing. Just like the trees shedding the leaves and the beauty of autumn- there is nothing more beautiful than you shedding anything that does not bring you peace in order to transform in to who you really are. A being of light.

Many blessings.

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When feathers appear..

… angels are near.

Feathers are sent to us by our angels.

This is their way of guiding and communicating with us. A feather that comes to us in a strange way or happens to blow onto our path is manifested by our angels in the ethereal realm and then transferred into our third dimension for us to receive them. A gift. A sign.

The most common feathers sent by angels are white ones. A white feather means your angels are reminding you to keep the faith, they are there and they are supporting and guiding you every day. A white feather can also be them sending you a message from a loved one who has passed. If i come across a white feather i take it home and add it into the feathers on my dream catcher using a piece of wire or thread. Some people like to keep them in their sacred meditation space, or even just in a small safe trinket box.

A few days ago i came across a beautiful black feather, it blew right into my path onto my foot as i was walking home from the gym. If ever your angels send you a black feather this one does not belong in  your dream catcher. A black feather should be placed on your windowsill or beside your bed, it is a reminder from your angels that you always have their protection, have no fear or doubt.

If ever your angels do send you a feather, try to remember what exactly you were thinking about the moment they sent it to you. The feather could be the answer to a question you were thinking about, it could be encouragement from your angels, they could be helping to guide you in the right direction and remind you they are with you always. Once you have received the message from your angels make sure to thank them. A simple thought of gratitude and love is enough.

Every one of us each have two angels that we are connected to at ALL times. They are always guiding you, you just have to ask. The thing is we do have free will, so your angels will guide you but they will not interfere without your permission. If ever you need guidance, or protection, or the answer to a question… or even if you just need comfort and want your angels close. Just ask them for help, ask them for safety, ask them for a clear sign and believe that you will receive one and i promise you will. Every time.

Love and Light.

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Gratitude.

I decided to start writing this post as i’m sitting out on my rooftop soaking up what is likely to be the most sun we see in Dublin all summer. It’s moments like this, the small seemingly meaningless ones, that actually give life meaning.

One of the best lessons i ever learnt, was to be grateful. Not just for the big things, but for the little daily things that make life a blessing.

Anyone can be grateful if they receive a big sum of money as a gift. What really changes lives is learning to be grateful for something as little as a cent. If your not grateful for finding a cent or a euro, what on earth makes you think you deserve more?

Learning to be grateful is one of the most powerful internal tools you will ever need. It changed my perception in such a massive way that it changed my full life. Now as soon as wake up in the morning within about a half hour i could tell you so many things i am already grateful for about the day so far.

For example – tomorrow when i get up for work, immediately i will be grateful that it’s Monday, my favorite day, it’s a new week & a fresh start. I will be grateful that the route i walk to get to work is down the canal and it’s so beautiful that time of morning. I will be grateful that on my way to work every morning i get to see the sunrise, which always takes my breath away. I will be grateful that i get to walk in while most people are still in bed and the only sounds out are nature, it’s so serene that early down the canal. I’ll be grateful that my work is only 4 kilometers away so i can actually walk in instead of having to get the bus (which i hate). I’ll be grateful that as i get to the bottom of my road every morning Andy the postman stops to have a chat and ask how i am, this always makes me smile! I’ll be grateful when i get to work that i have a job which i love, working with people who i really enjoy being around. All of these thing’s to be grateful for and that’s before 8:30am!

Do you get it yet? The big moments, like a promotion, a holiday, a great night out with friends, the moments that it’s easy to be grateful for. The big moments actually make up a very small portion of your life. What your life actually is, is all of the small  moments in between the big ones. The little things? The aren’t little. Don’t spend your life waiting for the big events, find things to be grateful for in every moment of your life and i assure you – the more you consciously make an effort to do this, the less you will have to try. Once you start, you will no longer have to stop and think what am i grateful for today? You will find yourself radiating endless gratitude and finding more and more things you are actually grateful for.

Why bother, why is this so important? It’s all about perception. Like i said, it is learning to be truly happy for what you already have and genuinely be thankful for it, which will make you appreciate everything in your life a lot more. And most of all, gratitude is a MAGNET for abundance. The more gratitude you feel, the more and more likely you are to attract bigger and better things to you. Being grateful for what you already have is the most powerful way to attract more of what you want. But we’ll leave the law of attraction for another day, today lets just be grateful.

Try this.

For the next 21 days, all you have to do is first thing in the morning when you wake up – take a few deep breaths and think of 5 things you are grateful for. Then when going to bed do the same, when you close your eyes just before you go to sleep, take a few deep breaths and think of 5 more things that you were grateful for today. That’s it. Just give it a try and in 21 days time see what it has done for you. Such a small thing can have such a big impact! And even if you don’t think this will make a difference, humor me. Do it anyway, it takes about a minute out of your day. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. 

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