A New Toolkit

August 4, 2011 Leave a comment
Happiness

|Photo by ernohannink|http://www.flickr.com/photos/ernohannink/3931122112|

Last week’s post on “Negativity and Self-Limiting Advocacy” ended up setting off quite a conversation. In light of that, I thought I might further flesh out some of what Barbara Fredrickson recommends via her book Positivity in a chapter entitled “A New Toolkit.”  Here she enumerates  ways to enhance overall positivity, and therefore broaden our individual and collective minds, build resourcefulness and resilience, and flourish in the direction of our highest aspirations.  Here is what she suggests, based on rigorous research:

  1. Be Open – Experiment with awareness and acceptance.  Get curious about and embrace the present moment.
  2. Create High Quality Connections – Be present to and affirming of others.  Cultivate trust and practice playfulness.
  3. Cultivate Kindness – Find new ways to make even the smallest difference in other people’s lives, every day.
  4. Develop Distractions – To avoid rumination, keep a list of and engage in healthy distractions, physical, intellectual, and otherwise, and try not to numb yourself out.
  5. Dispute Negative Thinking – Catch your inner critic in the act and develop alternative stories.
  6. Find Nearby Nature – Whether to socialize, exercise, or be one with the surroundings, get out there.
  7. Learn and Apply Your Strengths – Tools for doing this include the Reflected Best Self Exercise and the survey from the Values in Action Institute.
  8. Practice Mindfulness Meditation – There are many different guides and resources to help, including this link.
  9. Practice Loving-Kindness Meditation – Follow this link for a guided practice.
  10. Ritualize GratitudeResearch shows that writing down and reading the gifts that surround us on a regular basis can provide a huge boost.
  11. Savor Positivity – Don’t let the good be fleeting, drink it in, and replay it in your mind.  Share good news with others so that it continues to have life.
  12. Visualize Your Future – Where and how would you be if your dreams came true?  Pull out a journal and have fun with it.
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