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Positivity Practices for Difficult Times

Posted on 19-3-2020 by Melanie White



Right now, a lot of people want to feel happier, less anxious, calmer and generally to be able to cope better with these challenging times.

The great news is that we have a variety of tools available to help us get there, courtesy of Positive Psychology.

Dr Barbara Fredrickson started the positivity movement with her initial research in 1998. Her theories and models have seen an explosion of debate and further study into what makes us happy and feel more positive.

One aspect of Barbara Fredrickson’s positivity research is the of positive emotions – a key part of happiness and wellbeing. This theory involves two parts:
  1. Positive emotions have a broadening effect – they allow us to be intentional, creative and agile.
  2. Positive emotions have a building effect – when we broaden our perspectives and actions, we build lasting physical, intellectual, psychological and social resources – in other words, resilience.
People who are happy have many positive traits such as better coping mechanisms, a longer life and better health.

To sum it up, positivity underpins success in any are of life and makes the journey to get there easier. But it also helps us manage the difficult times more effectively, to build our resources and resilience, to cope better and to stay calmer.

Positivity Practices

Here are some practices that can help you to start reducing negativity and to start increasing positivity, too. A good starting point is to pick one or two of these that are attractive to you and to use them once or twice this week.

Reducing Negativity
  • Dispute negative thinking – challenge your mental ‘catastrophes’
  • Break rumination with a healthy distraction, like a crossword
  • Work with a coach
  • Use a mindfulness practice such as meditating, being in nature, or admiring a piece of artwork, or an absorbing hobby
  • Reconstruct your day to avoid negative ‘land mines’ – circumstances that trigger negative emotions*
  • Assess your media diet 
  • Stop gossip and sarcasm
  • Find ways to deal with negative people 
          - modify the situation (e.g. behave differently)
          - attend it differently (e.g. change your focus or perspective), or
          - change what you make it mean (e.g. reframe/silver lining).

Increasing Positivity
  • Be sincere
  • Find positive meaning 
  • Savour goodness
  • Be grateful / keep a gratitude journal
  • Perform an act of kindness
  • Follow your passions
  • Dream about your future/connect with your why/vision
  • Use your strengths
  • Connect with others
  • Connect with nature
  • Open your mind and heart
There are many easy-to-use practices that can help you to manage your emotions in difficult times, and to feel more positive. Which ones will you try this week?



About the Author - Melanie White

Melanie is a wellness coach with PT and associated qualifications. With over 15 years of experience in business management and leadership, Melanie brings a wealth of experience to the table. She loves helping people germinate new business ideas and grow them into successful, profitable ventures. 

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