How to give and receive love, starting now – Barbara Fredrickson’s TED talk

This short video is a great summary of a 6 week positive psychology course I am taking on Coursera currently. It’s fascinating how Fredrickson redefines what love is – see below. Giving and receiving love is vital for our well being and the good news is that it’s easier to find than we thought!

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Knowing, understanding yourself and your strengths is key to your happiness

This year I felt like I wanted to get a good picture of my strengths, finally, so I invested in several studies – I did one through work (Strengthscope), I did Via Strengths (free but you pay for detailed report) and I did Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Gallup (you need to buy a book which gives you a code). They replicate so you can do just one if interested. And do please share in the comments if you found another survey/ tool and it worked for you!

The findings were not 100% straightforward but made me rethink some things and how I approach and select what I do in life and at work. My top 5 strengths:

1. Empathy, kindness, compassion
2. Creativity, ideation
3. Appreciation of beauty & excellence, self improvement
4. Strategic mindset
5. Developing others, connectedness, relator

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Measure and track your positivity ratio

We track steps and calories, why not track happiness? In the Positive Psychology course (on Coursera), Barbara Fredrickson shares a tool that she developed to do just that. You can take Positivity Ratio Assessment here. Do daily measurements and track your scores over a week or more. The expected outcome is that it will help you make adjustments in your day to day life and start prioritising positive experiences on your to do list to boost your overall well being and happiness:

Just like tracking calories or cash flows can heighten your awareness and in time help you meet your fitness or financial goals, tracking your positivity ratio can help you raise your ratio and build your best future.

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To be happier, prioritise positive experiences on your to do list

If you find seaweed in your nether regions, you must be on a holiday 🙂 I am in my bucket list destination – Fuerteventura in Spain. Several days to pause, breathe, clear headspace, think about important things. In between being a parent and a wife.

And Barbara Fredrickson's advice comes in handy as I am struggling to find me time – being more positive, happier day 2 day is not about changing your personality, it's as simple as adding or prioritising positive experiences on your to do list. We all get so grown up, so tied up in what we must do for others that we forget what we need to do for ourselves.

So while on holiday, I walk along the beach in the morning. I listen to the ocean. I watch the sunrise. I do not time myself and I do not have milestones or a checklist. I let myself flow with the ocean. I am also learning that as soon as I am back, I need to continue to prioritise these little but important moments, the me time.

Happy weekend, fellow nomads!

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Build your Positivity Portfolio #happiness

I am taking a Positive Psychology course. I wanted to share one of the exercises. First, in the course they define 10 positive emotions as below (the last line reads LOVE). They also state that positive emotions broaden our perception (rather than narrow it like negative emotions do), open us to more perspectives and make us more inclusive and creative. The exercise is that you need to choose one of these emotions and build a visual Positivity Portfolio around it (remember visualisation boards?). You can then use your Positivity Portfolio when things are not going well or negative emotions take over and bring yourself back into peace. I chose JOY and if I ever figure out how to put the board together, I will share it here. Share your board if/ when you have one!

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How I found my life’s passion by asking myself these ridiculous questions, by @IAmMarkManson

Mark Manson is awesome, you guys. I loved his book and I LOVED his recent post on finding life passion. He has a talent to dissect some of the biggest life questions, bring out the top insight and deliver it in a simple but cool way (with some swearing thrown in :)). He is a modern philosopher, no less.

I read quite a bit on life purpose, meaning, finding life passion. I loved Mark’s post because it’s a spot on summary of everything there is on the subject and a great guide to actually doing it, finding your life passion. Key takeaways are below – I prescribe to myself to print out this post and stick it on my inspiration board, then revisit it daily and actually commit to making this happen.

When people say, “What should I do with my life?” or “What is my life purpose?” what they’re actually asking is: “What can I do with my time that is important?”

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The wolf inside. My shamanic healing experience and what I learned from it #happiness

It was always about the wolf. I was interested in shamanism for a while, occasionally read about it but never actually considered doing it. When I read about Lissa Rankin’s experience with a shamanic ritual in her book The Anatomy of a Calling, I was curious so I searched for shamans in the UK and was surprised to find a couple. It seemed so far fetched, I put it off again.

Recently I’ve been feeling drained of energy, running empty on joy – have I adulted too fast? Is this what life is for a married full time working parent? I lost my creative energy and I did not feel alive anymore. I did not thrive. I felt I needed help. I needed to heal. So I emailed a shaman. Continue reading

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