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New Year’s Resolutions - Positive Psychology Style!

It’s New Year’s Eve again, a time when people may have resolutions in mind for 2022. Have you made one this year?

Often when someone asks me what my New Year’s resolution is, I haven‘t really given it much prior thought and quickly say something off the cuff like “eating less chocolate” (which to be fair, I probably should consider).

This year I’m going to focus even more on improving my wellbeing and flourishing, using simple but tried-and-tested methods from the field of positive psychology.

Fancy joining me? Read on for 5 ideas based on the PERMA model of flourishing (and one bonus idea), incidentally all of which we use to inform our local services and sessions in the community.

1) Increase your Positive Emotion (P)

Positive emotion can be increased in a number of ways, including focusing positively on the past, present and future in specific ways. A great activity for promoting positive emotion is called ‘What Went Well? journaling’. At the end of each day write down three things that went well for you, including a little explanation of why. This exercise gives you the opportunity to reflect on and savour positive moments from the day, cultivate gratitude and perhaps even build optimism and hope for the future. See this link for more information about the What Went Well? exercise.

2) Get Engaged (E)

No, we don’t mean like that! - no need for a diamond. Engagement here refers to finding an activity that fully engages you, to the point that it brings about a state of flow. According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow happens when we undertake an activity that challenges our skills and absorbs our attention so much so that time appears to stand still. Activities we do for doing them’s sake, rather than for any particular gain. Some examples might be; playing an instrument, sports, gardening, DIY projects, painting and other hobbies. Perhaps there’s a passtime you’ve been meaning to take up but haven’t found the time, make 2022 the year!

3) Nurture your Relationships (R)

If Covid has taught us anything this last couple of years it’s how fundamental our relationships are to our wellbeing. We are a social species and developing strong relationships is important for adaptation and evolutionary survival In our daily life, being with friends and family often provides opportunities for us to experience joy, fun, support and feelings of meaning and belonging. This is why our organisation puts such emphasis on building strong relationships, networks and community in our projects and services. Take time to nourish your meaningful relationships in 2022 and spend time in good company when you can. We’ll keep offering opportunities for families in our communities to come together.

4) Find Meaning (M)

A sense of purpose and meaning can be really important for our wellbeing. Often this is found by feeling that we belong to something bigger than just ourselves. This might be family, religion, clubs, communities or institutions etc. A great way to find meaning is by supporting social causes, like helping with food banks, volunteering at a community garden or supporting local charitable organisations. Did we mention that we’re looking for volunteers? :D

5) Try to Accomplish some things (A)

Accomplishment and achievement, for its own sake, such as through hobbies, sports and in the workplace can help promote flourishing. This year my daughter got a robotics kit from Father Christmas. Having never tried it before, we followed the instructions and built a little AI robot from scratch! My daughter’s goal was the end result of having the finished robot, but for me it was the sense of accomplishment of mastering something new and pretty difficult! It certainly boosted my positive emotion and sense of achievement to see the completed little robot walk across the living room floor (after several hours of building and possibly even a couple of quiet swear words!). Why not try accomplishing some new goals, big or small, in 2022.

Bonus: Get out in Nature:

Anyone who knows us will know how much we love nature and value it’s well known benefits for wellbeing. There is a whole raft of research that shows nature-connectedness is really good for us and makes us feel better. Read more here. In 2022 why not join us with your family at one of our Nature for Wellbeing session/events. We’ll have lots of outdoor activities in the New Year, starting with our regular free Welly Walk and Forest School sessions at Springfield Park (next to Alder Hey hospital) like the one in the picture. Booking here

All of these simple things will help to boost your wellbeing and your family’s too, so why not have a go at weaving them into your daily life in 2022 where you can.

To find out more, read about the five building blocks of flourishing (PERMA) here

Here’s to a Happy and #Flourishing New Year!

Author: Nicola Mainwaring (31/12/21)


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