In this blog post: Positive Psychologist Tutorial on How To Be Happy: Part 2, I bring to you Part 2 of the edited transcript from the podcast I recorded with my good friend and colleague, Verity (Positive Psychologist) way back in 2016. I’ve been through the transcript and I’ve cut out all of the fluff (Verity and I like to chat) and I’m bringing to you all of the juicy bits.

And I mean juicy!

If your happiness is important to you (silly question) then this is the blog post for you.

In part 2 we cover::

  1. Core Values
  2. Mental blocks.
  3. Measuring your well-being
  4. Positive psychology to help in business.
  5. Employee happiness and productivity,
  6. How happiness can be a choice.
  7. How I choose to be happy and how.
  8. How we need to follow the lead of Denmark.
  9. Why having fun is important.
  10. The books Verity recommends.

No time?

Then simply scroll down to the bottom and read my summary.

We start where we left off in the last blog post.

Are you ready?

Positive Psychologist Tutorial on Being Happy: Part 1

Verity:

So, another great thing is to get in touch with your core values.

Prosperity Kitchen:

Yes. And that is a traditional life coaching exercise which most coaches will get their clients to do at the beginning. Talk us through that.

Verity:

Your core values are what you are inherently. You do what you do because that’s you and many of us don’t actually know what that is or what they are, but they are absolutely fundamentally the most important piece of information about yourself. You can make really positive decisions with confidence; that you know are right for you, but also, when you start acting out your core values from day to day, it makes life flow. Life becomes easy.

Prosperity Kitchen:

OK. Would you give as an example of a value or values?

Verity:

I could give you an example of one of my core values and one of my core values is connection and I am very much driven to connect with people. I suppose this is why I’m a coach. It’s all about connecting with people and everything that I do is very much about connecting with an individual, wanting to know more about them and being able to actually help them to better themselves, which I suppose would actually be another core value of mine, helping others to better themselves. So that’s an example and I love what I do and it was only when I really found out what my core values were that I really took on coaching full-time.

Prosperity Kitchen:

So, values are who you are, but they’re also life principles that you live by effectively. So, for instance, one of mine is integrity or consideration and I tend to fall back on my values if I’m stuck and I’m not quite sure what decision to make. I will look and think about what my values are and the decision I’m going to make, does it fall within those values? That’s when I tend to use mine. They’re so integral to how we live our lives and we don’t realise what they are until, probably, you’ve had a life coach.

Verity:

Yes. Absolutely. Values highlight the sandpaper effect also. People often say they feel like they’re going against the grain. This is usually because they’re not acting within their values and as soon as they start to understand what their values are and be able to pinpoint them and use them in their day-to-day life, that’s when life flows again and happiness levels, of course, increase.

Prosperity Kitchen:

It’s almost as if when you’re feeling uncomfortable in life or you’re doing something that doesn’t make you feel good, you’re acting against your values. It’s a good barometer isn’t it?

Verity:

Yeah. And there’s quite a lot of research to show that physically, if you’re having to do something which doesn’t really fit in with your values it has a negative physical effect on the body and the brain.

Prosperity Kitchen:

Oh my god. Crikey. So, they’re that important?

Verity:

They’re that important. By acting within your values you will increase your serotonin levels and your hormones that produce happiness will all start to fire as they should do and rather than, say your adrenals working overtime, which can often happen in levels of stress.

Prosperity Kitchen:

Wow. OK. So, we’ve got gratitude, what went well, strengths and being in touch with your values. What else do you have up your sleeve?

Verity:

Well, another really fab exercise is to keep a written log in a really nice notebook or something that you like to look at and you can keep for many years and to write down your lifetime achievements, successes, anything nice that people have said about you, anything nice that you’ve thought about yourself.

Just anything positive and it’s a great record to go back to, especially in those dark times, which we all have.

Prosperity Kitchen:

I love that! So, it’s a book that you create, that you can open when you feel a bit down or sad. You can look at this book and it’s going to make you feel better because of all the positive things that are written in that book.

Verity:

However, some people will find that they will have blocks. They may feel that they’re not progressing in the way that they want to. Maybe they feel that their well-being isn’t as good as they’d like it to be and that might be because they have blocks, you know, emotional or mental blocks. At that point I would suggest that that’s when a coach or a psychologist is needed, because you don’t always know where those blocks are.

Prosperity Kitchen:

So, when you say blocks, so the listeners understand, can you give us an example of a block?

Verity:

A block. Absolutely. Well, again, I can take it from my own experience. One of my blocks is perfectionism and I would, quite often, stop myself from doing things that I knew I would really enjoy for fear of failure.

Prosperity Kitchen:

Not being perfect at it?

Verity:

Yeah. Exactly. Not being perfect at it and it was working with a coach that asked me a simple question of ‘what would it look like if you just expected 10% less of yourself’? And it was at that point I really understood how many limitations I was putting up for myself and actually it was quite simple to break those limitations down.

Positive Psychologist Tutorial on Being Happy: Part 2

Prosperity Kitchen:

So, what you’re saying is a block is something that you’ve mentally put there that you don’t necessarily know is there, although could be really obvious. Perhaps to other people, in fact, it’s obvious, but for you Verity or for me Gemma or for whoever, Tracy out there, you could be stopping yourself from achieving something because there’s a block. For Verity it was perfectionism. She stopped herself doing things because she wanted to be perfect at everything that she did. So, it stopped her actually doing anything. Is that right?

Verity:

Yep. That is absolutely right. That was just one of my blocks. I had a few more as well.

Prosperity Kitchen:

OK. Silly question I suppose, is there a scientific model that can measure happiness? Is there anything out there that can measure how happy somebody is?

Verity:

What Martin Seligman and his fellow scientists and psychologists have found is that it’s very hard to measure happiness. It’s very subjective. Well-being is slightly more objective because it can be broken down into five elements I mentioned earlier.

Prosperity Kitchen:

Just go over those again for me.

Verity:

Yes. Sure. So, it’s positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and accomplishment.

Another great way for any listeners to measure their well-being is to think about those five elements in their life right now and rate it from 0-10. Zero being really, you know, flat-lining basically. There’s no good happening there. And 10 being, it couldn’t be any better.

And once you’ve rated each of those five elements in your life you can then go on to ask yourself ‘what would need to happen or what would I need to do in order to raise that by half a point or a point’?

Prosperity Kitchen:

Brilliant. What would engagement mean, just to give that a bit of clarification?

Verity:

It means being engaged in activities that you’re doing in your life. So, it might be work. It might be hobbies. It might be family life. Just how much you, when you’re engaged with something you quite often forget time. You’re really, you know, ideas start coming out.

Prosperity Kitchen:

You’re in the zone.

Verity:

You’re in the zone. Absolutely. And it’s being, how much are you in the zone throughout your day-to-day life.

Prosperity Kitchen:

So, this was what they said? There are five areas of your life that you rate and they will give you a good indication of your well-being overall?

Verity:

Yes. So that would be the scientific model. There’s more to it than that but I’d be here all day.

Prosperity Kitchen:

OK. So, we’ve discussed positive psychology in terms of personal lives, ourselves. How can that help people in the business world?

Verity:

Identifying values for instance, if you can identify your values, you can then start to make business decisions that suit you. If you’re wanting career progression and maybe you’ve got a choice of where you want to go or maybe you’re thinking of a career change. You can use those values again to help you make that decision and you can confidently know you’re making the right decision for you.

Prosperity Kitchen:

And also for your employees, if you own a business, employees who are happier, are going to be more productive for you.

Verity:

Absolutely. I quite often will go into work places doing talks on promoting well-being for individuals within a team, the benefits of that and how to do that. And the benefits are, as I said earlier, is that, people who are happier, they’re more creative. They tend to have more clarity on things. They have more fun. They’re more effective as well, which is all the qualities really that we are looking for in an employee.

Prosperity Kitchen:

I love that and the black and white of it is, an employee who is happy and has good well-being is going to be of more value to you as a business owner than somebody who’s not.

Verity:

Yep. Absolutely.

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Prosperity Kitchen:

It actually makes sense doesn’t it, all round, to invest in somebody who’s going to try and bring on your employee’s well-being?

Verity:

Yep. Absolutely. In the news at the moment we’re all hearing about the increased levels of stress and depression, how the NHS is being heavily leaned on for those reasons. A lot of people are taking longer sick days. I think it was national sick day yesterday. So, there was some talk about this. All of those things really do lead to people being unhappy and not actually understanding that they can turn that around for themselves and the affect it can have on the people around them. So, yes, breeding happiness and well-being in a work environment is so important and does really have the potential to turn all of that around.

Prosperity Kitchen:

Financially?

Verity:

Yes, financially it’s going to save you a lot of money.

Prosperity Kitchen:

OK. So, do you think that happiness is sometimes a choice that you have to make because, let’s be honest, we sometimes wake up in a bad mood, or we have bad days.

Verity:

Yes. It is a choice, but it’s also being able to have the tools and the skills to be able to make that choice. It’s very easy to go down the slippery slope or the spiralling staircase into doom and gloom when it’s one of those bad days.

Prosperity Kitchen:

I 100% agree. And by nature, I’m actually somebody who, I think unfortunately, is more sad than happy. That’s how I’ve always been but I’ve learnt to know how to change my state to make myself happier.

Verity:

So, would you say, sorry a question back to you, would you say that your ability to do that, has that increased as your self-awareness has increased?

Prosperity Kitchen:

Yes. It’s definitely a journey and it’s definitely a skill and I believe in the statement ‘act how you want to feel’. If you’re feeling down, if you just smile it will instantly make you feel better. Instantly. That’s not a simple fix. There’s more to it but it does have an effect.

What I find is, if I wake up in a bad mood or my day doesn’t go well, and we all have those times, I now know what I need to do to make myself feel better. Be whatever it is, I will employ it. It could be I go for a walk round the block to get some fresh air. It could be that I go for a massage. It could be, whatever it is, I have certain tactics I now employ to get myself out of that bad mood. It could even be me having a stern word with myself, which I call my other personality Cruella.

Verity:

How fantastic.

Prosperity Kitchen:

Naming it has helped. If Cruella comes, and my husband calls her Cruella as well, we know when Cruella’s there and it, unfortunately is part of my being, but I’ve learnt to control it. So, I asked you that question for that reason because I do believe, as you say, I think some people are naturally, well they are, far happier than others but I strongly believe that you choose your moods sometimes.

Verity:

You can. Yes.

Prosperity Kitchen:

On the same theme really, do you think there are particular countries where positive psychology is higher? Where their well-being is higher?

Verity:

Absolutely and when we’re talking about happiness and well-being there are many countries, there’s been a lot of research on countries and how different societies cultivate well-being and obviously looking at some people who are in the worst environments but are still incredibly happy. They’re the most interesting. How are they doing that for themselves? But one of the countries that has definitely been earmarked as the happiest country, is Denmark.

The Danish have strong family values. They spend a lot of time outdoors. They’re very into their fitness. They’re very into their clean eating, not as in clean eating in the sense of drinking green juices and things like that, but they’re very natural, they cook a lot for instance.

Prosperity Kitchen:

But interestingly, somewhere like Denmark, is going to be dark a lot, which goes against the grain because normally they say, you know, the sunnier countries / vitamin D for happiness and well-being.

Verity:

Well I’m glad you pointed it out actually Gemma because what the Danish do (and the other Nordic countries) is go out in the daylight when they can and do all their indoor activities when it’s dark. Where they have short periods of daylight, their mindset is making the most of it.

Verity: So, their mindset is a growth mindset. It’s making the most of what you have and they have the tools, they develop tools and skills to be able to do that as well. If they were a nation of fixed mindsets they would carry on working indoors, looking outside their window going ‘oh isn’t that nice it’s daylight. Oh no it’s not it’s dark again. Oh well’.

Prosperity Kitchen:

So, do you think, as adults, we forget how to have fun? Because happiness, well-being, I think is so linked to fun and how much fun we have and I don’t think as adults we do. Particularly our generation. I think we’ve forgotten what fun is. What do you think about that?

Verity:

I believe that we, as adults, do forget to have fun. Social pressures and responsibilities all start to take over. We get caught up in what we’re doing.

Gratitude

Prosperity Kitchen:

In life. We get caught up in life.

Verity:

In life. And, again, we were saying about happiness is a choice. Having fun is also a choice.

Prosperity Kitchen:

So how do you think we can bring fun back into our lives? Let’s not bring sexy back. Let’s bring fun back.

Verity:

Well, I think, doing the exercises that we spoke about earlier and starting to list the things that you really enjoy. Maybe what you enjoyed in the past.

Prosperity Kitchen:

I say that to clients, think about what you liked to do when you were a child.

Verity:

Yes. Because really we are naturally more likely to be operating out of a place of fun and childish enthusiasm when we’re young and then we lose it because life takes over.

Prosperity Kitchen:

OK. So, when do you think is the time for somebody to embark on a positive psychology journey, a wellness journey and I know what you’re going to say but when is the right time?

Verity:

It’s when you start asking those questions, what else is out there? There’s a big question mark hanging over my head. I don’t know what it is. I want to make a change. Why has life dealt me these cards? I want a better set of cards.

Prosperity Kitchen:

And that’s when you need to go and see a coach?

Verity:

That is when you need to go and see a coach. Absolutely and at that point you’ve then got the motivation and the interest and the intrigue to start to look at what else is actually out there for you.

Prosperity Kitchen:

What books or courses would you recommend on the subject of positive psychology/happiness/well-being? Which ones really stand out to you?

Verity:

Well there is a fantastic book that Martin Seligman has written. He’s written loads of books so if you google him and you will find there are so many books.

Also, a lady called Barbara Fredrickson as well.

But the one that I have picked up and I keep picking up because I’m taking so much from it, is one by Martin Seligman called Flourish.

I would recommend going onto a website called www.authentichappiness.com That is, again, founded by Martin Seligman, but it’s got all the latest research and also lots of different tests that you can do on yourself about well-being and lots of tips about how you might go about increasing your well-being.

The End

 

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Summary of Positive Psychologist Tutorial on Being Happy: Part 2

  1. Getting in in touch with your core values is a great well-being exercise.
  2. Your core values are what you are inherently.
  3. To help you raise your happiness and well-being to the next level, employ a coach or a psychologist to help analyse where your blocks are.
  4. A block is something that you’ve mentally put there that you don’t necessarily know is there.
  5. Martin Seligman and his fellow scientists and psychologists have found it very hard to measure happiness. It’s very subjective.
  6. Well-being is slightly more objective because it can be broken down into five elements: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment and you’re working towards raising the levels of all five of those elements in order to create your most positive well-being.
  7. Positive Psychology in business can help save and make lots and lots and lots of money.
  8. Making happiness a choice will change your life. Basically choose to be happy and the good feelings will follow.
  9. Having fun will lead to happiness.
  10. Think back to your childhood to get inspiration on fun activities that will make you happy.

 

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BIOS

Gemma McCrae

Gemma is a leading Life Coach & Business Coach, Award Winning Podcaster and the owner of Prosperity Kitchen. Regularly featured in the national press, Gemma is one of the “go to” people on Life Coaching & Business Coaching. Gemma counts VIPs, High Net Worth Individuals, Entrepreneurs, Career Professionals, Stay at Home Parents and all manner of other amazing people as her clients. She specialises in Personal Development, Career Coaching, Employee Coaching, Executive Coaching, Confidence, Motivation, Health and Small Business Coaching.

 

Verity Smith Life CoachVerity Smith. Verity is a Psychologist (BSc) and an Accredited International Coach with the IIC&M. Verity specialises in blending positive psychology and coaching skills to give a unique and powerful service to her clients. Since as long as Verity can remember she has been intrigued by human behaviour and finding one’s potential in life, which has led her to a lifelong study of human flourishing and how to apply theory to the real lives of individuals. She has a passion for helping people create for themselves a higher level of mental fitness and well-being in their lives. Verity works with people from al over the world and specialises in working with business owners, professionals and sports professionals. Her mission over the next 5 years is to inspire and educate 1 million people around the globe on how to work with their minds to create positivity and success in both their personal and professional lives. Website: https://simplyselfinnovation.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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