01 Jul Surrounding yourself with happiness by building positive social support
Just a few short weeks ago I spoke at a large National Conference to several thousand people and had a ball. I always love spreading the message of positive psychology and happiness and this time, I was especially pleased to have been given the opportunity to explain one of our newest and most exciting programs, The Happiness Diet.
But today's post isn't necessarily about The Happiness Diet; or not directly, anyway. It's about a point I was forced to emphasise along the way because a previous speaker had propogated one of the greatest myths about positive psychology and I wanted to dispell it.
Now this speaker was a highly regarded, eminent scientist and practioner and one whose work I greatly admire. But during his presentation he'd noted that he was concerned about the popularity of positive psychology because in his view, it promted a version of happiness too focused on the individual.
And this is so, so not true!
Although there's no doubt we do need to look after ourselves (it's hard to live a good life if you're literally sick and tired all the time) there's also no doubt that the positive psychology research clearly indicates that real and meaningful happiness IS NOT THE SAME as hedonism or selfishness. Genuine happiness comes from caring for oneself AND THEN caring for others. It comes from compassion and empathy, love and kindness, doing good too and for other people. The happiest people in the world have both more and better quality relationships which is why real happiness comes, at least in part, from surrounding yoruself with positive social supports.
This is important for atleast 2 reasons:
it boosts your chances of engaging in pleasurable and enjoyable experiences and
it buffers against stress and depression, building resilience
Now this is particularly important in the context of The Happiness Diet because there's much good research that supports the fact that one of the most important components of weight loss programs is group and/or peer support. This is why we're devoting a lot of our time at the moment to re-building our program and integrating some radically exciting and new tools to help people find and foster this sort of positive support to succeed more easily and more often.
But it's also important in almost every other area of our lives. So given that we're coming up to the weekend, a time when most people have more opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones, I invite you to think about what you do and what you could do to support and boost your happiness and wellbeing by building positive relationships. And when you've given this some thought share your answers on our Facebook Page because for many of us this is becoming an important community, a group and a place where we can support each other in our happiness boosting endeavours.
So CLICK HERE to post your thoughts and suggestions, or even your questions and we can all surround each other with positive encouragement and reinforcement this weekend and beyond…