The mid life couple entered our Gallery Store on that cool, rainy fall afternoon with the same gray disposition. Greeting them in my cobalt sweater and contrasting bright tie with a big smile they recoiled….I immediately thought too much electricity down too thin of a wire……Leave them alone!
Ironically about an hour later with a multi-thousand dollar purchase being written by the design consultant at the table….the customer inquired ….”Are you always this Happy” ….I answered ….”Oh Yah!”
She responded….”Every day …all the time?” ….I nodded with a grin…. “YES” …she began to laugh …”when I came into the store I said to my husband …..”something wrong with that man….he’s much too happy….nobody that real is that happy.”
I thought about this a lot and reflected ….isn’t it sad that not being a miserable and pessimistic person in our very conflict world is now a pathology…..
My lifestyle worldview follows what is call Flourishing Psychology
A flourishing person is someone who experiences positive emotions, excels in daily life, and is a contributing and productive member of society.
In other words, they consistently feel good and do good….after years of practicing this positive behavior it is their mindset….they know no other manner or way of looking at the world
So, what leads someone to flourish and thrive mentally, emotionally and physically? Is there something fundamentally different about them?
According to researchers that have studied this 364 24/7 Positive Mindset, “flourishers” displayed more positive emotional reactivity to pleasant events compared to non-flourishers or depressed individuals.
The key learning aspect here is the recurring experiences create a cumulative reaction in the brain that builds a variety of personal resources.
The current research supports this notion and revealed that “flourishers” experience bigger “boosts” of positive emotions when experiencing pleasant and enjoyable events, which further enhances cognitive resources such as mindfulness.
There appears to be six pleasant activities that can boost positive emotions. The “flourishers” experienced higher levels of positive emotions during these activities.
You may not be emotionally flourishing at this time, but begin to incorporate these into your life and work to savor and be open to the positive experience that comes along.
Helping others has been shown to boost positive emotions. Sharing, donating, volunteering and random acts of kindness are all behaviors that benefit others, while at the same time making the helper feel more positive. I know from my experience that after doing something kind I have some immediate spiritual feeling that can be best described as a closeness/ warmth with ancestors and collection of spiritual host that surround all of us all the time. This connectiveness moment is a brief ten seconds….but what an incredible feeling
Interacting with others
Having relationships and social support is crucial for mental health. When feeling down, a great way to improve mood is to interact and communicate with others. Overall, getting acquainted and socially connecting with others can enhance positive emotions. We are a social creature that was designed to live in the midst of a community of supportive beings.
Playing and Amusement
Playing comes from engaging in activities that are intrinsically rewarding as well as those that are amusing and entertaining. Find activities that make you laugh and where you can fool around and have fun. These may be games, sports, or other recreational activities. This sense of free play takes us back to the carefree days and innocence of our youth. This connectiveness that links past-present- future together is extreme nurturing.
Learning and Curiosity
Learning new things can be inspiring and ignite our sense of interest and curiosity. Being curious and seeking out new and exciting information can increases positive emotions and enhance life-satisfaction.
Spiritual activity. Our minds are a muscle that like all muscles the more blood you pump into to it the stronger it becomes. In curiosity we activate that neurotransmitter soup in our brain that builds new pathways and connections. One of the wonderful thing about mid-life to those that have lived a life of curiosity is the amazing immediate connections of examples that come to your consciousness. The ability to connect the dots not only fast but with vivid details from your collective experiences gives the Flourisher a remarkable level of influence.
This can encompass behavior such praying, worshiping, and mediating – just to name a few. In particular, loving-kindness has been shown to increase positive emotions and is likely related to the capability of mindfulness. Spiritual activity helps us coordinate more positive thoughts and beliefs, as well as offering a sense of purpose and meaning. The larger the archetypal story in your spiritual life the greater the energy it provides the individual. I find from my experience that the religious tradition that I practice that the divine energy is highly personal relationship with saints, angels and ancestors that with each passing decade grows richer. This ultimate community defines my existence as in each moment of difficulty in my life their presence has been immediate, supportive in overcoming the obstacles and attaining the achievement.
I believe the common thread that connects all “Flourishers” is a well developed inner life. In our world where so many people are so external and shallow the fruits of this are most obvious…. just like the couple that came into our store…..life is not an endless series of sunrises.
Their mindset is troubling as they believe that most “normal” people are unhappy. Who can blame them with the toxic nonsense that we all have to push through each day.
So if you want to FLOURISH then you need to commit the energy to develop and deepen your Inner Life.
I am constantly reminded of what the Prophet Mohammed said, ” Your good thoughts shall become your best companions.”
One the constant therapeutic questions I ask people that I console ….What do you think about when you are all by yourself?
To the “Flourisher” she/he is in touch with her/his Good Thoughts…..
Once that is your Immediate Mindset Response …..the rest of life is a piece of cake you can’t wait to take a bite out of……..