One of the positive psychology interventions we learned about on my MAPP course was the idea of the best possible self (BPS). The theory is that you write a letter to a future self imagining that everything has gone according to plan and your life has worked out exactly as you would have wished. Of course, life doesn’t always go according to plan, but research has shown that setting future goals increases well-being and optimism. A Canadian schoolteacher, featured in the short video below, asked his pupils to write a letter to a future self 20 years from now, he then posted the letters to his former pupils 20 years later. 20 years is probably too long a time span to plan for what you might be doing but the results are still interesting. Try writing a letter to a future self one year or 5 years from now and see what happens. You are much more likely to have realised your dreams if you write them down. I recently found an old journal where I had… Read the rest...
“The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination, and the energy to get started.” Norman Cousins
A very interesting theory I have discovered in the science of positive psychology is hope theory. C.R. Snyder spent many years researching the theory of hope and its benefits to well-being. Hope is not just wishful thinking or optimisim in the way we say “I hope I will win the lottery.” Hope is a belief that we can change the future for the better, or reach our desired goals. Hope keeps us moving forward when the going gets tough, and helps us to “get back on the horse” when we fall off. According to Snyder’s theory, hopeful thinking is made up of 3 key elements:
- Goals – thinking in a goal-oriented way.
- Pathways – finding different ways to achieve your goals.
- Agency – believing that you can instigate change.
Snyder found that hopeful
This year I have been late to the New Year Resolutions party as my enthusiasm has been dampened by a lingering dose of the flu. However being ill has had its advantages. Instead of launching headlong into my usual cycle of 100s of things I want to be better at together with numerous unrealistic projects I want to complete I have had two weeks of extra reflection time before I nail my colours to the mast. My reflection was prompted by a friend asking all assembled on New Year’s Eve what the one biggest highlight of 2014 had been. It’s a difficult question to answer when you have to choose just one thing that made you happiest over a whole year. The more I thought about it the more the images of trips I have made and the family and friends I shared them with sprang to mind. So 2015 will definitely involve as much travel as possible and I am already planning a trip to Malawi in April to visit the amazing work of The Microloan Foundation… Read the rest...