We travel in this world in our bodies, it is our temple and it needs the right nourishment to do all the wonderful things it is capable of doing. The mind-body connection is constantly bringing new depths of research to help us navigate our way to flourishing. I ponder on the word flourishing as we journey through COVID 19. Martin Seligman, the pioneer of Positive Psychology defines flourish as finding fulfilment in our lives, accomplishing meaningful and worthwhile tasks, and connecting with others at a deeper level—in essence, living the “good life” (Seligman, 2011).
As a teacher embracing immense changes to working practices under the COVID guidelines, my profession, like many others found themselves with new challenges, learning to be adaptable, flexible and creative in how we managed this unpredictable time. I am an advocate for Positive Psychology, I found the pressure on workload commitments tested my application of Positive Psychology in my own life. Positive Psychology is the “scientific study of what goes right in life, from birth to death and all the stops in between: (White, 2016, p. 1). Positive Psychology is a lifestyle. You create wellbeing in your life through the activities you do. This makes it a unique practice as we are all different.
Learn it, Live it, Teach it, Embed it
I felt I was tested on how I apply Positive Psychology in my life. I completed the MAPP in 2018. Here is where I learnt the world of Positive Psychology. Now was the life test of how I applied it. Knowledge is good, but transformation takes place in the application stage. Taking action is how change happens. This made me think of the Positive Education framework of ‘Learn it, Live it, Teach it, Embed it’ (Norrish 2015). Positive Education “seeks to combine principles in Positive Psychology with best-practice teaching and with educational paradigms to promote optimal development and flourishing in the school setting” (Norrish, Williams, O’Connor and Robinson, 2013, p. 147). This is a merge between Positive Psychology and Education. Positive Education originated from a collaboration between Seligman, his peers and Geelong Gramma School in Australia. This began in 2008 and has continued to develop, offering the world a framework for flourishing in schools. Flourishing is at the core of what they do and they have four stages of application: Learn it, Live it, Teach it, Embed it.
Learn it refers to the staff learning Positive Psychology. This means every member who works for Geelong learns the science of Positive Psychology, from the teachers to non-teaching staff.
Live it refers to living all aspect of your life with the Positive Psychology principles. You apply your preferred Positive Psychology activities to achieve the good life. The good life which is defined by you. It is simply about you and it applies to both personal and professional aspects of your life.
Teach it requires you teaching Positive Psychology to the students. The reason the students are not taught it first is that the teachers need to be authentically living Positive Psychology before they can share the practice with others.
Embed it means Positive Psychology is embraced in the school culture. It is woven into organisational policies, practices and processes.
Embracing ‘Live it’
Worked sufficiently increased. Over the last few years, I have tried to maintain a work/life balance. It tends to be more balanced on work, but life gets space. In my early career days life was non-existence. During COVID I found my time for exercise, mindfulness (yoga and meditation), reading, getting adequate sleep started to disappear. I was working to a deadline; I need to get things done and those things that I applied for my wellbeing took a back sit as the time was filled with work. This is not living a balanced life. Therefore, I have taken the summer holidays to reset. Bring back those things that make me well. Give my body and mind the nourishment it needs and take time to reflect that these things are essential and make sure I do not take them off my schedule when work commences. It is okay if at times we have to get things done, the pandemic asked us all to step up. However, neglecting our wellbeing on a continuous basis is not good for us. Give your body and mind what it needs to flourish. This will mean you will be giving from a full cup, not an empty one.
Read more about Kelly Seaward-Ding and her other articles HERE
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’