Monday, October 1, 2012

Flourish in Life by Design


“From intention springs the deed, from the deed springs the habit. From the habit grows the character, from character develops destiny.”

~ Chinese Buddhist text ~
In his book Flourish, Martin Seligman Ph.D., encourages readers to “explore what makes life worth living and build enabling conditions of a life worth living.” In other words, flourishing by design requires us to take responsibility for our life and take deliberate actions to engage experiences that give us a strong sense of meaning and purpose that make us feel proud to live the life that we are living.

According to Seligman, “The content of human flourishing is happiness, flow, meaning, love, gratitude, accomplishments, growth and better relationships. Learning that you can have more of these things is life changing.”
 
 
In the book, Seligman suggests severactions that the reader can take to orchestrate a greater sense of wellbeing in life. Three of the suggestions require taking the following actions:

1.      Gratitude Visit:  Seligman states, “This action requires that you write a letter to an individual who did something that changed your life for the better. The letter should be concrete with specific examples of how your life was changed for the better. Contact the person and arrange a visit where you read the letter out loud – while doing so notice the person’s reaction as well as yours. After reading the letter, engage in a conversation discussing the content of your letter and your feelings.”


2.      What-Went Well Exercise: Seligman suggests, “Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before your go to sleep to write three things that went-well on that day and why they went well. Next to each positive experience, answer the following question, Why did this happen?” Seligman says, “[W]riting about why positive events happen in your life may seem awkward at first, but if you stick with it, it’ll get easier. The odds, he says, will be that you are less depressed, happier and addicted to this exercise six months from now.” It is a great habit to cultivate and it helps us to remain grateful for the good that is happening in our life.
 

3.      The Forgiveness Letter: “Forgiveness, Seligman writes, is a powerful tool that can transform feelings of anger and bitterness into neutrality or even, for some, into positive emotions.” He suggests that we “write a forgiveness letter describing a transgression and related emotions and pledge to forgive the [transgressor for] the transgression. The letter is not to be delivered. It is only a vehicle that helps you to process your thoughts and emotions about a perceived wrong. “The practice of forgiveness, Seligman asserts, releases you from mental and emotional suffering and allows you to move on.”


Making these actions common practice in your life enables you to cultivate a heart that is mindful of all the good occurring in your life. During difficult times these actions will not completely eliminate every negative thought and emotion that you experience. These practices can help you better manage what you think about, and thus what you feel. Put them into practice enough, and you’ll begin to recognize and tap into the power that dwells within you to flourish in life by design.

How would these practices help you to flourish in life by design? I would love for you to share your comments below.

Champion Your Greatness, Jackie B.

 
It’s Your Move ~ Aspire Higher