This fall I joined almost 100,000 others from around the world to take part in the first online MOOC offfered in the area of Positive Psychology. The course is called The Science of Happiness and is offered through the University of Berkely and the Greater Good Science Center.
It's taken me back to many lectures at McGill Univsrity as an undergraduate Science student in the area of Psychology. In those days MRI studies were just in their infancy, and neuropsych - how the brain works, was a focus of what I was studying. I did not continue in that vein with my Masters years ago as in fact, it was the focus on what didn't work, and what was dysfunctional, that dissuaded me from pursuing a full-time career in that area as a young adult. I've never actually moved that far however with my own work focusing on leadership and team development.
Today, almost 25 years later it's interesting to see how the brain-based science has really caught up to validate and illustrates what happens when we engage in positive processes, focusing on what does work, our strengths etc.
Each week as learners we have been invited to participate in practices which have been scientifically validated to enhance happiness and other measures of positivity. One which I have been engaging in that I thought you might want to try is the Three Good Things Activity. On a daily basis - perhaps at the end of the day - write down Three Good Things that have happened to you that day. As you write, capture the energy, emotion and how it felt.
Personally I have noticed that this practice has enabled me to look at the lighter side of things in this last month despite the passing of a relative, a contract that we were outbid on, the movement into fall (spring and summer are my favorite months!), support to leadership clients who are grappling with some of the very profound global issues of the moment, and some other events that had more of a general negative vibe for me.
When it comes to teams and leadership we have such an impact on the energy, focus and spirit of the team. Our ability to remain positive and resilient is critical in today's business environment. Focusing on practices that will boost our own internal optimism.
If you are interested in learning more about what the research does, do visit the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving Sunday, What are You Grateful For? Spend a few minutes today reflecting on, and perhaps journalling on, what you are grateful for. As I thought about this question recently I pulled together some photos which represent some of the things I've been grateful for this year.
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