Last week’s exercise sparked off a ‘reminiscence spree’ in our household, which culminated on Saturday with a huge box of old photos from the loft and spending a couple of hours looking at baby photos with the girls from 16 years ago! It left me with a warm glow for the whole weekend… I’m convinced about the power of positive reminiscence. We are so caught up in the here and now and this, combined with planning for the future, means that positive past reflection gets relegated to a poor third place. Yet Zimbardo’s work on time perspectives (we’ll explore these in depth another month, but take a look a look at his website, www.thetimeparadox.com if you’re interested now) shows there is a strong correlation between life satisfaction and individuals with a strong ‘past positive’ time perspective.
Anyway, back to the plot. Last week, you were looking at your diary for 2010 and reflecting on positive events. This week, I’m suggesting you create resolutions for the year based on those activities that gave you joy and satisfaction and what you would like to do ‘more of” in 2011. But first, take a closer look at the activities and events you have selected. What is it about these activities that made you choose them? This is an important question as positive psychology research has shown that our happiness is derived from four distinct areas:
And so it appears that those who are happiest in life aren’t just plain hedonists (but neither are they saints) but people who balance fun with engaging activities and nourishing relationships with a meaning beyond themselves in life. (If you want to test out your own orientation to happiness, the link is on the ‘research’ page of the blog).
So as you write your ‘more of’ list for 2011, consider this balance and what you can do this year to bring more pleasure and passion, further purpose and the right people into your life. It might be situations that just ticked one or two of these pathways (like the burlesque workshop I did – don’t ask!) or those wonderful situations (they’ll jump out of your diary) that span the pathways.
Oh yes, one further task – choose something from this list and start it now… good luck!