The Positivity Project

If you know me personally, you’ll know that I’ve been exploring positive psychology.

This is not just woo tree-hugging hippy happy vibe stuff but is an academic discipline based on rigorous scientific research. It was formed as a response to psychology as a science which has a focus on humans as being broken and needing fixing. Positive psychology looks at how we can get the best out of ourself.

For me, it’s simply about being in a good mood because when you’re in a good mood, you can achieve far more and with ease.

Life and business can be a struggle at times with outside pressures (I won’t bother listing them and bringing my or your mood down, thanks).

Applying the ideas of positive psychology can put us in the right mood to achieve our goals and without the internal battles going on that hold us back. It’s like accelerating your car without your left foot resting on the brake pedal!

Or imagine feeling like you’re getting out of the “right side of the bed” every morning instead of feeling like you’re getting out of the “wrong side of the bed”.

So the trick is to

  1. put yourself in a relaxed state (mindfulness, chi kung, whatever)
  2. think positive thoughts (affirmations) eg I am creating my dream business
  3. feel what the affirmations are like eg what does it feel like to have your dream business.

Here’s a nice video to set you up for the day (1 hour).

Here’s another version of the above video with subliminal affirmations to listen to passively (1 hour).

A four-hour version for sleep.

Other useful practices

As well as meditation, it’s worthwhile trying to maintain that positive mood throughout the day through activities. Try these:

  • watch a comedy
  • listen to uplifting music (be careful of negative lyrics, a beautiful song may not be a happy song; I have always preferred dance, house and uplifting trance for this as they feel energising and positive)
  • spend time in nature
  • spend time in the company of people talking about fun things
  • do fun stuff that you’re in flow with eg playing computer games
  • do exercise or sports
  • do challenging tasks that are just enough to make it a challenge but not so much that you want to give up
  • compliment someone (it makes them feel good which makes you feel good; nice car, nice dress, whatever)
  • think about something positive when you think of something negative
  • practice being grateful for the smallest things eg water coming out of your tap

Recommended reading

If you want to know more, here are a couple of books.

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life – Seligman is the grand father of positive psychology

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work – interesting ideas for applying positive psychology to your business

Medical Note

Obviously, this does not bypass therapy. If you have a deep-seated emotional or psychological issue, no amount of positive thoughts is going to beat working with a therapist who can deal with the root cause of your issues and help you get to grips with what’s really holding you back in life and business.