Articles in Health
On Sunday morning at the IPPA World Congress, I heard Barbara Fredrickson give a keynote address about a fundamental challenge of our time, helping people build healthy habits. She suggested that finding enjoyment in healthy behaviors can create an upward spiral. Liking leads to wanting. Wanting affects the spontaneous thoughts that pop up in peoples’ minds. Those thoughts lead to small choices that affect health. Imagine my amazement when I saw her positivity spiral in action in the airport food court just a few hours later.
The benefits of physical activity for mental health are well-known, but for some people the word exercise summons up images of sweaty discomfort. Walking is a gentle form of exercise that has the advantage of getting you out into the great outdoors.
Rosalind Turner and I are facilitating a walk for well-being on Sunday 17th May as part of Bristol Walk Fest. Come join us, or perhaps you can get something organized where you live.
If oxytocin helps inhibit fear, and fear keeps us from exercise, can higher levels of oxytocin lead to more physical activity?
The arts have inspired us for centuries. Think of the emotion you still feel when you hear the song you associate with your first kiss or remember the play that made you laugh to tears. The arts add much richness to life. Yet, they are practically absent from work places.
Let’s explore what the arts can contribute to our work lives and to good health.
Gretchen, you are indeed an accomplished author and I do enjoy your books. You achieve a lightness and self-discovery that many academic books lack, and yet you still root much of your work in the scientific findings that I value.
E-mail is a double-edged tool. While using e-mail increases stress, it also allows us to work remotely and to leave work to attend a child’s activity. How can we get more of the benefit and less of the cost?
We intuitively know that when we sleep poorly, we are drawn to snacking and overeating. We also know that nothing gets rid of a crappy mood faster than a good sweat and that lower stress levels contribute to a better night’s sleep. So why are so many programs treating sleep, food, mood, and exercise as if they were separate topics?
It may be easier to advocate for positive psychology when life is on an upward slope, but for me, it has been the tough times that have truly shown me the value of the science. In July less than 24 hours after facilitating the Penn Resilience Program I got a phone call which would plunge me into a test of my own resilience.
Victor Strecher summarizes it well. “What’s the point of high energy and living a long time if we think life sucks? When we have purpose, we want to be at our best so we can better serve that purpose. Purpose is akin to the root system of a tree, grounding and feeding the whole organism so it can flourish and thrive, no matter what the exterior conditions are.”
I was thrilled to speak at two back-to-back Positive Psychology conferences this summer. I came away from the two experiences with my brain filled with new resources to integrate into my work and dozens of new connections. I am so grateful to be part of a community that is at the forefront of bringing positive health and wellness to people worldwide.