Maureen Gaffney’s ‘Flourishing’ explores in some detail psychological research into the factors which enable individuals to overcome adversity, maximise potential and enjoy life, while providing a plethora of recommendations allowing a reader bent on self-improvement to undertake the task in an organised way. Central to her thesis is a mathematical ratio: the relationship between the positive and negative in an individual’s own internal conversation and in their external relationships. Here are five strategies to nurture a flourishing life…
- Build Your Capacity For Happiness
Focusing on our capacity to increase our happiness is a critical factor to survival and flourishing. It seems obvious. When life is good we’re happy. When we focus on different elements in our life such as our careers, projects, family and friends we do so with the belief that if we’re successful in these areas it will make us happy. But research has also shown that this also works the other way around. When we create the capacity for happiness ourselves it makes us flourish and contributes to our feelings of success.
- Set Yourself Goals – take on three life projects
As humans we need to have challenges in our life. We rise to challenges. Having life projects will increase your happiness and satisfaction providing you with structure and meaning, as well as a sense of direction and personal control.
- Know the Meaning of Things – the crucial importance of making sense of your life
The way we try to achieve meaning in our life comes from four key needs: purpose; values; efficacy; and self worth.
- Control Your Attention
Paying attention to how you pay attention is a crucial step in achieving a flourishing life. It is all about choice: what you choose to attend to in life, how you choose to think, which activities you choose to engage in, day-to-day, together with the goals that you set yourself and pursue, can change your life for the better.
- Stop Sabotaging Yourself
In every aspect of life we have the control and choice about how we respond. Maureen Gaffney refers to a great quote “you can’t be driven crazy without your full cooperation”. Yet we’re all guilty at times of adopting behaviour strategies and thinking styles that don’t serve us. We’re also great at driving ourselves crazy. Yes, most of us have certain people in our life that seem to push all the wrong buttons and the end result is you’re acting like a crazy person. When you realise and learn the strategies to help you to stop cooperating in driving yourself crazy, you will stop the flow of positive energy out and keep yourself centred and in control. A mindful style of thinking is one such approach.
It’s important to take one step at a time to overcome adversity, maximise potential and enjoy life.