News from "The
This page is
where we let you know about interesting snippets
and things to think about in relation to
increasing our emotional well-being from
positive psychology, happiness, mindfulness and
There are tips
on goal setting, savouring the "good things" in
life and events to consider.
We are happy to
consider constructive comments and ideas about
items to help keep this page alive. Just go to
our contacts page and send me an email.
So keep smiling
and if you can't (as my yoga teacher used to
say) "just take another breath".
The best Goals are
We know a lot
about how goal-setting can help to give us a
sense of direction and motivate us to achieve.
But just having a goal is often not enough.
The sorts of
goals more likely to motivate us and be achieved
are those that are:
(they are relevant to you)
- Specific (
they are clearly defined in terms of the
particular outcome you want and the
time-frame in which you want to achieve
(if they are too easy, they don't motivate
(if they are too hard, they don't motivate
(framed in a way to focus on the benefits)
Defined in terms of process as well as
outcome (specify strategies for achieving the
about your goals, be honest with yourself about
your values, the things that drive you, your
strengths, weaknesses and fears. Think about the
risks and threats you face to achieving your
goal - what things might tempt you "off the
wagon" so to speak, and have a contingency plan.
If you break your healthy eating plan one day,
does this mean you toss the whole thing in and
use it as evidence to justify the label you give
yourself as a failure, or can you see it as a
simple lapse and get back on the wagon the next
day. Step out your goals - if you want to loose
a certain amount of weight in the next 12
months, set daily, weekly or monthly goals for
yourself that you feel are achievable.
adapted from Stephanie Hanrahran's (sport
psychologist) goal setting model]
goals down can be important, as can recording
your progress to keep the momentum going.
Remember to build in the positives -
anticipating enjoyable sensory experiences
(savouring) helps to get me out on my bike ride
each morning and when my motivation is flagging
I boost this up with some upbeat music on my
If you fail at
achieving your goal, go back and review the goal
in terms of the checklist above. Maybe you were
too hard/too easy on yourself afterall.
might just want to build in some ritual
activities around making the goal which
symbolise the change you are about to make. This
might be as simple as buying a new notebook to
record the goal and chart your progress, or
cleaning your walking shoes/bike, etc.
refers to our awareness of pleasure and
our deliberate attempt to make it last.
Experiencing "pleasure" is not just
self-indulgence. Rather, it has been
identified as one of the three
ingredients in living a happy life by
positive psychologists, Martin Seligman
and others. (The other ingredients are
engagement and meaning - being able to
use our strengths to a comfortably
challenging degree and connecting with
something bigger than ourselves such as
family, community, etc.)
bodily pleasures - those we experience
through our physical senses - can
include such things as good chocolate
(and of course an assortment of other
taste delights), a massage or swimming
in the sea, the smell of the garden or
the bush after rain, listening to music
we enjoy, looking at a beautiful nature
scene or artwork.
effects of pleasure, however, are often
short-lived and can lose their effect
if we experience the same pleasure too
often. But , we can learn to get more
out of our pleasurable experiences
Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff, have
identified five techniques that promote
with others: seek out others to
share the experience and tell others
how much you value the moment -
probably the single best way to
savour the experience.
Take mental photographs or even a
physical souvenir of the event and
reminisce about it later with
Do not be afraid of pride. Tell
yourself how impressed others are
and remember how long you've waited
for this to happen.
perceptions: Focus on certain
elements and block out others.
Articulate the elements as finely as
you can. For example, explore the
five senses one at a time - what can
you see, hear, feel, taste,
Let yourself get totally immersed
and try not the think, just sense.
Be in the moment.
note of which techniques work best for
you. But watch out for "kill-joy
thinking" - where you remind yourself
of other things you should be doing, of
what comes next, or of ways in which
your experience might be improved. If
"kill-joy thinking" happens, you might
use mindfulness techniques to observe
and let go of those thoughts, or you
might think about what circumstances
seemed to trigger it and how you might
be able to challenge it next