Let's celebrate the things we HAVE accomplished this year!

Accomplishing something you’ve set out to do feels fantastic doesn’t it?  No matter what the project or task, getting it done produces a sense of happiness and calm relief.  Positive Psychology recognises accomplishment as one of five elements of wellbeing and encourages individuals to set and strive for personally meaningful goals as well as noticing what you accomplish every day.

At this time of year however it’s easy to find yourself thinking about how fast the year has gone and perhaps reflecting sadly on the things you didn’t do during the year.  As a Mum you may not have completed the 25 projects you planned back in January but we think you should let yourself off the hook.  From the perspective of Positive Psychology coaching we want to encourage you right now to celebrate all the things you HAVE accomplished.

For example, rather than feeling regretful about friends you haven’t caught up with recently spend a minute or two recalling terrific gatherings that did occur during the year.  Treasure those positive memories!  Perhaps like me you haven’t yet organised last summer’s photos into an album – but I bet you took many gorgeous photos of family and friends that will be enjoyed forever (and might make it into a book or album one day)!

Also, please don’t forget to notice all the things you accomplish day in day out that weren’t on the project list but still take time, energy and love:

  • 350 school lunches packed
  • 2800 songs sung (at bedtime or otherwise)
  • 1800 newborn nappies changed
  • More than 673 drink bottles washed up (and 17.5 new ones purchased)
  • 83 games of UNO played with ecstatic children

I know you’ll be able to add more to this list that resonates for you personally.

best wishes until next time….

Please follow this link if you would like to read more about Martin Seligman’s (founding father of Positive Psychology) Theory of Wellbeing - https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/learn/wellbeing

Increase your own wellbeing by asking your partner questions!

Having a good relationship with your partner is enormously helpful when navigating the journey of motherhood. Turning to them when things are tough or when you have had a bad day can help support you and give you the sense you are in it together!

And when caring and sharing is reciprocated in close personal relationships, we feel a great sense of personal wellbeing. Positive psychology has established a very strong link between positive relationships and wellbeing, and even supports the notion that love in caring relationships is the “trump card” of wellbeing.

Talking couple flourishing

A really interesting line of research into couples and intimate relationships suggests that supporting each other when good things happen is really important in strengthening a relationship.  How you celebrate in a relationship is more important than how you argue!

In flourishing relationships, couples respond “actively and constructively” when sharing good news or experiences with each other.  This means asking questions which encourage the person to talk about their good news. When we show a sense of genuine enthusiasm and energy for their experience, and we comment on the meaning it may have for them, it helps them to savour their positive emotions.

This contrasts with other responses which tend to weaken the warmth and bond of the relationship. For example; listening to the news but not showing enthusiasm, listening to the news but pointing out its downsides or complications, listening to the news and changing the subject or not even responding at all!

When responding to your partner you can be yourself, you don’t have to overdo the praise - just be interested, ask questions, including what it means for them. Your relationship will get a boost and you will increase your own wellbeing at the same time.

We hope you have a chance to test out this idea soon!

(Adapted by Flourishing Mothers from the work of Dr Shelly Gable, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara)