Martin Seligman, a self-proclaimed grouch, changed his life for the better by inventing a new field of psychology that he called Positive Psychology. The Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the Penn Department of Psychology developed an alternative to the disease-based model. Instead of helping neurotic and psychotic people improve, he studied what normal people should do to flourish.
An excellent way to improve happiness, well-being, and satisfaction is through cultivating habits that stimulate positive experiences. With that premise in mind, here are 5 habits to help you flourish in your life.
Habit #1: Stop Overthinking
If you worry most of the time and make yourself miserable with looping thoughts, you should learn how to stop overthinking.
Realize that you can’t figure everything out because you rarely get all the information you need to make a sound decision. Stop overthinking by recognizing your problems as temporary and choosing a wider perspective, by setting a time limit to decide on something, and by becoming a decisive, action-oriented person.
You’ll stop overthinking when you recognize that you can’t control everything all the time.
Habit #2: Build Harmonious Relationships
By improving your people skills, you’ll change how people react to you. Instead of trying to control people, prove you’re right or do other things to make people feel that they aren’t good enough, study and practice people-building skills.
The quality of your relationships matters more than the quantity. It’s better to have a few close relationships rather than many superficial ones.
Notice how well you get along with people, then change those habits that antagonize people and cultivate new habits that engage people.
Habit #3: Develop Optimism
Unless you have hope, you won’t develop a positive attitude. While you don’t need to be naïve about people’s motives, you also don’t have to be on your guard all the time, protecting yourself with cynicism.
Two ways to cultivate optimism are to learn the art of mindfulness and to make it a habit to appreciate good experiences. When you celebrate the small things in life that give you pleasure, you’re on your way to cultivating a more optimistic outlook on life.
Habit #4: Eat Healthier
Eating healthier will help you feel better. It will give you more energy and improve your moods. You won’t obsess over aches and pains or get cranky over trivial things.
If you don’t like to cook, you can still eat healthy by finding easy recipes. Soon you’ll wonder why you ever found cooking difficult.
You can eat healthier by adding more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to your diet; preferring high fiber starchy carbs for energy; reducing saturated fat, sugar, and salt; and drinking enough water to stay hydrated.
Habit #5: Exercise Regularly
If there is a magic bullet for a healthier mind and body and better moods, then it’s regular exercise.
If you have no idea where to even start, then it might be a good investment to join a gym and get a personal trainer or to sign up for an exercise class.
Notice your physical limitations. If you’re stiff, try yoga. If you’re weak and out of shape, try calisthenics to build muscular strength and burn fat. And if you tire quickly, try aerobics.
If you find exercise boring, then choose a sport that will help improve your flexibility, build your strength, and improve your endurance.
How to Use This List
This list may appear overwhelming. Where do you even start? Decide on a habit that you would like to adopt, then do it for a month or two. If it sticks, then move on to the next habit on this list. Within six months, you’ll be a different person. After six months, you’ll be a happier, better-adjusted human being. After six months, you’ll be the kind of person who flourishes.