We all could use a little help now and then, right? If you’re looking to ditch some pounds, you might hire a personal trainer to whip you into shape. Hate your bathroom but don’t know your way around with a hammer? You hire a contractor.
So, what if your goal is to improve your happiness? You might want to work with a positive psychology or “happiness” coach. If you want to find one, Louisa Jewell is the founder of the newly formed Canadian Positive Psychology Association. She shares her inside knowledge into what a happiness coach can do for you.
Q: Let’s review first what positive psychology is?
A: Positive psychology focuses on strengths. So how can we strengthen our psychological resilience so we have resources and strategies to call on during challenging times.
Q: So how would a happiness coach work?
A: What a coach might do is if a client had a goal of being happier in their life, then they could approach with different practices that would improve happiness over time. So a coach may suggest what’s best for you to become happier—such as exercise as a way to increase happiness for example. Sometimes people think that exercise is good for staying skinny or losing weight, for increasing your physical health. But it’s been shown in research that exercise also increases mental health.
Q: How would you find a coach near you?
A: We have a number of licensed psychotherapists who also practice positive psychology and those are the people or coaches that we’re in touch with. I run a practitioner community with over 120 practitioners across Canada so if they were looking for one, I could put them in touch with some.
Q: Finally, as someone with a masters in applied positive psychology, any thoughts on one thing we can do today to improve our happiness?
A: One thing that’s absolutely proven is doing a random act of kindness. If you wanted a boost right away, perform a random act of kindness. When you do that, you feel good and they feel good and you’ve probably enhanced a social relationship which is key. It’s not just about getting online and donating to a charity because that doesn’t really connect you with the beneficiary of your kind act. What you want to do is you want to perform a human to human act, or knowing that you’ve helped someone—so simple things such as volunteering or buying a stranger coffee can create a wonderful experience that improves your happiness right away. It increases meaning in your life and improves your social connections which helps you be happier.
Have you started your Gratitude Adjustment? If so, let me know how it’s going! Share your story by dropping me a line below, on Twitter (@AstridVanDenB) or on Chatelaine’s Facebook page.
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