Women come to me often wondering why they are having a hard time finding their own place of well-being or inner calm. So I’m always looking for the hard facts. Specifically, my curiosity has always been around complete well-being: not just physical health, or financial wealth, beauty or balanced weight, and not just a healthy mind, but all of them put together. The real questions have always been how do we create complete well-being for ourselves, and how do we teach it to others?
My basic premise is that complete well-being begins with building positive emotions where no emotions or negative emotions exist. Pure and simple, our history, upbringing, friends, family, and many other factors play into the types of emotions that have become habitual for each of us. Sometimes lack of complete well-being stems from a build-up of lots of habitual negative emotions that fuel more negative emotions. In a way, it is founded entirely on not knowing what complete well-being feels like (or not knowing what it is like to live with an abundance of positive emotions).
I look for evidence of my theory everywhere. Sometimes I find it in one of my kids, other times in myself, and sometimes I even find it in complete strangers. Today I find it in my reading:
One article submitted towards the topic of the science of well-being: integrating neurobiology, psychology and social science by Martin E. P. Seligman, Acacia C. Park, and Tracy Steen in the Royal Journal says: Results from a new randomized, placebo-controlled study demonstrated that people are happier and less depressed three months after completing exercises targeting positive emotion. The ultimate goal of positive psychology is to make people happier by understanding and building positive emotions, gratification, and meaning.
Another article, this one submitted by Barbara L. Fredrickson says, The broaden-and-build theory describes the form and function of a subset of positive emotions, including joy, interest, contentment, and love. A key proposition is that these positive emotions broaden an individual’s momentary thought-action repertoire: joy sparks the urge to play, interest sparks the urge to explore, contentment sparks the urge to savor and integrate, and love sparks a recurring cycle of each of these urges within safe, close relationships. In other words, positive emotions spark more positive emotions.
Both of these articles support my theory that complete well-being can be learned and that we’re all capable of living in a state of complete well-being, if only we set our intention to live there and learn how to create new positive thinking.
The reality is that working towards a state of complete well-being is a process that never ends because life throws us new challenges every day, and we have to find new ways to regain our balance. However, once you realize that this wonderful place of health, inner wealth, and richness can exist for you if only you know the secret, you are halfway home.
Knowledge is powerful. This knowledge, in my opinion, is powerful and priceless.