I recently heard this quote from Jim Carrey:
“Depression is your body saying f*&k you–I don’t want to hold up this avatar you have created anymore”.
This leads me to discuss…Positive Psychology.
According to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), “Positive Psychology is a powerful joy-based approach to personal development. Rather than attempting to fix people, this discipline helps others build lives of meaning and purpose”. Positive Psychology Expert Robert Mack states that “The premise here is that authentically happy people make healthier life choices”. Love that — authentically happy people make healthier choices. (But I believe it works both ways…)
WHAT IS HAPPY?
For me, “happy” feels like a more subtle version of joy. (Have you seen the movie Inside Out? I HIGHLY recommend it!) It’s like peace, smiling. How do we get there? Enter Primary and Secondary Food.
PRIMARY & SECONDARY FOOD
IIN refers to the parts of our lives that feed our body, mind, and spirit off of the plate as sources of primary food. As I wrote in my recent blog, Nourish, primary food includes our creativity, spirituality, joy, social life, relationships, home environment, home cooking, physical activity, health, education, career, and finances. Secondary nutrition is the food we eat every day (not to be confused with the act of home cooking, which is a primary food). These are sources that should include foods from each of the colors of the rainbow to ensure we are getting adequate phytonutrients to optimize our health and maximize nutrient-rich foods in the other macronutrient categories of fats and proteins.
By integrating this methodology into our daily routines, we support our gut-brain connection which ultimately leads to a baseline of appreciation or gratitude.
WHERE DO I START?
I have found that a simple place to start is to take a deep look at the areas that define the primary food group. Make a list of all of the categories (listed above) and rate each one on a scale of 0-10 (0 being fully depleted, 10 being fully satisfied). By the way, we are only talking about this moment. Don’t think too much about it, just write the number that comes to mind quickly–NO JUDGEMENT. When you are finished, look back and see how the big picture feels to you.
Want a broader perspective? If you are ready to begin to make changes to optimize your lifestyle–and level of happiness”–go ahead and note 3-5 ideas (if possible) of activities or action steps that you could take next to the categories that are calling out for your attention! This process doesn’t need to–in fact, it shouldn’t–happen all at once, by the way. Pick one area to start with and focus on that for two or three weeks, creating a habit that will ultimately enrich your life.
POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY COACHING
Positive psychology coaching doesn’t dwell on past events or personal deficits–and neither should we. I’m obviously not suggesting we ignore the areas that will benefit us with a little focus on optimization. What I am offering is that we can shift perspective and become aware of how to gradually elevate our lives with opportunities that are right in front of us (or at least forefront in our minds). Focus on the strengths that allow you to thrive and how to use them to your advantage. Don’t play small–and (re)read the “friendly reminder” above whenever you need one.