We're officially heading into the last couple weeks of 2020... and I'm thinking we're all feeling ready to put this stressful year to rest.
With Christmas approaching next week though, you may be feeling as if you can't rest just yet because of all that needs to be done to prepare for the holiday.
It's important to recall simple ways we can increase peace and joy in our lives and the lives of those around us as we prepare to celebrate the Incarnation: one of the most incredible events ever to take place in history.
The good news is that research shows there are five categories of human experience that, when given time to develop, can help a person flourish instead of flounder in the face of adversity.
Martin Seligman, a psychologist who pioneered the branch of psychology called positive psychology, discovered these five main areas of growth in a person's life that contribute to a sense of flourishing:
Positive Emotion/Physical Self-Care describes the ability of a person to take care of the body (positive treatment of the self through the body). Taking time to care for your physical health (take a pleasant walk, eat a nourishing meal, take a hot bath) is good for you.
Engagement refers to doing an activity you really enjoy and that replenishes you, just for the sake of doing it.
Healthy Relationships: We are made for relationships, so engaging in healthy ones is an important factor in flourishing.
Meaning describes having a sense that God is in control of everything and the weight of the world doesn't rest on your shoulders.
Achievement refers to setting small, reachable goals for yourself that you actually stop to enjoy once you reach them.
The fact that these five categories can be learned and developed means we don't have to be victims of our current, stressful circumstances. Also, they are totally consistent with a Catholic anthropology!
For more on this...
If you're interested in diving deeper into the PERMA model, check out Dr. Martin Seligman's book Flourish in which he describes his research on what contributes to people's well-being.
Looking for a practical way to learn how to decrease your anxiety, increase peace, and grow in trusting God from moment to moment? If so, I would definitely suggest my book, The Mindful Catholic. (Totally unbiased recommendation of course. 😎)