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Positive Not Toxic

6th February 2023

A few weeks ago we started talking about the PERMA+ model of Positive Psychology. Over the next few weeks, we are taking a deeper dive into what the letters stand for. 

Positive Emotion

A quick reminder this psychology is about studying what is good and positive in life, the things that are intrinsically motivating and that contribute to wellbeing. These components increase wellbeing and have also been found to decrease distress

Positive Not Toxic Perma

I know, we all have our ideas of what 'positivity' means, we all have a bit of an ick factor to that - but this is not that. 

Toxic Positivity is a refusal to accept, acknowledge or allow what we see as 'negative' emotions to be released, or that situations have made us feel these emotions. 

We are meant to feel the whole spectrum of emotions and we have them for a reason - they are like signals to us that we need to look up, acknowledge and find solutions for.

Positive emotion is not toxic positivity and it is much more than just ‘being happy.’ It can include emotions such as hope, joy, love, compassion, pride, amusement, gratitude, and more. 

Emotions like compassion and hope take in the pain around us, they see it, but they also have this stronger element of positive emotion. They believe that although there may be sadness, there is an end to it. 

If anyone has seen the film Inside Out then you know this. Over on our Peer Mentoring app, we've talked about the Mood Meter. We like this because it talks about these emotions as an increase in pleasantness (and the app gives you tips on how to move towards them). 

The PERMA+ model encourages us to think about the parts of life that bring in these positive emotions, and therefore increase our wellbeing.

On the increase

Increasing positive emotions doesn't have to mean spending money!

Here are four simple ways you can increase your positive emotions

1. KNOW YOURSELF

Find out what actually makes YOU feel good. This isn't about what others say, this is about you. Sometimes it's helpful to think about what we enjoyed when we were children, is there something you could bring into your life. 

Write a list of 12 things that make you feel good, whether it's through your sences, or activity based, make sure at least three of them, don't need someone else for them to happen. Then, take two and make a plan to do those things this week 

2. BE THANKFUL

It's not woo - it is actual science. Gratitude changes our brain. So start a list, make a journal, tiktok your three thankful thoughts for the day, whats app someone and tell them!  - whatever you do, make it you, make it kind (and keep it safe!)

3.  KNOW OTHERS

I realise we are not all extroverts, but we are social creatures at our core. So we do, in part need human interaction in our lives - the amount changes from person to person.

Youth Clubs are a great way to meet people, or get involved with our holiday activities and school wellbeing projects!

4. FEED YOUR MIND

We know that spending time in nature is a great way to boost our positive emotions - and even on a cloudy grey day, the Vit D is there for us to draw in!

Think about positive events that have happened in your life. I still always laugh when I remember an incident that happened when my friend sneezed and headbutted the car horn (we were stationary). 

Curate your Instagram feed, is it making you happy - if not why have it! If you can't give it up, why not take an Instagram walk and upload pictures to your highlights that help you enjoy nature or savour good times. 

Next time we are looking at E - Engagement

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