Samantha Rodgers' blog

Flourish: Positive Relationships

This one probably goes without saying- the better your relationships with others are, the better we feel!

The key to positive relationships is building security and the ability to explore, rather than the need to protect against being hurt (avoidant attachments) and feeling worried that the loved one will leave (anxious attachment).

Once very simple theory to consider is the ‘Bucket and Dipper’ theory by Don Clifton and Tom Rath. The idea is that we each have a ‘wellbeing’ bucket on our backs and a dipper that we can use to add to or reduce the amount in another’s bucket. Think aboututhe people in your life- do they add or reduce your level? Obviously, surrounding yourself with people who are likely to fill your bucket are going to produce more secure relationship that are better for your own wellbeing.

Another really important concept we covered in the course is ACR- Active Constructive Responding, Shelly Gable, when responding to good news.

Gable: Ways of responding

Obviously, we want to amplify good news by showing genuine interest, rather than ignoring’ stealing, deflating or understating the news, but while it sounds easy, it isn’t. Think about this the next time someone tells you good news. How often do we choose to do something other than amplify- it happens more often than you would think! How will you respond the next time someone gives you good news… and how much will it ‘fill their bucket’?



Flourish: Positive Engagement

Another element of positive psychology is that of positive engagement.

Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi (yep, what a name!) wrote a book in 1990 called ‘Flow’, that tries to capture and document that feeling of being ‘in flow’, in the ‘zone’, in the moment.

Rather than feeling best when we are relaxed or passive, he believes that the best moments of our lives are when we are in ‘flow’ and everybody has ways to achieve that feeling. For some it is sport, for others music or the arts. As a teacher I find the idea of flow to be fascinating and obviously, want my students to be able to experience flow. Simply put, it is when skill level and challenge level are roughly similar.FLow chart0 at 7.58.07 pm

Theoretically speaking, it doesn’t equate to ‘learning’, in fact it is probably best described as the moment a skill is mastered and the feeling of applying that new learning successfully. The big question is, how to differentiate¬† learning environments that allow all learners to match skill with challenge at any level. A challenging task but one well worth the effort!

The other fact that I found really interesting is that people tend to feel flow 54% of the time in work activities, and only 18% of the time in leisure. Considering we are planning to retire and ‘all’ of our time could be considered leisure, is to increase that statistic, at least for us!

One thing that¬† I have done is to write out a list of things that we enjoy doing that aren’t just passive: Learning a new instrument or language, gardening, reading on new topics (such as mindfulness) and learning new skills for renovationg our house should ensure that more than 15% of time is in flow, and it is definitely something that I will keep in my mind as we transition into our retirement!

Watch this clip of the juggler Chris Bliss to see someone truly in flow!

Chris Bliss: Juggling