I am a month into my Certification of Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) program and I am head over heels in love with what I am learning. The travel is hard and I am still trying to balance the extra demands placed on my schedule. However, when I begin to question this choice, I remind myself that I can do hard things and growth often requires getting out of my comfort zone.
A small part of this discomfort was giving up some things that I love and re-prioritizing my schedule.
One of the things that I have had to compromise is sharing ideas through this newsletter/blog on a regular basis. But, I will pop into your email every now and then to share some key CAPP learning's that everyone should know (without all the boring research). I will also sprinkle in some “Shine on Sister” profiles to keep the inspiration flowing over the next year.
A number of people have asked what am I studying or what is "Positive Psychology?" One thing for sure, it’s not just the study of happiness or taking a Pollyanna view of the world. We all know how messy life can be and that bad things happen to everyone. PP offers tools to manage the full range of human experiences (the good and the bad) so emotion does not get stuck and that you continue to learn and grow from every experience…or as my CAPP teachers’ say “to flourish.”
Traditional Psychology is based on a disease model of fixing what is wrong. This model is limiting. Just because you are not sick does not necessarily mean you are healthy. Just because you are not depressed does not mean you are happy or fulfilled. PP is about building on what’s right with you, not just fixing what’s wrong with you. It aims to create a more balanced view of psychology…and you all know that I am all about balance.
The first learning I want to share is the Illness-Wellness Continuum developed by Dr. John Travis.
Most of us think wellness is the absence of illness.
There are actually many degrees of the health. In this model, the right-side of the Continuum reflects degrees of wellness, while the left indicates degrees of illness. You can move farther to the right, towards greater health and well-being by passing through the stages of awareness, education, and growth. Alternatively, you can experience worsening health by not seeing the first signs of illness, ignoring symptoms, and not doing the hard work of changing habits.
What you need to know about this model:
- Your well-being is a dynamic rather than a static process.
- It is less important where you are on the Continuum than the direction you are facing.
- Your outlook and choices play a major role in moving you along this Continuum.
A positive outlook will enhance your health and well-being, while a negative outlook will hinder it, regardless of the current health status. For example, a person who demonstrates no symptoms of disease, but is constantly complaining, will be facing the left side of the Continuum and away from a state of high-level wellness. Conversely, a person with a disability, but who maintains a positive outlook, will be facing to the right, toward a high level of wellness.
The inspirational speaker, Nick Vujicic, is a perfect example of someone who faces to the right and flourishes despite his disability. Check him out here.
I lovingly ask, which way are you facing? and What’s your excuse for not moving towards health and happiness?