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Well-being

By Karen Vally on 20 Mar 2017



It is said that the person we will be in 5 years time, will be determined by the people we meet and the books we read. In this blog, I shall focus on the latter. The last 3 books I have read are: "Over The Moon! A Guide To Positive Ageing" by Dr Hannetjie van Zyl-Edeling; "Inventing The Rest Of Our Lives" by Suzanne Braun Levine and "Flourish" by Martin Seligman. There is a golden thread running through all 3 of these books.

Let me begin by saying that I am passionate about reading. In fact, I cannot go a day without indulging in this pastime, and I love spending time in a book store. I usually choose books based on the reviews I find in our local newspapers.

So, what is the "golden thread" between these 3 books?  "Flourish," by Martin Seligman, is about the benefits of focusing on our strengths and was recommended by Dr Hannetjie van Zyl-Edeling in the course of her delightfully illustrated book, "Over The Moon!" I seldom ignore such recommendations. The content of her book is so invaluable and the illustrations are so amusing, that one could read it several times without ever losing interest. The third book, "Inventing The Rest Of Our Lives" is about women in their "second adulthood," that time in a woman's life when the children have left home and retirement is looming.

But the golden thread extends even further...all 3 books are about the power that we have, not only to take charge of our lives, but to determine its quality, especially as we get older.

Just as Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, had the courage to challenge traditional psychology, so too can we challenge current views on success, happiness, health and well-being. Take happiness, for instance. The definitions are numerous, but how many define "lasting" happiness?

What is health? What is well-being? Some view health as the absence of illness and disease. Martin Seligman digs much deeper than that and attributes our well-being to the following 5 elements:

Positive emotion

Engagement

Meaning

Positive relationships

Accomplishment

He devotes a large portion of his book to our, "Signature Strengths" and he includes a "Signature Stregths Test" in the Appendix. It's a golden opportunity to learn and grow.

Seligman's views are supported by easy to understand, scientific data and interesting anecdotes. You will, on completion of this highly recommended book, gain a new understanding of happiness and well-being.

"We can all say 'yes' to more positive emotion.
We can all say 'yes' to more engagement.
We can all say 'yes' to better relationships.
We can all say 'yes' to more meaning in life.
We can all say 'yes' to more positive accomplishment.

We can all say 'yes' to more well-being."

From this day forward, filled with the knowledge and insight I have gained from these 3 books, I shall approach the next chapter of my life with a greater degree of confidence and excitement. I shall open my heart and mind to whatever lies ahead. I will travel a lot "lighter" than before. I am" over the moon" about having the tools to "flourish" as I stand poised with my "paintbrush" on the blank canvas called, my "second adulthood."

Wisdom is the best companion of all...


 

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