10 ways to get the most out of life and flourish, according to a famous psychologist

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Are you feeling like life is just passing you by? Do you wake up each morning with a sense of dread, wondering how you’re ever going to make it through the day?

Or maybe you simply feel like there’s more to life than just going through the motions.

If any of this rings a bell, then read this article on ten ways to get the most out of your life, according to world-renowned psychologist, Martin Seligman.

Martin Seligman, often referred to as the father of positive psychology, has spent his life researching what makes people flourish. He’s discovered some key strategies that can help turn your everyday existence into a rich tapestry of experiences that brings joy, satisfaction and meaning.

Prepare to be enlightened, encouraged and empowered to start living your best life and flourish!

1. Setting goals

Seligman discovered that people who have clear goals are generally happier and feel more satisfied with their lives. But, he doesn’t mean just any goals. He’s talking about goals that mean something to you, something you’re excited and passionate about.

When we work towards something that matters to us, we feel a sense of purpose. We’re not just drifting through life, we’re actively steering it towards what we want.

So, what’s a goal you’ve been dreaming of? Maybe it’s learning a new language, running a marathon or just reading more books. Whatever it is, write it down. Make a plan. Don’t stress if it seems too big or far away right now. The important part is to start.

Remember, every journey begins with a single step. So, what’s your first step going to be?

2. Building strong relationships

Now, this one is a real game-changer. Seligman found that people with strong relationships are happier and feel more fulfilled. 

A few years back, I found myself feeling a bit lonely and disconnected. I was so caught up in my work that I hardly made time for my family and friends. But then, I decided to make a change.

I started calling my friends more often, spending quality time with my family, and even reached out to some old friends. It wasn’t always easy or convenient, but it was definitely worth it. I felt happier, more connected, and surprisingly, even my work improved!

So, take a look at your relationships. Are you investing enough time and energy into them? Remember, it’s not about having hundreds of friends on Facebook. It’s about having a few close connections that truly matter.

3. Positive thinking

You might be thinking, “Positive thinking? Isn’t that a bit cliche?” But there’s more to it than just ‘thinking happy thoughts’. Seligman isn’t suggesting we ignore life’s problems. Instead, he’s telling us to focus on the good stuff more often.

Here’s an example. Each day, take a few minutes to think about what went well. It doesn’t have to be something big. Maybe you enjoyed your coffee this morning or had a nice chat with a friend. Whatever it is, think about it and really appreciate the experience.

Doing this can help you feel happier and more satisfied with your life. Plus, it helps you start looking out for the good things in life. And the more you look, the more you’ll find!

So, why not give it a try? What’s one good thing that happened to you today?

4. Being active

Seligman emphasizes the importance of physical activity in our lives. It’s not just about having a toned body or losing weight, it’s also about enjoying a healthier and happier mind.

Exercising regularly can actually boost your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. According to a study from Harvard University, running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour can significantly increase your well-being.

So, whether it’s going for a brisk walk, doing some yoga, or dancing around your living room – any form of physical activity can make a difference in how you feel. Plus, it’s a great way to release stress and recharge your energies.

5. Giving back

Seligman’s research shows that when we help others, we’re also helping ourselves. It’s a win-win situation. Giving back doesn’t just make the world a better place, it can also make us feel more fulfilled and happier.

There’s something truly special about extending a helping hand to someone in need. It reminds us of our shared humanity and the power of kindness. We realize that our actions, however small they may seem, can have a big impact on others.

You don’t have to donate millions or start a charity to give back. It could be as simple as volunteering at a local shelter, helping an elderly neighbor with groceries, or even just lending an ear to a friend in need.

So, take a moment and think – how can you give back? Remember, every act of kindness makes a difference.

6. Learning new things

Seligman found that learning new things can make us happier and more satisfied with life. It keeps our minds sharp, boosts our confidence, and adds a dash of excitement to our everyday routine.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn? Maybe it’s a new language, how to play the guitar, or perhaps cooking up some exotic dish. Remember, it’s never too late to learn something new.

7. Accepting yourself

This is a big one. Seligman talks about the importance of self-acceptance. Accepting ourselves, with all our quirks, mistakes and imperfections, is crucial for our happiness and well-being.

We’re all flawed. We’ve all messed up, made poor choices, and have things we wish we could change about ourselves. But that’s what makes us human!

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of comparing ourselves to others, especially in this age of social media where everyone’s life seems picture-perfect. But remember, you’re only seeing their highlight reel, not the behind-the-scenes.

So instead of beating yourself up for not being ‘enough’, start celebrating yourself for who you are. You are unique, you are valuable and you are enough, just as you are.

Remember, self-acceptance isn’t about complacency. It’s about acknowledging where you are right now, and loving yourself regardless, while still striving to grow and improve.

8. Embracing gratitude

Seligman’s research highlights the power of gratitude in enhancing our happiness and overall satisfaction with life. He suggests that acknowledging and appreciating the good in our lives can significantly enhance our mood and outlook.

Studies show that people who keep a gratitude journal have lower levels of stress and depression, sleep better, and generally have a more optimistic view of life.

So, why not give it a shot? Starting a gratitude journal can be as simple as jotting down three things you’re thankful for each day.

It could be anything from a delicious meal you had, to a kind gesture from a stranger, or even just the fact that you woke up this morning.

Remember, it’s not happiness that brings us gratitude. It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.

9. Cultivating resilience

Seligman found that resilience is a key ingredient in leading a fulfilled life. It’s about bouncing back from difficulties and using those experiences to grow and become stronger.

We can view challenging situations not as a catastrophe but as an opportunity to learn and grow. Resilience isn’t about avoiding difficulties, but navigating through them and emerging stronger on the other side.

So remember, no matter what you’re going through, you have the power to bounce back. You’re much stronger than you think!

10. Finding your flow

Seligman talks about the concept of ‘flow’, those moments when you’re so engrossed in an activity that you lose track of time. It might be painting, writing, playing music, or even coding. It’s different for everyone.

We all have those activities that make us forget about everything else. Those things that we love so much, we could do them for hours without even noticing how much time has passed. But often, we don’t make enough time for these activities because we’re too busy with ‘important’ stuff.

But what if the secret to a fulfilling life lies in these moments of flow? What if these activities are not just hobbies, but a vital part of who we are?

So, make some time for your flow. Do more of what makes you lose track of time. 

Finally, remember, life is a journey filled with ups and downs. And it’s perfectly okay not to have everything figured out yet.

Just keep learning, growing, and being true to yourself. You will feel better and get the most out of your life!

Jeanette Brown

I have been in Education as a teacher, career coach and executive manager over many years.
I'm also an experienced coach who is passionate about supporting people in finding real meaning and purpose in their lives, building a resilient, grounded inner self and achieving their desired goals.

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