Enter Engagement

Hi!!! And Welcome Back to Motivated Mondays! 

We’re talking about well-being. 

A quick recap of last week before we continue.

Last week, we developed gratitude to broaden and build our psychological resources (1). Why? Because gratitude is a simple, yet powerful positive emotion. Being able to acknowledge and appreciate the goodness that happens in our world helps us frame our life experience in a positive way. Gratitude can also create meaning and build positive relationships (2). Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated?

Gratitude is robustly correlated with life satisfaction (3) and can make us more interested, attentive, helpful, determined, optimistic, enthusiastic, energetic, and joyful (2)! It even decreases envy, anxiety, depression, and loneliness (2). In short, folks who cultivate gratitude in their everyday lives are happier and healthier than those who don’t (4).

Did you accept my invitation to build gratitude with the Three Good Things exercise and share gratitude by writing and delivering a Gratitude Letter (5)? Even if you haven’t had time to deliver your Gratitude Letter just yet, I hope you will. Once you have taken the opportunity to do so, reflect on your experience. How did it feel to actively cultivate gratitude? What did you notice as you shared your gratitude letter? 

You have the power to capitalize on what is going well, be a source of light for others, and create a positive ripple effect in your world. I hope the past few weeks have given you insight into the power of positive emotions and sparked ideas of how to cultivate them in your own life to broaden and build your personal well of being.

This week, I want to turn our attention to the second element of the PERMA model of well-being - Engagement (6). Before we dive head first into engagement, let’s take a look at attention.

What capture’s your attention? 

You can make yourself happy or miserable based on the contents of your consciousness. Attention determines what appears in our consciousness (7). Therefore, attention is a powerful tool to improve well-being (7). Where you place your attention matters. Think about it. This is one reason cultivating gratitude and capitalizing on positive emotions is so helpful! 

Yet, attention is a limited resource. The nervous system can only process so much information at any given moment... 

Attention.png

Intention keeps consciousness ordered and gives us focus (7). Engagement is not necessarily good or bad. It all depends on what you choose to engage in and what your goal is. It is the combination of intention and attention that has the potential to create well-being through engagement. 

What does it mean to engage? 

To engage someone else is to occupy, interest, or attract their attention. But to be engaged, means that you are active, interested, and involved. Engagement, much like positive emotions, is subjective and personal to you. Your interests, talents, strengths, and skills dynamically impact your level of engagement in a given moment. Most folks describe engagement as feeling good, but it turns out, this only happens in hindsight. During periods of engagement, thought and feeling are usually absent (7). 

In other words, our best moments happen when we are engaged!

Employee engagement is a hot topic these days and for good reason. We spend many of our waking hours at work, and engagement impacts both well-being and performance. Check it out…

This week, I invited you to take five to ten minutes to sit in a quiet place and consider when you felt engaged during the past week. When interested and absorbed you? Have you lost track of time while involved in an activity? Perhaps this happened at work? Or you may discover that you feel more engaged doing a hobby, socializing, volunteering, or even completing housework!

Tune in and listen carefully. The answer may surprise you! 

I hope you enjoy examining what engages you this week. I look forward to seeing you next Monday to continue to explore well-being through lens of engagement as we find flow!

As always, gratitude for the expertise of the following resources.

References

1. Fredrickson B. Positivity: Groundbreaking research reveals how to embrace the hidden strength of positive emotions, overcome negativity, and thrive. New York: Crown Publishers; 2009.

2. Grenville-Cleave B. Introducing positive psychology: A practical guide. Icon Books Ltd; 2012.

3. Park N, Peterson C, Seligman M. Strengths of character and well-being. Journal of social and Clinical Psychology. 2004; 23(5), 603-619. 

4. Seligman M, Steen T, Park N, Peterson C. Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. American psychologist. 2005; 60(5), 410.

5. Peterson C. A primer in positive psychology. Oxford University Press; 2006.

6. Seligman M. Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and wellbeing. New York: Free Press; 2011. 

7. Csikszentmihalyi M. The anatomy of consciousness. Flow: The psychology of optimal experience (pp. 23-42). New York: Harper Perennial; 1990.