I have been asked the question "Where did all the wellbeing stuff come from?" many times. People ask me why I'm such a geek about positive psychology and why I push for things so much. They ask me why I sacrifice lots of things like not socialising as often as I used to and staying in at weekends etc. The real answer is; because I wish I had learned about being well when I was at school.
I remember being really young in primary school and not being able to answer questions because I was so worried to speak out, even when I knew the answers. I remember not putting a foot out of line incase I got a 'red card' (how ridiculous) or incase the teacher got cross. As I got older I remember fighting my way through a lot of things teenagers do as part of growing up; panicking about people liking me, obsessing over how many hearts people sent me on Bebo which were displayed for the whole world to see . And also some more serious stuff. Ditching school because I was in the firing line from a group of girls for that week and feeling like I couldn't breathe as I tried to make my way home full of fear. Adulthood brought many, more difficult times which are for another post. Of course, memories like this are commonplace for many and if we all dig really deep, we can pinpoint those times where we felt strangled by anxiety or weighed down by fear. The point is this; it doesn't need to be this way.
Positive education and mindfulness are things I wish I had been taught, right from primary one. I have only considered myself mentally strong within the last couple of years; I'm 34 now. I can't help but wonder if someone had taught me about my character strengths throughout my schooling, if someone had taught me loving kindness meditation, if someone had taught me that taking deep breaths can actually reduce the stress hormone cortisol in my body, if someone had taught me the power of gratitude, the power of positive affirmations, the benefits of optimism, had engaged in empowering coaching conversations with me to reach my goals, had nurtured my creativity and encouraged me to find flow... the list goes on, perhaps, I would have felt this mentally strong long before now.
Sometimes I feel like I cannot make my vision clear, that I can't explain it properly, that I can't 'sell' it enough or I don't know enough and I'm trying to grow something that isn't useful. Other times I feel like I'm making a busy body of myself, and look to be doing all this for personal gain. But then I remember why I constantly look for ways to share what I'm learning from uni. To make a difference. To support flourishing within my school community through positive psychology. So those little children that come into my class can be supported by me and other staff, alongside their parents, to flourish, grow, become more resilient, learn how to reduce stress and talk about their strengths with confidence. Imagine a child that goes through a whole school education like this.
That is why I do what I do.
What is your purpose? Why do you do what you do?
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