I’ll be taking you on a journey through my academic adventure as I pursue a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology. I’m excited to share the fascinating insights I’ve gained, the classes I’ve been taking, the papers I’ve been writing, and the transformative concepts that have left a profound impact on my life.
I discuss key components like positive interventions, flourishing, and the intriguing concept of maximizing versus sacraficing. I’ll share how these ideas have the potential to shape our daily lives and bring about positive change.
And ultimately, this is a tool for my daily life, too. I share personal experiences with positive interventions and my quest for greater pride and gratitude. I offer practical insights into implementing these interventions in your own life and the incredible impact they can have on your overall well-being.
We’ll also reconsider the concept of connection and why feeling like we’re a burden, asking a “stupid” question, or bothering someone can lead to isolation rather than enriching society. It’s a powerful perspective that can change the way we interact with others and build meaningful connections.
Together, we’ll gain valuable insights and practical tips that can change the way you approach life and well-being. I’m with you on this journey of personal growth, adventure and our mission to be better every day.
Key Takeaways about Positive Psychology:
- What is a positive intervention?
- Why we should consider experiencing more positive emotions
- The importance of feeling pride as a way to celebrate success
- How to give and receive gratitude
- How we make decisions and why we shouldn’t always shoot for best
- Rethinking connection: How can we focus on interaction, rather than isolation
LISTEN TO SONYA
- Learning in a master’s program in applied positive psychology. (0:00)
- Positive psychology interventions for well-being. (3:31)
- Pride, accomplishment, and self-reflection. (7:57)
- Gratitude and receiving compliments. (10:55)
- Decision-making and the paradox of choice. (16:04)
- The paradox of choice and self-acceptance. (18:05)
- Happiness, gratitude, and well-being at a university summit. (24:15)
- Intimidation and asking questions in academic settings. (26:10)
- Positive psychology and personal growth. (32:58)
Here are some books mentioned in the episode:
- Positivity by Barb Fredrickson
- Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
- Generations by Jean Twenge
- Happy Together by James and Susan Pawelski
Want to hear more from Sonya? Tune into these solo episodes:
If you want to work towards your goals and more, check out my self-paced online course: Moxy & Grit Mindset Academy.
Sonya Looney 0:00
Welcome to today’s solo podcast episode where I will attempt to tell you about some of the things that I have learned so far in my master’s in applied positive psychology degree.
Welcome to the Sonya Looney show. This is a podcast about high performance and wellbeing. And I’m your host, Sonya. And if you’re new around here, I am a world and multi time national champion in mountain biking, and I still race professionally. I’m a health and mental performance coach, a writer, a mom of two little kids, and I own my own business. And if you’re not new around here, welcome. I’m so glad that you’re back. And I’m so grateful that you are a part of this awesome community. And that we get to learn and grow together.
I’ve been wanting to sit down at the mic and debrief some of the things that I have been learning in my master’s program. It is a bit like drinking out of a firehose of the most amazing tasting water that you’ve ever had. And it’s hard to believe that it’s only been about eight weeks since I’ve been doing this and to think about all of the incredible things that I’ve learned. It’s so much that it’s almost hard to remember it all. Because it’s so overwhelming how much there is, today is going to be more off the cuff than normal. Usually, for my solo podcast episodes, I’ll do a special project where I pick a topic and I do a deep dive on my own into the research and tell you about it. Like I’ve done deep dives on competition, expectations, mastery, and many more. And if you want to check those out, make sure you go over to the solo episodes category on my website, that’s Sani lynda.com/podcasts. And there’s a drop down menu that you could choose from. For today I’m going to think chronologically about the papers that I’ve written is that to the best way I can orient myself around the learnings. There’s a lot of paper writing, it turns out in a psychology degree, which should not be a surprise. But it’s kind of funny because my background in school has always been in something quantitative where there is a right answer. My background is in engineering. So I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in electrical engineering, which is very physics and math focused and every single project or or test or assignment I did how to write answer. So whenever you write papers, where you have to advance a thesis, and arguing a point where there is no right answer, and then be subjectively graded has been a different experience. And as I went into this program, I told myself, and they all the leaders of the program also tell us this is not to be fixated on grades. And that is hard in a group of high achieving people at an Ivy League university. But it is such a great testament to focusing on the process on mastery on learning something because you want to be able to apply it and not trying to be as focused on the outcome. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t focused on the outcome. But whenever I’m writing a paper, I try to think what is going to be my best learning experience. And that was very different than what I did before in school, which was really more of a means to an end where this is more of a keyhole for the means to keep unlocking more means and to have work without an end. So I suppose where I will jump in is tell you about some of the classes that I’m taking if you’re interested. So first of all, I guess first of all this master’s I’m doing is at the University of Pennsylvania, where the field of positive psychology was founded by Dr. Marty Seligman, who is APA President back in the late 90s. And he is now 80 years old, and he is still very active. And he’s one of our professors. So to learn from the founder in the field, and one of the most influential people ever in psychology is very exciting and also intimidating at times. But I’m feel so grateful that I get to be a part of this. So some of our classes are positive interventions. And an intervention is something that you do, it’s an action that you take in order to try to get some sort of outcome, but the process of it is what makes the difference. So a positive intervention is an action that you deliberately undertake, and you are trying to foster positive emotions or thoughts or behaviors that change your perspective. And the goal is to improve well being and happiness. The goal is human flourishing. So some of the positive interventions I’ll rattle off right now are things that you’ve heard of before, probably things that you’ve done before, things like gratitude exercises, practicing acts of kindness, doing a meditation or a mindfulness practice, identifying your personal strengths, setting goals, trying to find ways to enhance your relationships and social connections, and savoring and all that a quick little note here is that I did a solo podcast episode on savoring a couple years ago that we’ll link up in the show notes and I think savoring it is actually one of the most powerful positive interventions that you can do. So in this positive interventions course, we have to read a lot of these research papers that are I find them incredibly fascinating. I love this stuff so much. And we are trying to deduce what are some of the qualities of a positive intervention and then we will be designing some of our own. Something that I am working on actively this week is actually designing my own positive interventions to understand and nurture the feeling of pride. So there are 10 Basic positive emotions that Barbara Fredrickson, who is a foremost researcher in this area has identified to list them off. They are joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love. I am not doing a primer on what positive psychology is. And I realized that that might be helpful. So I’ll quickly tell you one of the constructs of well being and there are several, which I think I’d love to get into in a podcast episode in the future. But for now, I will stick with Marty Seligman model of flourishing and it has an acronym perma, and it’s positive emotions, engagement, meaning relationship and accomplishment. And once you start pursuing those areas, you will experience higher levels of well being and higher levels of flourishing. So in the realm of positive emotions, if you’re trying to increase positive emotions, you can use positive interventions in order to do so. And according to Barbara Fredrickson work, she says that there’s a positivity ratio, where if you’re experiencing a ratio of three to one, so that is three positive emotions to one negative emotion, you will unlock what is called an upward spiral. And what that means is that you will continue experiencing further positivity in your life and it starts to snowball on itself. The benefits of an upward spiral and experiencing more positive emotions is what Bart Fredrickson is calls the broaden and build theory. So what that means is that your perspective will start to change. When we’re feeling more negative or stress. Our vision gets narrower, our actual vision Field Division gets narrower, but also our perspective, our mental Field Division gets narrower. You might have even experienced this, if you’re a mountain biker, if you’re writing a technical trail, you’re riding downhill, you’re staring at all the rocks that you don’t want to hit, and you don’t look up the trail or down the trail farther, you don’t broaden your vision. So you can’t even see what’s coming and you get so focused on the thing right in front of you. This can happen to in other stressful situations where you can’t really see the forest from the trees so to speak. So if you can experience more positive emotions and create situations in your life to experience them, your perspective changes it broaden so that you can see more things. And then you also start to build you build psychological resources, mental resources, emotional resources, social resources, and all of those contribute to better well being. If you’d like to read a book, I highly recommend positivity by Barbara Fredrickson. I remember when I read this book, it was about 10 years ago, I remember what trails I was writing when I read this book, because it was so incredibly powerful to learn that a lot of our well being is in our own hands. So if that was interesting to you, check out the book positivity by Barb Frederickson. So back to my own positive interventions that I’m practicing this week, trying to experience more pride. So that came from a realization that I have a very difficult time accepting my accomplishments. And there are a number of reasons why that could be. This is something that I’m actually focusing my master’s degree on, how do we define success? How do we feel success? How do we set up a process that is based in well being? How do we strive in a healthy way? That should be no surprise to you, if you listen to this podcast, or if you’ve read any of my work, and my understanding of how to do this is already so much farther ahead of where it was whenever I started this program. So I started asking myself, if I’m not feeling the sense of accomplishment, what is the problem here? And I realized that I didn’t know what success was supposed to feel like. And I remember when I was doing my health coaching program at Vanderbilt University, I actually asked that question to my cohort, I said, What is success supposed to feel like? Because we’re told things that we’re supposed to do to celebrate our success, you’re supposed to go out to dinner or tell somebody about it and telling somebody about it actually does help me celebrate and feel my successes. And then I realized that I feel the most pride whenever I have helped somebody else. So if I’m just standing on a podium, and I’ve want to race, yes, I’m experiencing pride. But it’s not the same as if I’ve helped somebody else. So if I get an email, for example, from one of you listening to this podcast, saying that this has made a difference in your life in some way, I experience a sense of pride and that helps me feel that sense of accomplishment that I’m looking for. So in order to experience more of the positive emotion, pride associated with accomplishment so that I can let past accomplishments and future accomplishments land in a better way, I’ve created some things that I’m doing. So I’ll share those with you. So these are not scientifically validated positive interventions for pride. But I just brainstorm these because this is actually one of my assignments this week. So number one write down when I felt a sense of pride in the last five years. And that requires savoring I sat down and I wrote some of that down, read messages from other people whenever they say that my work has helped them. So I keep a screenshot library of whenever people have sent me messages, because sometimes it can feel like you’re working so hard, and it’s not making a difference. Number three, past mental time travel. So if you’ve listened to my podcast episode with Ethan cross that I recorded a few years ago, and his book chatter, which is all about self talk, and he’s out of the University of Michigan, one of the things with self talk is future time travel, imagining what the future version of yourself would think about this. And that might make the thing that you’re doing not seem quite as stressful. But on the reverse end of this thing, doing past mental time travel can be very effective at feeling more pride. So what would Sonya from 10 years ago, think if you told her that she would have done all the things that I’ve done so far, most of us can’t really imagine some of the things that we’ve accomplished, and we move on so quickly, without saving them or without realizing how far we’ve come. And just as I’m saying this, I also recorded a podcast episode about the importance of celebrating small wins, which is a really big part of health and wellness, coaching, and all coaching. So celebrating your small wins, helps you see the data points, the dots along the way, on your roadmap to who you’ve become. So trying to mentally or just, you know, conceptually go back to the beginning of that roadmap whenever you started on this journey. And look at all the data points you’ve put, look at the path that you have carved that can help you feel and it helps me feel more pride. Celebrating wins of the week is a way to feel small wins in your process, as I mentioned, and sharing a story, sharing the story with somebody else about something that you are proud of. And I think that in our culture, we are taught to not celebrate our accomplishments, we are taught to be excessively humble. This is something that we’ve talked about in one of my classes as well is, is the giving and receiving of gratitude. Like it’s a dance. So if somebody tells you thank you for something, something that you did, or or maybe they’re giving you a compliment for something that you have achieved, what do we do? We shrug it off, we say someone says, oh, that’s a nice shirt. Well, I got this at the thrift store. And, oh, this whole thing. I’ve had it for years, and it’s wrinkled, and it kind of has a stain on it. And I didn’t really dress up today or Wow, Sonya, I really enjoyed your podcast episode. Well, it was more off the cuff and I could have done it better. So this is what we do. Whenever people give us gratitude, we are not open to receiving that gratitude. And that doesn’t feel good for the person who is saying thank you or giving you a compliment. So something else that I am applying that I’m working on is learning how to receive gratitude. And someone in my class, her name is Allah and she’s from the Ukraine, she said something that was very profound. She said it changed her life. She said, she’s always been a giver, she always she, she writes stuff, she coaches use courses, she tries so hard to make the world a better place. And then she realized that she was not open to ever receiving any gratitude or anything from anybody. And whenever you are block receiving, you’re also blocking, unlocking your potential. So I’m trying to be more open to receiving instead of shrugging things off, and I encourage you in your life to think about how you’ve been doing that. Another thing along the lines of gratitude is how we give gratitude to another person, how we think another person for something. And this is something that I am working on as well, because I don’t we’ve never been taught any of this stuff. So that’s why I’m telling you because I’m hoping that it helps you enhance your relationships, which are a really important part of our lives. So whenever you say thank you to somebody, if you say, Thank you, I felt really good whenever you did such and such thing for me and you keep making it self referential talking about yourself and how that thing impacted you. There is a time and a place for that. But whenever you are thinking somebody for something, make it about them. Talk about the actions that they did and the strength that they have in order to do this nice thing for you. So if you’d like to hear more about that or learn more about relationships, I highly recommend he’s one of my professors, James Polsky. He wrote a book with his wife Susie, and it is called Happy Together. I read it over the summer and it’s wonderful to positive psychology take our positive psychologies take on improving marital relationships and the giving and receiving of gratitude is in that book. I guess I should be a bit more specific about the other focus grounded Shoot, if it’s the first time that you have ever heard that. So again, it’s about saying what they did. So you can say, I really appreciate how thoughtful you are, you always remember people’s birthdays, you do nice things for other people. And that doesn’t go unnoticed. Another example is saying somebody baked you cookies. And instead of saying, Thank you, I love cookies. In fact, chocolate chip are my favorite. And I’m gonna eat these on my bike, right? Like, there’s nothing wrong with that type of compliment. But think about how much more powerful this feels. Wow, you spent the time to make chocolate chip cookies. And you’re always so thoughtful to help people feel special. So those land differently, there’s
nothing wrong with expressing gratitude. That is self focus, but it’s more powerful. If it’s other focused. There’s also being specific in that gratitude. So you can hear me saying specifically what the person did instead of Oh, thanks, this is this is good. You can say, wow, you know, you, you put the best type of chocolate in there, and you looked up a recipe that was vegan. Okay, maybe that was a very specific example. Another thing that we have been talking about a lot is habit formation, which I am not going to go into on this podcast, because I’ve talked about it a great deal. Check out the ultimate guide to goal setting as a solo podcast episode, I think that I’ve created a pretty cool resource there that hopefully can help you if you are interested in goals. But something that is really helpful is a book that we had a read in the very beginning called The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. It’s about how we approach decision making. And he did a lecture for us as well. And that was super cool. And basically, it’s about deciding when things are good enough and not trying to maximize everything single thing. So a funny example, would be you’re trying to buy a suitcase, and you have gone on all of these different websites, you’ve made a spreadsheet of every single suitcase out there that you’re interested in, and you have the weight of each suitcase, what material it’s made out of the size of it, maybe an average review, and you analyze all of these different suitcases trying to find the best one. That’s not me or anything. It’s definitely me, I’ve done that. So you so you’re trying to make a decision, you are looking at every best scenario. Another example would be you’re booking a flight, you’re booking a hotel, and you’re spending so much time trying to find the best option. And the problem is that even if you pick the best option, you’re still not going to feel satisfied or good without that option, because you’re still going to be thinking about other things, the opportunity costs of things that you had to give up. Giving yourself too many choices does not contribute to well being. So how can we decide what’s good enough? And how can we decide what is best and that can be really complex in order to do that. So basically, maximizers are going for the best possible option, they’re going for perfect, they have very high standards, whereas Satisficers, which is Barry Schwartz says term land on good enough based on a limited set of parameters. And this can also happen with social comparison regarding social comparison. maximizers have high expectations, and they rank themselves against the best achievers. So if you’re thinking about back to what I initially said, your accomplishment celebrating your accomplishments or accepting a compliment from somebody about something that you’ve done, if you are a Maximizer, you’re comparing yourself to the very best of something to quote perfect, and then you feel unsatisfied with that accomplishment, you don’t feel that sense of pride because it is not good enough. The upward social comparison detracts from your accomplishment, because you’re ranking yourself against the very, very best. Comparison is the thief of joy, as you may have heard, and an example with tests or papers is that maybe you get your grade back and you are stoked that you got like a 92%. But then you look over and ask your friend what they got and find out that their score was a 97%. And now you don’t feel so good about your score, because you’ve compared to somebody else. So what to do about this satisficing and maximizing conundrum? Well, I wrote a paper about this. And I’m excited that eventually I’m going to turn all of these papers into more whenever I’m done with this very intense and amazing master’s program. But one of the things that I suggested was actually setting SMART goals. So Specific, Measurable, action oriented, realistic and time bound. That is that’s part of goal setting, as a maximizing intervention, so that you don’t try to pursue best and you have a set of constraints that you have created in your process. So that after you have done the thing that you’re going to do, you can go back and say, Is this a success or not? Because I followed my process I set out and to do something and I did all of the things that I said I was going to do and it doesn’t matter as much what that outcome is. So an example is satisficing your race so If instead of saying, Oh, I didn’t win the race, I guess it wasn’t very good. I could say, What am I proud of from that process? What was my training? Like? What were the goals that I set during the race that had nothing to do with the result. And that’s whether you can satisfies because then you’re not so fixated on how well you did, how perfect you are, what that result is in comparison to someone else is back to going back going to the things that you can control and the things that you set out to do. And epiphany I had along the lines of the satisficing. And maximizing paradox was that you could still choose the best option and feel regret, you can still win a race and feel regret. So we think that by pursuing the best we are going to avoid feelings of regret. And that’s not the case, because there’s an opportunity costs of decision making. And that can help you more readily accept good enough and stop pursuing the best as often as you were. And it’s hard because competitive people would probably fall into this maximizing construct, because they’re always trying to get the best out of themselves. And often use comparison as a motivator and a measure, you might be comparing to a previous version of yourself, which is also very challenging or comparing to somebody else. So here is an example when it comes to performance. So if you’re trying to maximize your performance, you might be working very hard, very deliberately at the thing that you’re trying to achieve. But that also comes with its own trade offs. So if you are spending all of your time, focus on training, or your work projects, or whatever the things may be, you’re trading things that actually improve your well being. And oftentimes, the things that go whenever we get busy are the things that we most need to support ourselves. So we’ll trade our sleep, we’ll trade our relationships, we’ll trade, exercise and taking time over body will trade downtime, so that we can be the best. So thinking about the things that you are trading in order to be the best might not actually be worth it. And that can help make decisions as to when you need to be hyper focused and push everything aside to be achieving the goal. And the times where maybe you don’t necessarily need to do that. Something that I propose as an experiment to help with this is meditation. So types of meditation for maximizers, because my hypothesis is that one of the reasons that people are maximizing they’re trying to be the best or trying to be perfect is because they are rejecting themselves, they do not practice self acceptance, because they have to be the best at something. Otherwise, you’re not lovable, or they don’t accept themselves. Most of us that are hard on ourselves is because we’re not accepting that we’re good enough. So I had proposed some different types of loving kindness meditations and self compassion, meditations to increase self acceptance. And I think that that would actually be really helpful as a big picture way to stop trying to be perfect and maximize every little thing. So if you’re interested in some of those things, I mentioned, a lot of the things that I just said in the last couple of minutes were things that I took away and apply it on my own to this maximizing a satisficing construct. But the book is called The Paradox of Choice if you’re interested in how we make decisions, how we manage your expectations around decisions, and why we might decide not to try to be the best and pursue the best choice every single time, I’m going to pull the brake and turn, make a hard left hand turn here to talk about something that is not really related to things that we have learned. But it is relevant to things that I have experienced, and it’ll be relevant to you as well. And this is fresh. This is something that I thought about today. I tried to record an Instagram real about it. But I don’t think that Instagram reels are allowed to be as long as that video was that I did, I think it was like three minutes. And I was trying to be succinct. So even the practice of doing that video, even though I don’t even know if I can post it will help me be more succinct here whenever I tell you about it. So I’ll share something with you. I get intimidated sometimes. I think that many of you can relate. But it’s funny because whenever you look at somebody from the outside, it might seem funny that somebody might get intimidated. So I’ll tell you a story. So over the weekend, I was in in Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania, and they had a summit and the summit was for grad students like us in the program, and for alumni and they have it every year to bring the community together. And I am so impressed with this community with the connectivity with the belonging. It’s it’s it’s something that I could take a very long time to talk about. So what they do at Summit is it’s basically two days of a conference and then we have class on another day, but everybody gets to go to the summit part where we have all these incredible speakers. So some of the speakers if you are a positive psychology nerd or a psychology nerd in general are was Sonia Lee But Mirsky, she’s written the book the howl of happiness, which is a fantastic book. I’ve read it a couple of times actually. So getting to hear about how to practice more happiness and gratitude and more in your life. And how would you be other oriented instead of self oriented? That
was fascinating. We got to hear from Shige OIST, Oishi. And he talks a lot about psychological richness, which is a different frame to talk about well being, which I can talk about in another podcast. But he talked about money and happiness. And we had Roy Baumeister, who is He’s incredible. He’s been cited over 250,000 times in scientific literature. He’s written 43 books. He is one of the main guys in this field. And then of course, we have our own professors. We have Marty Seligman. We have Leona branwen, we have James Kowalski, and many more. So there’s incredible people here. So imagine raising your hand to ask a question to one of these, the one of these foremost leaders in the field in front of a group of your peers and people who are accomplishing amazing things in the world who are alumni of this program. That’s pretty intimidating, right? It’s even intimidating in our own class to raise her hand and ask a question. And I noticed that after the summit, I went to one of my professors to ask a question, and I had been avoiding asking one on one questions to this individual because I was intimidated. And I thought, Well, my question is, is a silly question. And it’s too selfish. And this is child’s play for this person, I should just go online and try to google it myself and figure it out on my own. But nonetheless, I overcame that I went, I made myself go down there, because I felt that way. And I asked a question, and I didn’t ask the question very succinctly, I was all over the place, I lost my train of thought, because I was so nervous. And then I felt unsatisfied with that interaction, because I didn’t feel like I showed up as myself. So then I got to thinking more broadly about this interaction. And I started thinking about my classmates, I am somebody who leans into discomfort, like I went and got a picture with some of those researchers, even though I felt like a total dork, and I was embarrassed. But I did it. Anyway, I raised my hand in class, and I asked questions, despite feeling uncomfortable, because I’ve learned that leading into discomfort is important. And I’ve also learned that asking questions in a group is a way to not only, like, learn more about your own interests, but it can contribute to the learning of a group to hear from different people. So I started thinking about wow, if I if I feel this way, and I’m somebody that tends to lean into these, how are other people in my class feeling? Maybe they are too intimidated to ask any question of any kind. And that doesn’t help the collective learning experience of our group that doesn’t help the person and it doesn’t help the teachers. And I’ll let you know that the teachers, the professors, the researchers, they are incredible leaders, they’re humble. They truly are fully engaged. Whenever you ask a question. They’re curious, they’re excited to hear from you. So this is no reflection on them. It’s a reflection on on just being a human being who is intimidated and might have a bit of impostor syndrome. But then I started thinking more broadly, like, how can we address this problem? Because this happens in organizations. My husband, who is a CEO of his business, which is quite large, told me that he discovered that some of his employees feel too shy or embarrassed or intimidated to come ask him questions. And they’ll ask somebody else question. And they’ll have to go ask my husband, Matt, the question, and he just couldn’t understand. He’s somebody that wants to hear from people. And then I started thinking about myself, actually, I started like putting myself on the other side of it and thinking about people that come up to me at races that want to take a picture that feel so embarrassed, and then they run away before I can even talk to them. And I want to talk to them, or people who want to ask me a question about something about my work stuff I’ve done on the podcast that I’ve written about, or even just some of my racing experience so that I can further help them on their journey and they feel embarrassed, or they don’t want to ask the question. And I thought about all the other people who might not be asking me questions for similar reasons. And I felt so sad because I want to be somebody who is approachable. I’m genuinely excited and interested in answering questions. So that helped me reframe things and saying, Wow, like, these people in my class, who are these amazing professors and leaders in the field, who I’m afraid to ask who I’m intimidated to go talk to who I take a picture with and run away. That’s the opposite side of how, how it how it is people come up to me and, and it just helped me get better perspective on the whole thing. And then I started thinking about, Okay, this impacts academia, this impacts organizations and businesses. And then I thought, This impacts even more than that, like loneliness is a huge problem in our culture, and it’s really sad. There’s so many lonely people out there because connection is missing. And then I started thinking about, you know, older people, they don’t want to call their children or their grandkids. Children, because they don’t want to bother somebody, they don’t want to accept help, because they don’t want to bother you. And that creates loneliness. Because you’re missing connection whenever you don’t ask the question when you don’t reach out for help when you don’t connect with somebody, because you’re so worried about being a burden. So those are some thoughts that I had today. Those are pretty big thoughts. But it’s a problem to hold your questions, not ask for help to think that you’re a burden to somebody else, for whatever the reason, intimidation, introversion criticism. So I don’t have solutions right now. But this is something that I am actively working on, on the side, because I think that this would help a lot of us. And maybe people I’m sure people have already tried tackling this. So the first idea that I have, that I just mentioned is try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Think about a time when somebody asks you for help. When somebody asks you a question, when somebody wanted to take a picture with you, how did you feel? Did you feel bothered by them that they were a burden? And the answer is probably no. So whenever we’re on the other side of things, try to lean into that a little bit. So if you feel a little bit uncomfortable, realize that those people are human beings too. And that doesn’t take away some of the feelings that you might have. But it might lessen them a little bit so that you actually show up and ask the question. And the more that you do it, the easier it gets. And as I go through this process of thinking about this more broadly, I’ll let you know some of the things that I come up with. There’s a ton of other stuff that I’ve learned. But I think that that’s a lot that I’ve dropped on you. And one thing that I will talk about another time, and a book called recommend is called generations by Jean Twinkie. And basically so she is the foremost generational researcher. So she has written this book generations that came out this year. And it goes through all of the different generations from the silence, which is I’m 40 my grandparents age, I don’t remember the exact years of that. So there’s silence, there’s boomers, there’s Gen X, there is millennials, there’s Gen Z, and then there’s polars. And then I think the next one I can’t quite remember, but maybe sub polars or post polars or something like that. So if you’re curious about why your parents do the things that they do, or why your kids might be different than you, I highly recommend this book. And it actually looks at as technology as a mediator for what impacts how we how that generation feels and how that generation behaves. So she talks about how some of the older generations had a fast childhood childhood because they had more freedom to just explore and how now people are having less children. They’re paying way more attention to their children. And now technology has also made this far more complicated. So without going into further details, I think you should read this book. It’s really helped me and I got to write a paper on it. So yeah, I won’t go into that paper right now.
So let me try to recap everything that I just talked about. I literally had no structure, I just turned on the microphone and started talking to see what would happen. So first, I talked about positive interventions, which is a behavior and action, a thought, an emotion, something that you can do that is intentional to increase your well being and there are many, many, many different types of positive interventions. And I talked about pride, how do you feel more pride because I think a lot of us do not celebrate our accomplishments. We don’t know how to feel success. We don’t know how to feel successful, and we just keep reaching for the next thing. So maybe pride is is one of the unlocks to help us. And I gave some examples of how to feel more pride. I’m kind of struggling honestly, like I still am uncomfortable feeling pride. So being able to be receptive to feeling pride can be very important. I talked about gratitude, how to give gratitude, how to receive gratitude, how it’s important for it to be other oriented, and gave examples I recommended the book Happy Together by James Polsky and his wife Susie, I talked about the broaden and build theory and the upward spiral and the three to one positivity ratio. So that was a little bit of a scientific insight as to why we should try to experience more positive emotions and what that can do for us. Then I talked about Barry Schwartz’s book The Paradox of Choice, which is about maximizing and satisficing. So how we make decisions, are we trying to make the best decision Should we settle for good enough and that and that even sounds negative saying the word settle. So how do we decide on what is good enough so that we can increase our well being because always trying to pursue the best actually is not the best option? Something that I gave as some examples of things to do is defining your process oriented goal and defining your success based on that process? I suggested using the smart format to set those goals. And I talked about self acceptance as an underlying issue a potential underlying issue as to why people are maximizing and not able to accept or have to always have the best. Then I took a hard left turn and started just telling you about something that’s been on my mind. In the last 24 hours, I talked about the importance of connection of how we think that we are a burden, or we don’t want to ask for help or that our question is stupid, or we’re wasting somebody else’s time. I give you an example of that in my own life. And then I applied it more broadly to how this could be a bad thing in organizations and in families, and how it contributes to greater loneliness, and how we can start thinking about asking the question leaning into that person being vulnerable, asking for help connecting, so that we aren’t as lonely and so that we can support more collective well being and innovation. I kind of feel like, if you’ve seen the movie, old school, where Will Ferrell is on the debate team. And he all of a sudden just starts talking, and then he blacks out and he wakes up, he’s like, I don’t know what just happened. I kind of feel like maybe that just happened a little bit. But hopefully not Hopefully, everything was made sense to you. I really hope that this was helpful for you to hear some of the things that I’m learning and how they can be applied in real life, because that is why I am doing this. I’m very excited about other things that I’ve learned that I haven’t gotten to tell you about and some broader applications of positive psychology in our performance space, in education and relationships and beyond. If you’re enjoying this podcast, don’t forget to give us two thumbs up by giving us a five star rating on Apple podcasts, share the show with somebody if you think that it might be helpful for them. In fact, you can use it as a way to add connection, you can ask each other questions to deepen your relationship, you can leave us a review that will help the show find others and you can sign up for my newsletter at Sonya looney.com/newsletter. I used to send out a weekly newsletter for several years. I’m not sending out a weekly newsletter at the moment, because I am in way over my head with all of the things that I’m doing right now. And I can talk about that at a later date. I’m not super stressed, but it’s a lot of different things to doing this master’s program, which is about a 30 hour a week commitment, and the podcast and I’m currently not taking any coaching clients. So I’ve reduced that until I’m done with my masters and I’m going to come out and even more powerful coach, I’m very excited to relaunch my coaching business, then kids training, which training has is something that I am definitely satisficing right now. But yeah, I look forward to sharing that process with you. Because people always ask me like, how do you do it all? You’re doing so many things, and I’ve talked about that before, and it isn’t as perfect as you might think it is and it just doing you just start doing it and things happen. And you look back and you say how did I do all those things. So people that’s a way to experience more pride. Thanks for tuning in for this solo podcast episode. I really appreciate it. If you liked this one, you can go to Sonya looney.com/podcasts Click solo episodes, everything is also written out. So all of the episodes with guests have a transcript. These episodes also have a transcript. So if you only want to look at part of it, or you want to revisit something that you heard that you found enlightening or helpful, you can do so I actually refer back to my solo episodes because they helped me and that’s one of the reasons that I do these is research is research. So thank you, thank you for being here. Thank you for being interested in this topic, these topics. I so appreciate whenever I hear from you on social media, wherever you send me messages, that helps me celebrate my success. So thank you for being an active part of that. And as I mentioned, please ask me questions. If you have them. Please reach out to me. Don’t be afraid. I want to hear from you. And I will continue doing the same when I’m on the other end wanting to ask somebody else a question. So thank you for tuning in. Thank you to my community. My math Nate team crowd who I found out listens to some of these podcasts. So shout out to you all you are incredible. You’re helping me so much grow in my life. Thank you to my professors who are also helping me grow in my life. And thank you to you listeners who give me an outlet in order to help change the world and help everybody be better every day. So, as always, I’m with you on this journey of personal growth, adventure and our mission to be better every day. See you next week.