Positive psychology for healthcare professionals podcast

Positive psychology is a rapidly growing field of psychology that focuses on what makes people thrive. Instead of addressing weaknesses and problems, it directs attention to people’s strengths and virtues.

In this podcast, we explore the meaning of positive psychology and its practical applications in healthcare settings. During discussions we draw on insights from the newly published book, Positive Psychology for Healthcare Professionals: A Toolkit for Improving Wellbeing, authored by Dr Jan Macfarlane and Professor Jerome Carson. The book, which is part of Emerald’s Positive Psychology in Practice Series, presents applied positive psychology specifically for health and care staff, showcasing 11 different interventions that have proven effective in improving wellbeing.

Speaker profile

Dr Jan Macfarlane: Lecturer in Health & Social Care, University of Bolton

In this episode:

  • What is positive psychology?
  • How can positive psychology interventions improve wellbeing?
  • Why is ‘character strengths’ Dr Macfarlane’s favourite intervention?
  • How can interventions help with loneliness, anger and fear?
  • Is positive psychology too focused on self at the expense of community wellbeing?
  • What is flow and why is it important?

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Positive psychology for healthcare professionals

Rebecca Torr (RT): Positive Psychology is the study of what makes people happy, fulfilled and mentally well. Instead of focusing solely on problems and mental illnesses. Positive Psychology explores the strength, virtue and positive aspects of human behavior and emotion. It seeks to understand how people can live more meaningful lives, develop their strengths, and cultivate positive emotions like joy, gratitude, and resilience. So, what does positive psychology look like in practice? And how can this approach benefit healthcare professionals and their patients? To discuss these issues? I'm joined by Dr. Jan McFarlane, Lecturer in health and social care at the University of Bolton. During our discussions, Jan touches on insights from her newly published book, Positive Psychology for Healthcare Professionals, A Toolkit for Improving Wellbeing, which presents 11 different interventions that have proven effective in improving well-being. Listen in as we touch on positive psychology practices, such as gratitude, journaling, mindfulness, and self-compassion activities.

Jan Macfarlane (JM): My name is Jan McFarlane, and I work as a lecturer at the University of Bolton. And I specialise in the area of health and social care, which is quite a broad ranging topic. And I come from a nursing background, general nursing, mental health nursing, although I have been in education for many years. My particular research interest is positive psychology, and the well-being of staff both in health care and educational backgrounds.

RT: So, sort of as a starting point, could you break down what Positive Psychology is all about? And sort of what makes it different to other branches of psychology?

JM: Okay, that's a great question. So Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what constitutes well-being, and how people can flourish by using their strengths. And it has, if you like, expanded into a range of positive psychology interventions, that if people decide to use them, try them, there is evidence that shows that does increase well-being, and it differs from branches of psychology, so very, very much psychology, got to remember psychology has been going probably over the last 100 years, and famous psychologists like Freud, and Skinner, and Maslow, and this is, if you will align to it in this much that there are similar kind of areas, but positive psychology looks at people's needs and problems and tries to fix them. Positive Psychology looks at people's strengths and talents and what we can do to make it better. With Positive Psychology, you don't need to be ill. You can be, in fact, is better in a sense, if you're well, and we can build upon that. And it's 20 years old, effectively. So it's still got quite another 100 years to catch up on. So it'd be interesting to see in 100 years time, who's doing the podcasts then or whatever pulling that place to see how it's developed. We have a very strong medical model in positive psychology. And you're probably familiar with certain ones such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and various areas of counseling, with positive psychology, what we're looking at here as well as and developing techniques to promote it to actually promote thriving. So, in the last 20-23 years now, it will be there has been a whole lot of development. And it's very exciting to see what's happening in the future, because it's carrying on building and obviously very excited about the topic. And if you get me started or current stocks or unconscious question. 

RT: It's very interesting. And it's something quite different. It's not something that I've really come across, although some of the concepts which we'll go into in a little bit, you know, we all know about, but it's kind of under the umbrella of Positive Psychology. I didn't realise it sort of fell into that really.

JM: Years ago is that psychology started off, people did look at wellness, you know, that I thought that that was the case. But after World War One and World War Two, what happened was, is that the grants for developing research interests are often provided by the big pharmacological companies. So their interest is finding what medicines work and what medicines don't, which landed down the path of working with people who were ill, if you will, to use that term. So Positive Psychology. Yes, it is kind of new bras been going for 1000s and 1000s of years under different guises. So the interest has been sparked 20 years ago. What I want to say is it's not about being happy, and I think sometimes journals and newspapers sort of focus on this, we've got to be happy all the time. And that isn't the case. In terms of wellness. Often, people would see that more from an Eastern philosophy and that wants up contentment and peace of mind. And we need to also recognise that to have negative feelings is part of the human condition, how do we know what happy is unless we know what unhappiness to have anger and agitation is part of our life. But also, we need to be joyous in the positive qualities that we have as well. So for me, positive psychology is very much about getting balance.

RT: So when we bring this approach into the real world, could you describe some of the practical applications of positive psychology, particularly in healthcare settings, which your book focuses on, and perhaps you can draw on some of the positive psychology activity, as you mentioned, in your publication?

JM: Absolutely. Practical applications? Well, what I like about them is that they're free, or they should be, and that they are user-friendly. I think there is a great variety; there's probably over 100 Positive Psychology interventions. But what I have chosen to do in my book is to centralise on the ones that have more validity and reliability and have the most research done around that topic. They're also very time-effective. Research has suggested that doing a Positive Psychology intervention regularly can make a difference of up to a week in one's lifespan. Clearly, the more that you do it, the greater the effect. But this is what I thought when I started my research; it sounds almost too good to be true. The thing about it is, it's behavior change. Like we all do, we think of a good idea and it's great for the first few weeks, and then afterwards, we can let it taper off. How many gym memberships have I taken out, only to find several weeks later that I've paid for the chance of not going to the gym at all? So I think that with Positive Psychology interventions, it's the motivation and application that are key to their overall effectiveness. But when starting off, it's important to consider what can go wrong, if you like. Let's give it a go and say, I think the Positive Psychology interventions, there are many, but I would start with the ones that feel most natural, the ones that feel like the nicest fit, the ones that are more aligned, and then you've already built in success from the very beginning.

RT: Which ones would you sort of if you were going to highlight some of those interventions, and which ones you think would be sort of most sort of applicable to for people that would be sort of I don't know which ones are more more popular than others. 

JM: I would say that mindfulness is probably the most popular, looking at the headlines and the journals. That seems to be the one that has harnessed people's interest. Now, for myself, I didn't start off with mindfulness. I started off with Positive Psychology and positivity, if you like, from an overview. And I think that one of my favorite interventions is looking at character strengths. And this is a body of knowledge that has been developed over the years. And it's about self-awareness. Character strengths are underlined by the renowned psychologist Ryan Mnemic. Out of the research, 24 character strengths have been identified. So I'm not going to say they're all strengths. And one of the great interventions I've found works really well as an individual and with classes is that people could go online, and it's free. And you can answer some questions. And at the end of it, the computer will identify from your answers, which of your character strengths are most prominent, so it ranks it from 1 to 24. But research shows that developing the top five or the ones that are more harmonious to you. And clearly doing it at the time, you won't get a lot of questions. And if I did it in two weeks' time, you might say, 'Well, you got to put different questions in.' But research has shown all the time, that we have signature strengths, that they are the ones that are true to us. So for instance, I have done this over the last five years and my character strengths of love. I've always been there. Perseverance has always been there. And the love of learning has always been there. But there have been others that have kind of come in and out dependent on my life experiences. I find that's a really good starting off point for people to make it personalised. Mindfulness, as you mentioned, is the most popular if you like. Mindfulness is the one that's been identified by NICE, which is the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, as being one that is beneficial for patients and staff. So obviously, I wanted to get healthcare professionals to do that. And mindfulness really tries to bust the myth, it's not about sitting on a cushion and aiming for an hour. Mindfulness is doing an activity that, if you like, helps you concentrate on your breath, become aware of your surroundings. And it may not always be breathing exercises, but it's being in the here and now. One of the other interventions that I feel very strongly about is the intervention of developing self-compassion. And the researcher that is honed in on self-compassion is Kristin Neff. And she says about self-compassion that it's important to treat ourselves as we would a good friend. I think in health care, we are very, very quick to criticise ourselves or to criticise others and almost see self-compassion as indulgent, that we shouldn't feel that we are worthy, in a female-dominated workforce undoubtedly. And we've been taught to care for others in healthcare responses. We've come through COVID, often working 12-hour shifts with very low resources. Is that time of looking after ourselves, often, we often feel we need permission to do it. And if we do it, we're kind of being indulgent. So self-compassion activities are very important to realise the worth of oneself. Not self-esteem, because that's an element of competition, but to realise how valuable you are. And I believe if we don't look after ourselves, that I think the care that we give to others will be missing in some way. So, I think to care for ourselves means we can give better care, the research would strongly, strongly suggest that. Another activity would be the Positive Psychology intervention of developing kindness and compassion, which is just such a natural link with healthcare, isn't it? We do it on a daily basis. But research has shown that to develop kindness and compassion has that 'Pay It Forward' effect and that's somewhat obvious to me. I am much more likely to pass that on to others. And some people are naturally kind. Some people, maybe less so. And if we look at character strengths, one of the strengths there is kindness. And when I did some research with healthcare professionals, carrying this was in the top five, with over 300 participants. And that's what we want in healthcare, for sure, isn't it? That was very good. And one that's again, very, very popular. And this is the intervention that should have the quickest effect is gratitude and the demonstration of gratitude. And people often find that it's a useful intervention, by journaling, literally writing down the actions of what one is grateful for, and to appreciate what we have, not always what we want. And sometimes you can think, 'Well, if I took one of those away, how less my life would be.' So rather than thinking about what I want, it's about that ability to say what I have, what I've got. And it can be very simple, very, very simple. It can be something that's maybe an aspiration, it could be like today, we just said, 'What lovely autumn weather, are we lucky to experience that,' but to take time to actually note that. And in our rush of our daily life, it can so easily be forgotten. Those are ones that I would say, are the ones that are definitely scientifically backed as evidence, showing that that makes a positive effect on people, and you can do them. Now, you can set time aside, five minutes max, you know, ten minutes, if you fill in a questionnaire. These are not things that are taking an hour or two hours, things that can be done within our day, if we choose to use our agency and do something about it.

RT: What I love about your book is is the fact that you can apply it and it could also it doesn't have to be healthcare professionals, you could apply it whoever you are. And it's really powerful to think that you can, like you said, it doesn't cost you necessarily don't have to go to therapy, or you don't have to sit with a person that is trained in this necessarily, although that could be helpful, you could actually just do it yourself and get the benefits of it. And what I liked about your book is that it really gives you those prompts, and it gets you to think in different ways. And actually, you may not feel that it's necessarily applicable to you. But I think it's good working through those questions. So those activities, think were really useful, a useful way into sort of taking a step back and actually reflecting on your life, which is almost what a lot of the activities tend to do. It seems like that you sort of just stepped back and, you know, we don't really get moments to do that, you know, unless we actually decide to you know, and and I guess yeah, I suppose it I wonder how, how difficult it is for healthcare professionals to actually get that time because obviously they're really busy. But have you seen sort of how anyone that's applied there, sort of like how easy or what it would take for them to really apply some of those activities in their in their everyday life?

JM: So as part of the research, what I did do is design and develop a course for different groups of healthcare professionals to treat nursing associates was a group that worked quite closely as well as Foundation Health Care apprenticeships. And what we did was assess their well-being at the beginning of the course. And the call striving for one day a week over six weeks on we assess their well-being at the end of the course, and there was an increase statistically significant increase, not just a thing combat stream is actually measured by a computer with big sums. So that was gratifying from the scientific perspective because it could have come that there was no difference or even worse, it could have come with created a worse well-being which obviously is not what we wanted. So that was gratifying. An example that I can give you with a practical application is one of the ladies on the calls got in touch with me and said the character strengths and I took that back to work. She said in the staff nurse was really interested so my job was to them what we did as a team, everybody did via assessment online. And what staff nurse did was got the results and put on the ward of the office everybody's top five-character strengths. It's like a little reminder; that was a great idea was somewhat to demonstrate leadership and to role model and to say that was really interested in what you brought back. So, everybody that came in the office every day that was reminded there, this is what your strengths are. And I thought that was a really nice thing to put on the notice board to actually cope make the team cohesive, it's an opportunity to discuss it's an opportunity to say, well, I don't know where that was strength came from, who just saw that. So it gives an opportunity to sort of debate and reflect and the point you said about things being transferable, because it's so is, I feel like could take health care professionals out, add another night, but all the research I've done and all the references relates to health care, because that's my background, obviously. But it is so transferable. And I think that to be able to take something and be creative with that, I find that I'm learning from people, as well. So, I've had lots of emails, and that's really helpful. I've done it with staff members and I’ve done train the trainer with staff members. And that that's something that if I want to keep on going with so yeah, I think there has been positive feedback. Having said that, I'm not It's not work for everybody. You know, one of the people said, we'll come and do mass, the poster committee, this course, if you want, you know, because it's voluntary, I was making you do it. And I thought, well, don't you but you know, the majority people stayed with me. And again, for me, I was thinking, Well, why would you not want to do this course? And it was a great learning reflexive point for me, because actually, it isn't for everybody, just because I'm interested in it doesn't mean everybody is and that made me feel quite branded?

RT: Yeah, it's very interesting. And, and the fact that you have, obviously, your background is, you know, in the healthcare profession, but it does seem to be that well over the, you know, over the last few years, especially highlighted during COVID, that, you know, a lot of health care workers have faced really incredibly strong feelings around sort of loneliness and anxiety, fear and anger, and what would you have said to them, the people that are experiencing those sort of aspects of life, what would you pick out to help them overcome those particular feelings?

JM: Yeah, that's an interesting question, a massive one really, isn't it? Because we're all so different. So part of it would be being up to date in research, if you will, as part of our code. If that's not how I'd start a conversation off, but to be involved in what research is saying is something that's part of, as you mentioned, reflection, which is a massive part of our job. But I think to pick up knowledge in the first instance is important, and knowledge in Positive Psychology. It's kind of like knowing about the nerdy, with the scientific part, with where the magic happens. So one of my colleagues that did 'train the trainer', she thought the aspect of neuroplasticity was fantastic. And I'm gonna make sure I mention that in every lesson. So the fact that the brain actually changes with doing these interventions, or we're forming new neural pathways actually made it for her a reduction of adrenaline, or the increase of oxytocin and neurotransmitters, so that really lit her up. But if you're not interested in neuroscience, that's not going to be your particular sort of interest, is it? So that was one of the things. I think also from what you mentioned about with Ontario over the last few years, we got into a pattern of going, 'I'm fine.' Even if we're not, because actually to talk about why we're not fine would take too long. It makes us often too vulnerable. And we always say, 'You're right,' as opposed to 'How are you?' And that's something that we don't wait one encounter with. But actually, where is that safe? Where is that safe space? So positive psychology works on an individual basis, but it can work in groups as well. The other thing is to keep it safe. You know, people say, 'Well, you got a psychologist, you got to know about me and my brain?' No, we're not. Absolutely not. It's absolutely safe. You know, there's nothing more different to what that would be. I think, so you know, what our punishes are as individuals, show ideas of perfection, we've got to get it right. You know, we must do this, I should do that. Give them a name, you know, what toxic patterns? Are you sort of akin to? Are you toxic? But I've got to make sure this is right. I've got to have great days all the time? Or is it your toxicity about what people think of you? And also then we need to talk about our protectors. What can we do to look after ourselves, to be self-compassionate, to identify people at work who are supportive to us and not disadvantageous to us? And maybe that goes in life as well. I think what I would say to people in terms of benefits is to share the knowledge, share your feelings, have a healthy discussion. We have an, also this idea that it is down to us. And I'm mindful of that. And one of the researchers and many others, you know, yes, we have a responsibility to look after ourselves. But so does the organisation. And that's really important. And I know a lot of organisations are taking on this now and looking at well-being. The issue is a policy has to be put into action. It's not just around the well-being policy. It has to be put in and measured and people contribute to it. And I think that's where the sticking points is because you might have great ideas but doing it for real. Not always the case. Not always the case. But that sounds probably like another conversation to be had. But I have acknowledged that in the book for sure. And as nurses or healthcare professionals, again, as part of our codes of conduct, we need to be aware of what research is out there. But I was hoping that people might be feeling interested in perhaps doing their own research, perhaps contributing to this body. So rather than being the research person, have a go at doing it yourself. That's how I started off. So it might not be the most robust or controlled trial in the world, but to actually try it yourself. That's a really good learning for an early career researcher. And you know, I'm open for business if anybody wants to say, 'Well, how did it go for you?' Because it wasn't perfect. You know, it took a lot of hours, a lot of head scratching, a lot of, 'Oh, my goodness.' And so that's what's that about? That's how I started off. So I felt so, you know, I've walked in the boots of all this, and I'd be very happy if somebody walked into my boots as well, because I would also learn from them. But great, pick up the mantle, and go forward, mentioned earlier on about early psychologists. You know, we are of our time, who knows who the positive psychologists of the future are gonna be that are out there somewhere.

RT: That's very interesting. Yes, Lee. And it's and it's great that when that's what's wonderful about research, isn't it, that everyone builds on each other's research, and it takes you it, you know, forward hopefully takes you forward each time. So, coming back to sort of the positive psychology approaches, what would you say the sort of the strengths of them? And potentially, what are the drawbacks of positive psychology?

JM: So I think the strengths are that we are developing our research methodology much more strongly than in the past. I think that the studies are sort of standing on their own. And there's always going to be arguments and research about quantitative and qualitative. People will want the quantitative and the stats, and the statistically significant, absolutely, but there is a strong body of sample, it's people's experiences, that are other valuable parts of the information. And I've gravitated towards both camps, probably more qualitative than quantitative by nature. But you know, if you've got a randomised control trial that shows something, that's obviously what you want to go with. I think that one of the strengths of it is that as we're learning more, the findings are becoming much more nuanced, as our learning develops.

I think the strength of positive psychology is that there is such a variety of interventions that have been scientifically studied, giving us clear direction. I think one of the strengths is that you are not limited by gender, age, or social class. So I think demographically it opens up into a lot of areas, including disadvantaged areas as well. And I think one of the strengths goes back to my lovely friend, Agatha, and neuroplasticity. How cool is it that by doing this, it actually changes your brain? Who would have thought? So you know, that is absolutely fascinating, isn't it? That we can actually change. Just like when we exercise, we can change our muscle strength; by doing this, we can change our brain strength as well.

In terms of weaknesses, the criticisms leveled against it are that it's too individual, that it's not incorporating enough sociological concepts. So it's all about you, not about society. And again, one of my great friends is a sociologist. That's her concern with me. But positive psychology, one of its tenets, is that it is there for the good of society. And I think that the most recent research coming out actually includes sociological concepts, which is why I think, you know, there will be discussions out there saying that this assessment tool isn't very good, that questionnaire isn't very good. Well, that's a healthy research discussion, isn't it? So I think people could be skeptical, but not cynical. It's right to say that it could be stronger, because you're going, you know, you're absolutely right; next time it will be. So I think that although it's a weakness, I think it's a healthy weakness.

Also, I think one of its weaknesses is that the positive psychology pioneers, whom I have written about in some depth, are all from North America. So clearly, there's a westernised influence, and some people would argue that there's not enough Eastern philosophy brought in. But again, I feel that might be a development for the future. That's what I'd like to think. We are now much more aware of cultural identification. And by accepting different cultures, that makes us much more psychologically rich in society. So I think that might change this idea. I think I mentioned before about serious individual responsibility and not linking it to organisational responsibility; it is a corporate weakness. Well, let's hope that the balance might be a bit more equitable in the future.

In terms of weaknesses, again, and I've alluded to this a couple of times, you've got to use your personal agency to do it. No one's going to do it for me. And I think that's one of its weaknesses, but also one of its strengths, because when it turns on, it's actually making a difference. The drive is there

RT: You say it's right, because I think a lot of intervention, so a lot of therapists, it's always dependent upon that interaction that you have with the healthcare professional. And it's great, often it's great when that will lasts, but then you know, over time people do try to maybe carry it on. But then if you haven't got those skills yourself to take it through, then that's where it falls down, and probably doesn't work. But I guess we're something like this, because you can follow your book, you know, you can actually do these activities and build upon them and probably get feedback as well. So I mean, there is this idea that positive psychology is overly concerned with individual self-improvement and personal responsibility at the expense of community well-being and flourishing. And I know you mentioned that was one of the things that's come up before. I just wonder what your thoughts were on that.

JM: Yeah, that's a very valid point worth talking about, isn't it? Well, well, well-being can be well, doing. Positive Psychology is very individual. However, looking at the research, there are lots and lots of studies out there where it has been carried out with patients, client service users. It's used extensively in end of life, in orthopedics, and in psychiatry. So I would see that as a sense of community well-being and flourishing within the health and healthcare sector.

Looking at its philosophy, it really started off, you know, all those many years ago, quite with Aristotle and that, and this is about the well-being of people. And then we've got the ethics and the greater good on which healthcare is based. And the thing that helps us, and it might help us to bridge that gap between well-being and change at a future date. And I think you have to remember that kindness and compassion are important in healthcare, and actually, you know, is part of our Code of Conduct and standards.

So from a personal and professional aspect, or just, you know, I just feel very strongly, it's something we should be aware of, even if we're choosing not to use it. At least know about it to know to discount it, because it makes us, at least, it gives us the act of professionalism in our day-to-day. And the book, it's got quite a few chapters in there. So if you get to think your character strengths aren't for me, you can move on. You might go back to another section, take a risk, you might want to look at human. Yeah, look at you. So although the book is put in the order that I feel makes sense to me, that doesn't mean that you have to start at the beginning and work your way through. Go to the title that you feel naturally attracted to. And then if you feel like you want to take bigger risks, or try something that you think, well, I might not like it, you might be pleasantly surprised.

RT: I was just wondering, sort of lightly, when we do think about the individual. And it was obviously going to be mainly individuals that look at this, I would have thought. Although you said it could be done in a group setting, I just wonder how it can sort of unleash latent talents that we have in us and creative forms of self-care that we might not have really thought about. Unlocking those strengths that we've got in us and talents that we've got in us by following some of the activities. And I don't know if you've experienced that yourself, or if you're the only one that's actually found that this was through doing these activities and these interventions that they've actually discovered something about themselves that they didn't know was there before?

JM: Well, I suppose that's a lifelong journey, isn't it? So certainly with the character strengths, I felt when I did my self-assessment, obviously, in that sense of goodness, my top five, I was quite proud. And so I thought, 'Well, why isn't humor in that?' But when I looked at it, actually, most of the character strengths I realised that it is encompassed. The qualities that I had identified were actually part of it. And I think if somebody wants to look at strengths that aren't in their top five, then that's also recommended. The thing for me is to start with anyone, I'd go with the ones that are in my top five to work with because I believe in making life easy and doing it in achievable steps. But there's a lot of scope out there. I mentioned before about the punishers and the protectors. And I think it's really important that we get to know ourselves as best we can. For me, I know that I'm a ruminator and an over-thinker. So I need to recognise when that is happening and share my benchmark with others and say, 'I'm doing that again.' They will say, 'Yeah,' so it's not being frightened of the areas that perhaps we could develop because they are part of us. I think that accepting our imperfections and improving our self-worth will give us that dynamism. And if you like, the excitement about trying new things in terms of creativity. Because I think that means about taking a risk and maybe doing something not done before. And creativity often comes when we're walking the dog, having a walk in the park, or doing something we're not trying too hard. And that brings me to the topic of flow. Flow is a recognised state where you are engaged in an activity that is strong enough to give you challenge, but you do have the skills to work with it. It is that time when time might have just expired, losing yourself, Rebecca, when time has just flown. I'll leave that feeling, whether it's a hobby, an interest, an essay, painting, or something where the time has just gone. So in terms of creativity, I feel that being able to identify those kinds of activities are the ones where you feel enjoyment, you feel energised, and you feel that you have accomplished something. And you've probably done it in plans and goals and steps. And somebody said, 'Well done. That was really nice,' or 'I enjoyed working with you at that time,' no one can take back the experience. There'll be times when we were in flow, and the time has just gone. So I think in terms of creativity, it's identifying those opportunities. I've developed a model on achieving flow, and it is one of the chapters of the book. It's very much about finding that sweet spot. There are times when we might be working too hard or overthinking, becoming drained. And we need to recognse that to bring it forward. There are times when I've no doubt we've lain on the couch and not moved or not wanted to move and felt thoroughly demotivated, unable to recognise that and bring it to the center is being able to feel a call it realistic optimism because I think sometimes we do something new that we think is going to be great and it's wonderful. And that isn't right either. Or we can be a little bit like Eeyore or Winnie the Pooh and think it's not going to work. So flow is about finding that beautiful sense of balance. I liken it to a gymnast who has spent years and years perfecting their ability to balance on a ball or walk a tightrope, that precision and poise. And I think that positive psychology, it takes, not saying it takes years of practice, but I think it takes time to carve out who you are and to be able to find that sweet spot. But an awful lot less time than it does to become an Olympic gymnast.

RT: It's so, so interesting. And there's such a lot for the audience to think about, and myself, and yeah, really sort of see it's a better quality of life in some respects, isn't it? I guess, just yeah, we could have times that we can't always do those activities that make us feel, you know, the best or that we enjoy the most all the time. But, you know, where we can and where we've got the control to do that, then it's, yeah, I guess, you know, why not? You know, why not make the most out of those opportunities?

JM: Well, I was gonna say there's not enough time, or I was gonna say not at the time, but this is quick and easy. Have a go. So I'm gonna do today. Let's do it in a week's time. Let's see how it is in two weeks' time. Keeping it manageable, keeping goals that we can achieve. That's the key to it.

RT: I hope you enjoyed our episode on Positive Psychology. You can find more information about my guest and a transcript of the episode on our website. A huge thanks to my guests and to you for listening. My gratitude also goes to Podcast Producer Daniel Ridge and the studio This is Distorted for making this episode possible.


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