The Art of Struggling Well.
For several years chronic anxiety took over my life. I’m not talking about feeling anxious here and there. Anxiety had taken over my mind to the point where I could barely leave the house. I experienced a constant feeling of despair, fear, and nervousness that I just could not shake off. My parents and others kept pushing me to go to the doctor to get medication. I don’t have anything against medication as I know that for some it’s helpful. But, it was not the path that I wanted to pursue. I suffered until I discovered meditation which helped slow down my thoughts long enough to take them “to court” and question their validity.
The late Dr. Christopher Peterson, says that positive psychology is about helping people move “North of Neutral.” The Flourishing Center more simply says that “Positive psychology is about building what’s right with you, not just fixing what’s wrong.” For example, a challenge that is framed as, “How can I improve this terrible relationship?”, can be flipped into, “What can I appreciate about this relationship?” When we ask better questions, we create an opportunity to create a higher level experience.
Working with positivity tools helped me untangle the root causes of the anxiety that kept me stuck for a long time.
Marty Seligman, one of the founding fathers of positive psychology and author of Learned Optimism explains that our brains primary purpose is survival. I relate to that as I spent most of my life in survival mode, and was actually proud of it! Positivity helps us see what else is possible for us beyond survival. It also teaches us to learn to control what we can control.
Struggling well is my favorite way of describing positivity. It sends the message that everyday living will most certainly present challenges AND amazing experiences as well. It’s the ebb and flow of life. With positivity tools, we can learn how to struggle well through life’s challenges instead of being taken out by them. Struggling well is a practice that requires the creation of new habits. Learning how to struggle well has empowered me to shift from fear and lack and into curiosity for the unknown.
This or more is possible for you too!
Are you attracted to the idea of struggling well? “The Collective” free lecture series launches this month! We’ll be exploring the topic of struggling well in depth. Learn more here.