THE BLOG

3 Fascinating Ways to Improve Your Wellbeing

02/27/2015 11:32 am ET | Updated Apr 29, 2015
Mehmed Zelkovic via Getty Images

When it comes to improving your wellbeing, what would you be willing to try?

Instead of fighting food cravings to lose weight, would you be willing to just accept these thoughts? Rather than trying to forget about what's upsetting you, would you be willing to write about your emotional experiences for around 15 minutes each day, to improve your mental and physical health? Perhaps instead of gritting your teeth next time you feel stressed, you could listen to music to improve your wellbeing in painful environments?

With studies suggesting, more than seventy percent of people around the world report they are struggling or suffering, as they face into each day ahead it's clear many of us need a little extra help when it comes to thriving.

As the body of scientific research into human flourishing continues to grow around the globe -- particularly in the field of positive psychology -- researchers are finding some unexpected approaches to improving our wellbeing.

So if you want to move from just functioning to flourishing at work, what are some of the tested, practical approaches the experts recommend trying?

"Using your strengths in a state of flow, setting self-concordant goals and exercise have some unexpected benefits when it comes to our work," explains Seph Fontane Pannock the creator of a new e-book 27 of Positive Psychology's Most Fascinating Facts and founder of Positivepsychologyprogram.com.

For example, when we're able to match our strengths -- the things we're good at and enjoy doing -- to the work we're undertaking it's likely we'll enter a flow state where we become completely absorbed in what we're doing. It's the feeling we have when we're one with music, time stops and we lose all self-consciousness. We may not be thinking or feeling anything and yet we're learning, growing, improving and advancing so that we feel more capable, in control and satisfied afterwards.

Self-concordant goals are those we pursue out of deep personal conviction and deeply held interests. These goals feel authentic to who you are, you chose them rather than have them imposed on you and they stem from a desire to express yourself rather than impress others. Studies suggest pursuing these goals is more likely to feel rewarding and pleasurable and increase your happiness.

Did you know that exercise is not only good for your body, but can also make you smarter and happier as well? Studies have found exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory and learning. Aerobic exercise in particular has been found to generate brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF) -- what researchers describe as 'miracle-gro' for our brains -- which helps to create an environment where brain cells can flourish and promote new connections.

So what are the tested, practical ways you can apply these fascinating facts to improve your wellbeing?

Seph suggests trying the following:

  • Create more flow in your life - discover your strengths at and create moments of flow in your work day by setting yourself a small goal, using your strengths to complete the task and seeking feedback on how you've gone. If you're having trouble surfacing from your state of flow to take of other responsibilities, allow yourself a few moments of transition as you emerge from flow into other activities.
  • Set self-concordant goals - People who articulate and pursue self-concordant goals are generally more successful as well as happier. When we don't set explicit goals for ourselves, we're at the mercy of external forces -- ones that come from the outside and rarely lead to self-concordant activities. Whether you're setting short-term or long-term goals try asking yourself what is it you really, really want to be doing in each of the key areas of your life --from relationships to work.
  • Exercise regularly - Try to complete an aerobic workout for at least twenty minutes, three times a week. If you're already in good shape, a high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which consists of very short, very hard bursts of exercise can push your body to trigger the pituitary gland to release human growth hormone, he says, which enhances neurotransmitter levels.

If you're looking for more fascinating facts from the science of positive psychology on how to help you flourish at work download Seph's free e-book here.