A view of the mountains from above with trees and clouds.

Permanent Vitality Principles

Positive Emotion, Enjoyment, Relationships, Meaning, Autonomy, Novelty, Engagement, Needs, and Time

When Someone Says

They want to feel well or have more energy; what they are really saying is they want more vitality. It is the feeling of being alive and taking on each day with eagerness and enthusiasm.


is subjective because it is based on perception; a person may look healthy but have low subjective vitality. Subjective vitality has been shown to influence subjective wellness. Increased perception of your own vitality has been shown to have a positive effect on your happiness and quality of life. It is not surprising that one aspect of wellness is feeling alive.

ways in which I can assist you in improving your energy and vitality:

  1. Share information about how physical activity improves metabolism and sleep
  2. Respect your autonomy and highlight choices
  3. Encourage you to choose activities you feel you can master
  4. Encourage activities that you relate to and connect with others
A napkin that has words written on it.

Positive Emotion

Feeling good refers not only to vitality but also to our emotions. Positive emotions have been shown to boost the immune system, improve coping skills under stress, decrease systemic inflammation, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and increase life span.

Growth Mindset

A head with different types of mindset and words
A green sign that says growth mindset next exit

Grow Your Mindset

Whether or not we have hope depends on dimensions of our explanatory style:
1) pervasiveness and 2) permanence. Finding temporary and specific causes for misfortune is the art of hope. Temporary causes limit helplessness in time, and specific causes limit helplessness in the original situation. Importantly noted, permanent causes produce helplessness far into the future, and universal causes spread helplessness through all your life pursuits. Finding permanent and universal causes for misfortune is the practice of despair; in essence, it is finding yourself stuck in the metaphorical M.U.D.

A yellow car is parked in the sun

The Growth Mindset is based on the belief in change; whether we are aware of it or not, everyone keeps a running account of what is happening to them, what it means, and what they should do. In other words, our minds are constantly monitoring and interpreting. That’s how we stay on track. But some people put more extreme interpretations on things that happen and then react with exaggerated feelings of anxiety, anger, depression, or superiority.

The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue that is focused on judging, for example, “This means I am not good at basketball,” or “This means I am a better person than they are.” “This means I’m a bad husband.” “This means my partner is inconsiderate.” People with a fixed mindset put a strong emphasis on each and every piece of information. Something good leads to a very strong positive label, and something bad leads to a strong negative label. In contrast, people with a growth mindset are constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Undoubtedly, they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action, thinking such thoughts as, “What can I learn from this?” “How can I improve?”

When we eliminate the good-bad, strong-weak thinking that grows out of the fixed mindset, we’re better able to learn useful strategies that help with self-control. Adopting a growth mindset is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It's about seeing things in a new way. When we adopt a growth mindset, we change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help-learn framework; it is a framework that is goal-directed.

Importantly noted: people are all born with a love of learning, but a fixed mindset can undo it. Think of a time you were enjoying something, doing a crossword puzzle or playing a sport, for example. Then it becomes difficult, and you wanted out. Maybe you suddenly felt tired, bored, or hungry. Next time this happens, don’t fool yourself; it’s the fixed mindset; challenge yourself by putting yourself in a growth mindset. Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn.

Perhaps an expression in sports can tap into a central theme of what it means to possess a growth mindset: “Race your strengths and train your weaknesses.”

How do you get a (true) growth mindset? You move toward it by embracing the ingredients that make up a growth mindset, such as self-directed movement, pragmatic optimism, upward spirals, and, importantly, utilizing the permanent vitality acronym.

Positive Emotion: Within limits, we can increase our positive emotions about the past (e.g., by cultivating gratitude and forgiveness), our positive emotions about the present (e.g., by savoring physical pleasures and mindfulness), and our positive emotions about the future (e.g., by creating hope and optimism).

Pragmatic optimism is recognizing the situation you find yourself in, being honest with yourself about what is going on, accepting it, and then taking the most proactive, positive steps you can move forward in a goal-directed fashion. The essence of optimism is all about the hope that good things can happen and will continue to happen. However, to take a meaningful step, you have to be clear on what is really going on.

This concept is very useful if you are stuck in the metaphorical M.U.D. (misunderstanding, uncertainty, and doubt) (First, be clear about what is going on.) “You say you don’t have enough energy to get more activity. Let’s get some more information. How are you sleeping? Has your stress level changed? Has your nutrition changed, and are you satisfied with your current dietary pattern? What’s your media diet like?” Because many types of behaviors affect how we physically feel, gaining insight into these areas can help you get a clear picture of what is affecting energy and movement; it is about being pragmatically optimistic, thus fostering a growth mindset.

Upward spirals are an important aspect of any positive lifestyle change and can be leveraged by focusing on savoring your enjoyable experiences. While this effect is not limited to movement, movement’s unique effects on the brain make it a powerful tool to stimulate the upward spiral effect. When you make a positive change in your life, and you enjoy the activity, positive emotions are likely to follow. These positive emotions reinforce the initial behavior, increasing the likelihood that the activity will be repeated on a consistent basis, hence the upward spiral effect.

Self-directed movement: The more autonomous and intrinsically motivated an activity is, the more it will satisfy your core needs for autonomy and competence. When an activity aligns with your sense of self, you will experience more wellness and positive emotions.

Personal strengths are factors that facilitate valued living, goal achievement, and increase personal well-being. These factors are positive traits reflected in one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Strengths include ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are authentic and energizing to the individual. Using strengths enables optimal functioning, development, and performance. Examples of strengths are effective coping styles, like optimism or acceptance, but also activities that provide energy and enthusiasm, like writing, playing sports, or painting.

Positive Emotions Are Resource Builders
The key to taking advantage of positive emotions is to regard them as “resource builders.” Remember a really clear example of a time when you felt one of the positive emotions: gratitude, pleasure, interest, hope, or satisfaction, whether it happened today or last week. After you recall some of the details of that event, give it a name (for example, “thinking about my role in the big game”), and specify which emotion it was.

Now that you have an example to keep in mind, let’s remember an important fact about emotions: the feeling (the emotion) works for us in 2 ways: (1) drawing attention and (2) coordinating a response. Positive emotions shine a light on things that are going particularly well for us or that have the potential to do so, that is, situations that are consistent with our goals.

The positive emotions that result from positive life events act as a buffer against the stress we experience during negative events.

Rather than suppressing these negative experiences, allowing them to be present without acting upon them can reveal valuable information that may assist us on our journey. Fear, for instance, may signal that we are approaching the edge of our comfort zone. Fear may indicate that we have a chance to broaden our horizons and expand our comfort zone. Possibly, we may also realize that the thing that is causing us to fear is important to us (after all, why would we experience fear if we did not care about it?) and may give us insight into a personal value.

When we live according to our true values, there is an accompanying sense of fulfilling our deepest purpose in life. Values provide the direction and meaning that we need to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives. Values are best compared to directions rather than destinations. Whereas goals can be achieved, values cannot be achieved. For example, the value of being creative can never be completely fulfilled. Even if the person creates a painting (a concrete goal), it would be silly to say, “Now that I have created this painting, I’ve accomplished creativity. Now, I’ll proceed to the next thing.” Therefore, values are best formulated as verbs, as something that is never fully achieved. A value might be “being creative” or “contributing to other’s well-being.”

An Obstacle to a Growth Mindset: Rumination

Rumination is a negative habit in which people dwell excessively on what went wrong in the past; it often stirs up negative emotions. Following an acute stressor, individuals may continue to think about that event. If individuals continue to experience mind wandering about this stressful event, then the acute stressor may have a longer effect on mental and emotional wellness. For example, if someone is in a car accident (an acute stressor) but for weeks following the accident continues to experience intrusive thoughts or unwanted episodes of mind wandering related to the accident, then the effect on performance subsequently becomes chronic. Importantly noted, rumination plays a critical role in the continuation of a stressful event’s effect on our ability to think clearly after the event has ended. Increased rumination can cause higher levels of cortisol and even increased inflammation in the body.

Ruminating and negative mind wandering cause stress, affecting our attention and memory. Because humans have a negativity bias, we are likely to pay greater attention to negative experiences. When we reduce negative mind wandering, then we will reduce the effect of acute and chronic stress. One strategy that protects some cognitive processes in the face of acute and chronic stress is mindfulness.

For particularly ingrained instances of ruminating, it may be necessary just to do something (anything) differently. Sometimes, in order to learn to think differently about things, you must first become accustomed to behaving differently.

The Relationship between Mood, Memory, and Positive Thinking:
Research has demonstrated that when people continually focus on the negative circumstances or events of their lives, they begin to feel sad. When individuals focus on positive events, they are much happier. It is not simply a case of memory influencing mood; mood also impacts memory. In one very skillfully created experiment, psychologist James Laird and his fellow associates from Clark University studied how mood affects memory. They asked individuals to read two brief passages. The first was a sad newspaper editorial about the needless killing of dolphins during tuna fishing, and the second was a humorous story by Woody Allen (Kirby, 2018).

The experimenters utilized a creative method to make the participants feel happy or sad. They asked half the individuals to hold a pencil between their teeth, making sure it did not touch their lips. Without them realizing it, the lower part of their faces was smiling. The other half of the participants were asked to support just the end of the pencil with only their lips and not their teeth; without realizing it, the lower part of their face was frowning. The fact is, when you force your face into a smile, you actually feel happy. Likewise, when you force your face to frown, you feel sad. The participants were then asked to write down everything they could recall from the two passages; the results were amazing. The individuals who had forced themselves to smile remembered lots of information from the Woody Allen story and considerably less from the story about the needless killing of dolphins. Those subjects who had been forced to frown recalled very little about the Woody Allen story and lots more from the serious editorial.4 Their mood influenced their ability to remember the information. Similarly, when you look back on your life in a happy mood, you tend to remember life events and circumstances that worked well. And, when you reflect back in an unhappy mood, you are inclined to dwell on more negative events that happened to you (Kirby, 2018).

This two-way relationship between mood and memory explains why those who tend to think positively are reluctant to dwell on any misfortune in their past, which also helps them maintain a lucky life perspective.

A man sitting on the ground with his head in his hands.

The Power of Positive Emotions

Positive psychology author Barbara Fredrickson has discovered some interesting information regarding the power of emotions. She found that “there is a ratio of positive emotions to negative emotions for your brain to function at its best; this ratio is 75/25.” Additionally, we should be aware of another ratio, according to Marcial Losada; this number is 2.9013. Yes, initially, this seems like a random number; however, after a decade of research on performance teams, its significance was revealed. “Based on Losada’s extensive mathematical modeling, 2.9013 is the ratio of positive to negative interactions necessary to make a corporate team successful. This means that it takes about three positive comments, experiences, or expressions to fend off the languishing effects of just one negative” (Kirby, 2018).

This is not some mysterious mathematical formula; Losada observed many examples of it in action. For example, “he once worked with a global mining company suffering from process losses greater than 10 percent; unsurprisingly, he found that their positivity ratio was only 1.15. However, after team leaders were instructed to give more positive feedback and encourage more positive interactions, their teams’ average ratio increased to 3.56. And in turn, they made giant strides in production, improving their performance by over 40 percent” (Kirby, 2018).

Knowing the impact of being positive, imagine, then, the power you have to influence the performance of not just yourself but others around you! When your brain constantly scans for and focuses on the positives in everyday life, you benefit from 2 key tools available to you: gratitude and happiness.

According to Psychologist Robert Emmons, who has spent the majority of his career studying gratitude, “Few things in life are as integral to our well-being. Countless other studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely.” Importantly noted here, it’s not that we are grateful because we are happier. Actually, gratitude has been shown to be an important cause of positive results and happiness (Kirby, 2018).

The fact is, optimists set more goals (and more difficult goals) than pessimists, put more effort into attaining those goals, and stay more engaged in the face of difficulty, in addition to rising above obstacles more easily. Optimists also cope better in high-stress situations and are better able to maintain high levels of well-being during times of hardship.

Emotional Intelligence consists of main elements:
1. Self-awareness—the ability to recognize one's emotions, understand how they affect thoughts and behavior, know strengths and weaknesses, and maintain self-confidence.
2. Self-management—the ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, facilitate decision-making, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
3. Relationship management—the ability to know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict
4. Social awareness—the ability to understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize power dynamics in a group or organization.

  • Interestingly, IQ contributes approximately 20 % to the factors that determine life success, which leaves 80% to other forces.
  • The vast majority of one’s ultimate niche in society is determined by non-IQ factors, ranging from luck to social class.
  • The fact is that the relationship between IQ test scores and life achievements is dwarfed by the totality of other characteristics that a person brings to life.
  • Emotional intelligence can be as powerful, and at times more powerful, than IQ. While there are those who argue that IQ cannot be changed much by education or experience, essential emotional abilities can indeed be learned and improved upon, especially by children, if there is a real emphasis and effort to teach them.
  • Emotional life is a domain similar to math or reading; it can be handled with greater or less ability and requires a unique set of skills. How proficient a person is at utilizing those skills is key to understanding why one person thrives in life while another of equal intellect does not (Kirby, 2018).
  • Academic intelligence offers virtually no preparation for the turmoil or opportunity life’s changes bring. Even though a high IQ is no guarantee of prosperity, respect, or happiness in life, schools primarily focus on academic abilities, ignoring emotional intelligence, a set of traits some refer to as character, which matters immeasurably for personal success.
  • An example of someone exhibiting a high academic IQ and low emotional intelligence: A female college student who had attained four perfect 800 scores on the SAT, spent most of her time hanging out, staying up late, and missing classes by sleeping until noon; it took her almost seven years to finally get her degree, despite her formidable intellectual abilities.

You need these Emotional Intelligence skills to improve the quality of your life & relationships:
1. You need to be able to identify your feelings and…
2. Express those feelings
3. You need to assess the intensity of those feelings and…
4. Manage those feelings in a positive manner
5. You need to control impulses and…
6. You need to possess the ability to reduce stress

The Correlation Between Having An Optimistic Mindset and Confidence
Developing an optimistic mindset maximizes the influence of attributions on confidence. The first key to creating an optimistic mindset is to seek positive feedback. You must learn to turn up the volume on positive sources and to hit the silence button on the negative sources. A good analogy for the optimistic individual is one possessing “rose-tinted glasses.” Put special focus on the word, tinted, here because having “rose-colored glasses” may present the tendency for us to lose objectivity in various situations. Possessing an optimistic mindset allows us to see new possibilities for improvement and growth, subsequently staying connected to our motivational spirit.

In an ideal world, confidence should remain stable across a variety of circumstances. A confident football player, for example, will accept the bad result without the unnecessary self-blame. “Legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi once explained that confidence when you are winning isn’t real confidence. Everyone is confident when they are winning. Real confidence occurs when athletes are losing but are still able to maintain self-belief, or when they learn from their failures and move on.” (Kirby, 2018).

The Optimistic Mindset in Action

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan.

Did you know?
The average person has over 60,000 thoughts a day. Of those 60,000, 90% of them are repetitive -through the day and from previous days. After reading this interesting fact, the question now becomes, “How many of your approximate sixty thousand thoughts are positive and goal-directed?”

Remember this: the quality of your life depends on your relationship with the key ingredients of human functioning. It is important to not only address the different ingredients but also identify your relationship with them. Your relationship with these important elements is determined by four foundational pieces: 1) attention, 2) thoughts, 3) motivation, and 4) action.

1) Attention: Involves the process of focusing on a certain task; central components of attention include 1) the amount of attention and 2) the direction of attention (which refers to the quality of attention). Questions to ponder, “Are you trying to force yourself to focus on something?” “Are you able to narrow your attention when needed, or are you distracted, doing multiple things at the same time?” These questions address the nature of attention, which has repeatedly been found to be a key predictor of well-being, success, and happiness.

Attention can be compared to a telescope, which is a powerful instrument through which we can select, bring into focus, and magnify the day-to-day things we experience in our world. In the Principles of Psychology, according to William James, “My experience is what I agree to attend to.” As James suggested, our experiences are largely determined by the way in which we pay attention to ourselves and our surroundings.

2) Thoughts: Important Types:
Thoughts are Mental Constructs. They are mind-made stories that guide our behavior, consciously or unconsciously.

1) Beliefs are habitual ways of thinking about something and (a) are not easily changed (stable), (b) are a matter of degree (held more or less weakly or strongly), (c) guide our goal pursuits (or lack thereof) and actions, and (d) are habitually or persistently held in a manner that indicates a strong commitment to defending them. It is often the thought of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true. Examples of beliefs are, “I am confident that I have what it takes to reach my goals” and “Asking other people for help is a sign of weakness.” Our beliefs greatly influence how we interpret situations and respond to them. Often, beliefs are difficult to change.

2) Evaluations are assessments involving a judgment about the amount, number, or value of something. For example, how do you evaluate the quality of your relationships with others? Or, how satisfied are you with the life domain ‘work’? Importantly, noted, evaluations reflect the perceived rather than the actual value or status of something.

3) Explanations are thoughts about why and how things are the way they are. Explanations typically include assumed cause-and-effect relationships (“I developed compulsive behavior because my parents were very controlling”) and general attributions of other people’s behavior (“If she had done her homework, she would have probably earned an A on her exam”). Mental explanations can be true, partly true/partly untrue, or false. It is vital to become aware of the difference between the stories we can tell ourselves (consciously or unconsciously) and the facts.

A man and woman are sitting next to each other.


Enjoyments are derived from accomplishing something, learning something, or improving something. When we enter a state of enjoyment, hard work becomes effortless. Remember, the key to finding your own enjoyment is to know your own strengths.

When we are experiencing a state of enjoyment, we feel the most alive; we are most completely ourselves, a unique evolving personality. The state of enjoyment provides us with a sense of clarity; we know what we want to do, moment to moment, making necessary adjustments as needed. The ability to focus, avoid distractions, and maintain control of our attention are present. When this occurs, our senses become sharper and attuned to looking at things in a new, fresh way, manifesting in a tremendous feeling of appreciation and gratitude.

Enjoyable events are characterized by forward movement, a sense of novelty, and accomplishment. For example, playing a competitive game of tennis that stretches one’s ability is enjoyable, as is reading a book that discloses things in a new light or having a conversation that leads to the expression of insightful ideas.

The driving force behind actions taken for inherent enjoyment, interest, and the pleasure of doing them can be defined as intrinsic motivation.

A fundamental difference between pleasures and enjoyment is pleasures are delights that have clear sensory and strong emotional components, such as might be derived from food, sex, or a cool breeze on a sunny day. Enjoyment consists of activities that engage you fully, illuminating your strengths. The fact is, pleasures need to be spaced out to maintain their potency. For example, eating a quart of ice cream in an afternoon or listening to a new song that you love 25 times in a row are good ways to “overdose” on pleasurable activities and decrease your receptiveness to the same future pleasures.

Mastering your Consciousness through the Elements of Enjoyment:

1. Establishing Specific Goals: Knowing what you want to do moment by moment and having clarity about what you want to accomplish is extremely important.
2. Immediate Feedback: You know for a fact that you are getting closer to your goal; for example, when you hit a tennis ball, you see if it goes where you intend.
3. Balance of Skill to Challenge: What you do is in balance with what you can do.

A person can feel pleasure without any effort if the appropriate centers in their brain are electrically stimulated or as a result of the chemical stimulation of drugs. However, it is impossible to enjoy a tennis game, a book, or a conversation unless attention is 100% focused on the activity; it is for this reason that pleasure is transitory. Enjoyment requires investing psychic energy in goals that are new as well as challenging. It is easy to see this process in children: During the first few years of life, every child is a “learning machine,” trying out new movements as well as trying out new words daily. The happy concentration on a child’s face as they learn each new skill is a good indication of what enjoyment is about. Importantly noted: each instance of enjoyable learning adds to the complexity and richness of the self.

A man ninety years old, plagued with the frailties of old age, was able to cast off his afflictions, at least temporarily, because he utilized enjoyable experiences to engage his attention. There was no mystery about the way he approached life because it happened every day; he created daily positive habits. Creativity for Pablo was the source of his own cortisone. It is very questionable whether any anti-inflammatory medication he would have taken would have been as powerful or as safe as the substances produced by the interaction of his mind and body. The fact is, if Pablo had been caught up in an “emotional storm,” the effects would have been manifested in an increased flow of hydrochloric acid to his stomach, an increase of adrenal activity, an increased production of corticoids, an increase in blood pressure, and a faster heart rate. However, he was caught up in a state of enjoyment as a result of his desire to accomplish a specific purpose, and the effect was both genuine and visible (Cousins, 2005).


Relationships are fundamental to our wellness. The experiences that contribute to wellness are often amplified through our relationships, for example, great joy, laughter, meaning, a feeling of belonging, and pride in accomplishment. Connections to others can give life purpose and meaning. Support from and connection with others is one of the best antidotes to “the downs” of life and a good way to bounce back. From an evolutionary perspective, we are social beings. Developing strong relationships is essential to adaptation and is enabled by our capacity for compassion, love, kindness, empathy, self-sacrifice, and teamwork.

Positive Relationships
Remember, very little that is positive is solitary. When was the last time you had a good laugh? The last time you felt indescribable joy? The last time you sensed profound meaning and purpose? The last time you felt enormously proud of an achievement? Even without knowing the specifics of these high points of your life, their form is known: all of them took place around other people. Again, importantly noted: other people are the best antidote to the downs of life and the single most reliable up.

Maintaining healthy social relationships with others is critical to fostering wellness. Humans, by nature, are social beings, and the brain is hardwired to produce social behavior.

Social wellness is the ability to maintain healthy relationships with others. In order to ensure social wellness, we must be willing to reflect on our own perceptions and thoughts regarding our social behavior. We need to consider our own social connectedness to others and be willing to reflect on our own social relationships and social networks.

Social interaction is a necessity; positive, healthy relationships lead to a fuller human experience. Those who commit to not only improving their own social wellness, but also the wellness of those around them, will find an environment built on trust and harmony. Conversely, negative relationships built on conflict will have a profound effect on a person’s wellness.

Social resilience is defined essentially as the capacity to foster, engage in, and sustain positive social relationships as well as endure and recover from stressors. It is the glue that holds groups together, provides a purpose larger than the solitary self, and allows entire groups to rise to challenges.
Friendship has been linked to higher subjective well-being and happiness. Individuals with meaningful social relationships are likely to live longer. Positive social interaction has also been linked with greater self-esteem and positive perceptions of oneself.

Relatedness as human beings, we need to experience a sense of belonging and attachment to other people. The need for relatedness is, at its core, our need to care, love, and be loved and cared for.

Ways the Need for Relatedness Can Be Met:
1) Unconditional acceptance
Possibly the greatest contributor to a strong relationship is unconditional acceptance, being loved and appreciated despite failures or shortcomings.

2) Support in difficult times
The true strength of a relationship typically reveals itself during difficult times. When the going gets tough, those who truly care remain present to support you.
3) Selfless giving
The goal is uncompromised and simple: to be an aid in helping others on their journey to a state of “permanent vitality.”

Social relationships can also be a major source of distress and misery. Negative social relationships are characterized by conflict and negativity; they are associated with a variety of negative emotions, a lack of (or unhealthy/unhelpful) support, and a hindrance to goal achievement.

Quality & Quantity of Relationships Influence on Stress

The quality of relationships, as well as the total number, seems to be a foundational piece in buffering stress. Negative relationships take their toll to varying degrees. Arguing with someone, for example, weakens the immune system.

One study of college roommates found that the more they disliked each other, the more prone they were to colds and flu, and the more frequently they needed to go to the doctor.

John Cacioppo, the Ohio State University psychologist who did the roommate study, stated, “It’s the most important relationship in your life, the people you see day in and day out that seem to be crucial to your health. And the more significant the relationship is in your life, the more it matters to your health” (Kirby, 2018).

People’s satisfaction with their lives, their self-esteem, and their ability to effectively manage stressors are strongly impacted by the quality of their relationships.

Those whose lives are devoid of quality relationships are prone to suffer bouts of depression; this unhappiness, in turn, stresses others or drives them away (Kirby, 2018).

Buffering works in ways
First, when individuals encounter a strong stressor, for example, a financial crisis, those who possess a high degree of social support might be less likely to evaluate the situation as stressful compared to those with a low degree of social support. People with a high degree of social support might expect or know for a fact that someone they know will assist them, either by giving them sound advice on how to get money or lending it to them.
Second, social support might modify an individual’s response to a stressful occurrence after the initial assessment. For example, people with a reasonable degree of social support may have someone greatly assist them in finding answers and solutions to their problem (s), quite possibly convincing them and helping them see that the stressor is not very significant. At the very least, having someone providing social support contributes toward a growth mindset, often resulting in positive thinking and reduced stress levels. Comparatively, individuals with low levels of social support are far less likely to have any such advantages, thus experiencing a greater impact from their stressors (Kirby, 2018).


A sense of meaning and purpose can be derived from belonging to and serving something bigger than the self. There are various societal institutions that enable a sense of meaning, such as family, the community, religion, science, politics, work organizations, justice, social causes, and sports affiliations, among others.


  • Remind us of the person we want to be. Focusing on values helps us clearly understand what matters most to us. Insight into our values can help us to make choices and (re)gain a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
  • Meaning & Purpose: You generally feel that what you do in your life is valuable and worthwhile…your actions have value.
  • Subjective Wellness: The pursuit of happiness and the good life.
  • Psychological Wellness: The fulfillment of human potential and a meaningful life.

Ways to Discover Meaning in Movement:
1)Focus on how movement makes you feel and how it makes you feel about yourself.
2) Work toward movement milestones and create self-defining movement memories.
3) Find a movement community.

Concrete Action Plan: Set goals related to activities that inspire you, not just any goal, but a moment you can imagine, such as crossing a finish line, sinking a game-winning buzzer-beater in basketball, or possibly dancing at an upcoming wedding. This is about envisioning a future self, defining memories, and creating meaning in your life.

A sunset over the ocean with clouds in the sky.
A street sign with two different directions on it.


Our innate psychological need as unique human beings is to have ownership over our own behavior and actions; this need is about implementing our own choices, which includes deciding what we do, as well as how, when, and where we do it.

Autonomy emerges through becoming aware of personal strengths and weaknesses, of factors that can and cannot be controlled, and of positive and negative social forces.

The more autonomous your motivation is, the more it reflects your interests. Higher levels of autonomous motivation can be summarized as “want to” and lower levels as “have to.” In general, higher levels of autonomous motivation have more of a positive impact on well-being than lower levels.

Defining Characteristics of Autonomy can be remembered by the acronym D.I.D.
1. Determining behaviors that you have control over
2. Identifying ways to avoid or overcome potential barriers to goal attainment
3. Discovering and choosing from multiple options, ensuring control

“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” – Daniel H. Pink


Interesting Facts about Novelty
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of desire. Dopamine levels rise when you want something, even something as simple as to cross the road. The fact is, dopamine is central to being curious and interested. The number of connections made per second in the brain is also connected to dopamine levels. Dopamine is the chemistry of interest; it is released in a number of situations. Dopamine levels rise when novelty, something unexpected or new, is detected. The chemical rush from novelty goes from interest to an intense desire in an instant. Humor is all about creating unexpected connections. Watching a funny movie or T.V. series or telling jokes increases dopamine levels. Humor and positive expectations activate both dopamine and adrenaline. Importantly noted: the expectation of negative events reduces dopamine levels.

Getting Interested
You can bring your dopamine level up when needed using novelty in any form, including changing your perspective or humor or expecting something positive to happen, all of which contribute to a growth mindset!


Engagement is an experience in which you fully utilize your skills, strengths, and attention for a challenging task. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, this has the potential to produce an experience called “flow.” The activity is its own reward. In such an activity, concentration is fully absorbed in the moment, self-awareness disappears, and the perception of time is distorted in retrospect, e.g., time seems to stop. Flow can be experienced in a wide variety of activities, e.g., a good conversation, a work task, playing a musical instrument, putting together a puzzle, reading a book, writing, building furniture, fixing a bike, gardening, sports training or performance, to name just a few (Csikszentmihalyi, M, 1990).

In the flow experience: elephant and rider are in perfect harmony. The elephant (automatic processes) is doing most of the work, running smoothly through the forest, while the rider (conscious thought) is completely absorbed in looking out for problems and opportunities, helping whenever he can.” (Csikszentmihalyi, M, 1990).


A need is something necessary for you to live a healthy and happy life. Examples of needs include autonomy, rest, and safety. Needs are an important source of motivation. For example, our need to belong motivates us to stay in touch with others. Likewise, our need for rest motivates us to take a day off from work. Becoming aware of our needs helps us to better understand the ‘why’ of our choices.

Most life domains are organized around needs. For example, the leisure life domain typically involves activities related to the need for social connectedness, aesthetics, and creativity.

A diagram of the foundational needs and process met.


Time: The most important reason to stay focused on your goals and your dreams….

With each passing week…
With each passing day…
With each passing hour

"One day, you will wake up, and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now." – Paula Coel.

My Commitment to Time
Commit the following insights to memory

1) Time is my greatest asset, and I shall relate myself to it on a budget system that provides that every second shall be used for self-improvement with a goal-directed focus.
2) Knowing that my habits of thought become the patterns that attract all the circumstances affecting my life, I shall keep my mind so busy in connection with the circumstances I desire that no time will be left to devote to frustrations and fears and the things I do not desire
3) I will use my time in the future so that each day will bring some measure of peace of mind, as well as meaning and purpose.
4) Recognizing that, at best, my allotted time on the earth plane is indefinite and limited, I shall endeavor with a growth mindset to use my portion of it so that I continually strive to thrive and those nearest me will benefit from my positive influence and contributions.