The power of choice is a central theme in enhancing wellbeing and performance. How a person chooses to respond to their environment or what they choose to attend to can be a solid predictor of future outcomes. The choices we make fall into many categories but one of the more interesting breakdowns of choice comes from Will and Auriel Durant's The Lessons of History .
In updating their model we can think of choice in terms of Pursuit or Retreat. Pursuit choices includes our instincts for action, fight, acquisition, and association. Retreat choices include our instincts for sleep, flight, avoidance, and privacy, Each of these instincts as the Durant's labeled them produce habits and subsequent feelings.
The habits that we choose to enlist become at times indistinguishable from our true selves. Habits of acquisition for example include eating, purchasing, or stealing. These habits lead to formulated emotions and thoughts which impact almost every future event in our lives.
The power of choice can only be effective with self-awareness. Without self awareness it is difficult to see the influence of our natural tendencies. We succumb to our default patterns and routines. Living without full engagement.
This pursuit or retreat model offers a mental model to view our actions and begin to challenge some of our tendencies.
I have written a few times about the benefits of having a growth mindset, but I wanted to take a moment and share some of the health benefits associated with this type of thinking. As a reminder people who fall into the growth mindset category believe that their capabilities are changeable and that through effort and practice they can improve performance. The opposite mindset, known as the fixed mindset, is associated with the belief that traits are permanent.
One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to get outside. Unfortunatley people spend 25% less time outside than they did 20 years ago. Spending only 30 mins a week in a park reduces reports of high blood pressure by 9% and risk of depression by 7%. The best tip is to combine movement with nature to get the best of both worlds. People report that being out in nature improves the following.
- Time Out/ Freedom
- Sensory Engagement
- Healthy Perspective
Here are the findings of a new study published in the Journal Emotions. The focus was on gratitude, a popular subject in the field of resilience psychology. Gratitude has long been linked to optimism and overall well-being, but what made this research so intriguing was the link found between gratitude and self-control and impulsivity.
I have mentioned how to cultivate gratitude in previous post but as a reminder:
- Think of three things each day you are grateful for.
- Spend at least 30 seconds thinking about what made that moment stand out and why it was important to you.
- Don't just pick the same thing each day. Challenge yourself to come up with different things each day this will help your brain grow. Gratitude like exercise requires an increase in intensity.
- Writing it down or sharing your gratitudes with another help store the positive emotion.