Module 5: Enhancing General Well-Being

The pandemic impacts each person quite differently.  Some may be grieving serious losses, while others are using the conditions to adopt beneficial routines while trying to maintain a hopeful outlook.  Wherever you're at along the spectrum, the field of positive psychology (which studies the science of human flourishing = happiness) will have something to contribute - sooner or later - in the unfolding of pandemic and post-pandemic life.  In this module, you will:

  • Assess your resources and strengths with the flourishing life scale
  • Apply a psychological assessment tool to differentiate your emotions
  • Discuss how well-being is measured in psychological research, contributors to/determinants of thriving, and life outcomes associated with happiness
  • Reflect on strategies for meeting grief and cultivating gratitude

Deliberately cultivating positive emotions is one way to effectively enhance general well-being.  But doing so at the exception of acknowledging and honoring difficult emotions would be problematic in the scheme of the full spectrum of life. The task of a person seeking to enhance general well-being, encompasses both boosting positivity while developing an ability to meet, acknowledge, and cope with/care for difficult emotions.  

  • PRACTICE + REFLECT: Honoring Loss

As of this publication, the world has documented nearly 200,000 deaths due to COVID-19.  The consequences of these losses, of course, ripple through the lives of each person's family and friends, their communities and into the global community.  While some may be experiencing the loss of a loved one, others are facing job loss, status loss, loss of interpersonal connection, and more.  In a time marked by wide-reaching loss, and with the inability to conduct related social rituals in the usual ways, we may need to be creative and acknowledge loss and grief in new and deliberate ways. Personal rituals might include lighting a candle, praying, remembering, observing silence, journaling, writing a letter, planting a seed or tree, making art, self-care practices and more. 

1. Reflect: What are some strategies you have to acknowledge personal loss and grief as well as collective loss and grief?  How might you create rituals of your own to meet, acknowledge, and honor loss while in a time of physical distancing?  

  • PRACTICE + REFLECT: Appreciating Life

In the "Positive Psychology" article in your NOBA textbook, Emmons conveys gratitude as a strength highly associated with positive life satisfaction.  (Don't miss out on Emmons' convincing and overwhelming arguments (Links to an external site.) for the power of gratitude in human thriving). 

Take some time this week to either journal about or meditate on the things in your life that are "working" for you - whether they are big things or seemingly small.  Use the link below for guidance in this activity.  Try to do it at least twice this week.

Gratitude Practice (A) 8:28

2. Reflect: How did the gratitude practice this week go for you?  What did you notice?  How did you feel in the moments and hours after practicing?  What did you find challenging and/or helpful?