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Benefits of moving towards living a positive life

What does living a good life mean to you? This is a question Martin Seligman asked in his newest book, Flourishing. My response is learning to focus on what I can control and stop worrying about things I can’t control. For the past year, I have been challenging myself to learn how to focus more on moving toward what I value and which gives me a sense of belonging and reward. I have spent too much of my life trying to prove to others I am good enough.

I am now focused on learning how to live a good life. It’s a lot easier living a good life than thinking about it. However, we need to become aware of the options and obtain the knowledge and skills for self-discipline. Think about anyone skilled at anything, from Michael Jordan to Bill Gates. They became
brilliant at what they do because they put in the work and practiced. Learning to live a good life requires practice; there are no shortcuts. Quick fixes often lead down dark holes with addictive disorders and a life of regret.

Because of Seligman’s initiatives and insights, we now have the field of positive psychology. In this must-listen-to-book, he shares how modern-day psychology and psychiatric treatment are effective only 65% of the time, and there is no cure for mental illness, only relief from symptoms. Seligman believes humans find more peace and fulfillment by learning how to live a positive life by discovering what actions within their control they can take daily.

When I started my 30-year mental health professional career, my focus was on moving patients away from the pain of anxiety, depression, trauma, and all forms of addictive disorders. I learned that some people needed to develop knowledge and skills to create more pleasant emotions by going back to school, volunteering, and engaging in passions. This is why I am so invested in promoting mental fitness today. Like positive psychology, mental fitness is about learning how to live a good life and accepting that we can live well, even in the hard times.

All the best – Dr. Bill Howatt

Dr. Bill Memo - Chapter 2, Article 5

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