What do kindergartners and doctors have in common? 

Friday’s Fashion + Fitness. 17th edition! Smile…& find out why :).


I recently heard Dan Lerner speak. He’s a professor of positive psychology, among many other talents. I’ll be giving lots of information today, but Dan said it best, “I’ll give you information, but information does not imply transformation. There’s a difference between knowing and doing. So, read to the end today. I’m encouraging you to learn and do :).

First, an acronym for happiness. PERMA. Positive Emotion. Engagement. Relationships. Meaning. Accomplishments. Know that you need a drop in each of these buckets. If you have a spare 30 minutes (I know you don’t, but seriously come back to this Ted Talk at some point this weekend!) Today I’ll speak mostly on the first, the power of positive emotion.



Let’s start with the kindergartners. You’re going to wish you had known this trick when you were in the driveway taking off those training wheels. Or when you were on your back steps trying over (and over) again to learn how to tie a shoe. Maybe it was just me, but I think the shoe lace took me far longer than the bicycle (my pillow hands could have had something to do with that). But I’m digressing. To get back to my point today, the kindergartners in this study were split into two groups. Both groups were given blocks and a set of instructions on how to build the set. One group was asked to think about the happiest memory of their life first. The other group was just given the blocks and instructed to build. The happy memory group performed the task 50% more quickly and accurately. That’s some pretty powerful priming.
I get that you’re not five years old anymore. Which is why I’m also sharing this doctors study. Maybe you’re thinking that kindergarten minds are simple, and this trick wouldn’t work for you. But check out this study with doctors. The doctors were also split into two groups. They were all given fifty symptoms and asked to diagnose a patient. The first group was given candy and watched a funny clip. They weren’t even allowed to eat the candy (sugar might interfere with the study). The other group didn’t do anything differently. Both groups were asked to diagnose. The doctors who were just given candy and made to laugh were 19 to 27% more accurate in their diagnosing!


Everyday, write down three things you’re grateful for… I first tried this for a positive psychology class in college. I got pretty much nothing out of it. But it was a homework assignment. So my nerd-self did it anyway. Recently though, I got more information on why this is supposed to help. And the slight mind-shift has encouraged me to re-start my journal. I learned that it doesn’t actually matter what you write down. The point of the journal is to help you shift your thinking throughout the day. If you’re planning to write down three things at the end of the day, you’ll start looking for and noticing positive experiences. You just might pause to enjoy that pretty sunset when you’re stuck in traffic. If journaling still isn’t for you, I’m not offended. This article has ideas on what’s worked instead. According to studies conducted by Martin Seligman, grateful people have been shown to have greater positive emotion, a greater sense of belonging, and lower stress. Sounds good to me :).
I’ll be keeping a gratitude journal for the next two weeks. I’ll plan to tell you how it went for me. I’d love for you to try it too. Keep me posted! Do you love it? Do you hate it?

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