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learn to calm and soothe...living life one breath at a time

breathe and be - learning to live one breath at a time...

Positive Psychology & Reiki

At first glance, Positive Psychology and Reiki, may seem odd “bed-fellows” and yet they both are ways of building resources that support a person in creating wellbeing for themselves. I have found, both for myself, and also for my clients, that the addition of these  approaches augments and enhances the practices of Mindfulness and Focusing and so can create a stronger internal core of resilience for an individual and a more positive relationship with one’s experience.

POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY - The study of happiness

For many years phrases such as “a glass half full” and the philosophy that “if life presents you with lemons then use them to make lemonade” have been the way people who are optimistic approach life. However many of us are not optimists by nature and , indeed, as described earlier on this website, our brains do have an inbuilt bias to focus on and take in the negative. For many years the primary focus of psychology, particularly in its clinical applications, was on how to help people with mental health issues recover. It was only in 1998 that an American Psychologist, Martin Seligman, coined the phrase of “Positive Psychology” and led the way in researching what is it that makes human beings happy and how can we cultivate this further. From his work has sprung a very different approach in helping people wherein the focus is on building what makes one feel happy and well rather than the more familiar counselling and psychotherapy approaches of exploring ones problems and difficulties.

What makes you smile?

At the core of Positive Psychology is a recognition that to thrive we need to actively notice and take in positive experiences. Barbara Fredrickson states that: Positive emotions open our mind Positive emotions transform us for the better—they bring out the best in us. To flourish we need to have a ratio of at least 3 positive experiences to every one negative one and quantity rather than quality of experience is what is important. So what are positive experiences? There are three kinds:


The ones that we are most familiar with are the pleasures of the new and enjoyable: such as acquiring the latest and much longed-for mobile phone, or buying a new outfit or, just a delicious bite of a beautiful dessert. These are all pleasures that are known as hedonistic and they do make us feel more positive – however this is a short-lived experience and we soon want more. So we need to also find other ways to create positive experiences for ourselves. The second and third kinds of positive experience are called eudaimonic. These are experiences which provide us with a deeper contentment that is longer lasting.


The first of these eudaimonic experiences are those activities which completely absorb us, where we just lose ourselves in what we are doing. Meaning Being involved in activities that are not just about our own self-interest but about the wider community and playing our part. I use Positive Psychology practices and exercises to actively build my own inner resources that enable me to feel better within myself.  I have also found that for many of my clients that by actively focusing on choosing positive activities in their lives, that are not just hedonic but also eudaimonic, that they too increase their own experience of wellbeing. In particular I find the Positive Psychology approach is great for those grey days and when my mind can be stuck in a negative loop. By actively seeking to create positivity one can find that one’s thinking shifts from the half-empty glass of pessimism and surviving to the half-full glass of optimism and thriving.  


Reiki is a hands-on healing approach derived from ancient Japanese traditions. The ethos of Reiki is that of the Eastern traditions that view health and ill-health as being due to the flow or blockage of the life energy or chi.  I first learnt Reiki purely to give myself energetic and bodily support for the healing process in my body and I found it made a positive difference. Following this I then found that with certain clients who do not find it easy or comfortable to connect to their bodily experiences Reiki, combination with Mindfulness and/or Focusing, provided them with an additional positive bodily input which enabled them to feel their body safely and in a positive way. Together, both Positive Psychology and Reiki, can be used to build additional resources within a person so that they are better equipped internally to face and release old patterns of being in the world which were useful in the past but now create more problems than they solve. James Truslow Adams said "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live." Our education system is very good at teaching us how to make a living but –


“...live life one breath at a time.”

“Do you really want to be happy? You can begin by being appreciative of who you are and what you’ve got” Benajmin Hoff The Tao of Pooh

“Positive emotions transform us for the

better—they bring out the best in us.”

Positive Psychology & Reiki Positive Psychology & Reiki