My Positive Psychology Experiment

kermit-at-smithsonianIn my last post,  I introduced my intention to pursue a year-long adventure quest that I am calling 50 Fabulous Feats @ 50. My impetus for the project is multi-faceted, but a key reason is to engage in my own positive psychology experiment.  I have lived with depression and anxiety for my entire adult life. For me, medication supports my ongoing mental health, but it has been important for me to explore those things within my control that can enhance my well-being. I have spent time reading about the latest research, particularly around positive psychology. While I am hardly able to do justice to the work done in this field in this brief blog, my experiment was inspired by Sonja Lyubomirsky’s research which suggests “dynamic, episodic, novel, and attention-enticing” intentional activities support increased and lasting well-being (see for more information). So, my plan to do 50 things that I have never done before is about deliberately enhancing my own happiness.

It has been great fun over the last couple of weeks to share my ideas for the 50 Feats @ 50 adventure with family, friends, and strangers alike, asking for opinions and suggestions about what I should add to the list.  Such interesting and wildly different answers: the CN Tower EdgeWalk is a popular one; skydiving is another that has come up frequently. For those who didn’t read my first blog, let me reiterate that I am both scared of heights and rather risk averse, so, while these might be just right for some folks, neither made it on to my list. Others had more sentimental  suggestions: send a message in a bottle out to sea; go on a romantic picnic.  I like these, so they made the cut.  Still others offered not only their recommendations, but to join me in the pursuits: horseback riding, hot air ballooning, canoeing, afternoon tea at an elegant establishment, bird watching. They all sound like great fun, made better by the added bonus of having friends to share the experiences. Still others came up with things I would never have thought of myself: going to a shooting range, attending a dog show (I am assured it is just like the movie Best in Show), going to a fortune teller to find out what the next 50 years have in store for me.  I have also added the feats that involve giving back to my community: planting a tree (or 50 of them) for posterity, donating blood, serving at a homeless shelter.  Then, there are the personal health and wellness feats: running (or walking really fast) in a 5 K race; maintaining a meditation practice; taking a yoga class.  Finally, there are a few feats that are particularly special to me. People who know me well (okay, even in passing) are aware that Kermit the Frog is my hero.  I grew up with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, and love all the movies (1999’s Muppets From Space does not count). Like most people, I want to meet my hero, but only recently figured out how I could do this. Kermit, as well as a number of his Muppet companions, can be found at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Sounds like a road trip could be in the cards for me!

So, T minus two weeks to the launch of 50 feats. For anyone with more ideas to share, I’d love to hear them; and if you want to participate in a fabulous feat or two, please drop me a line. What’s better than 50 Fabulous Feats @ 50? Easy: 50 Fabulous Feats @50 with Friends!

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