Over the last week we have had a long stretch of days beginning with bitter frosts and ending with gorgeous sunny afternoons.
The frost has turned playgrounds white, iced over car windscreens and made the grass crispy.
Then as the day progresses the same clear air that has bought the frost reveals an afternoon of sparkling blue skies and gloriously warming sun.
These contrasts within our winter days have caused me to reflect on the contrasts within our emotional lives.
We can wobble emotionally through frosty diffidence and gregarious warmth within a day.
But it is this contrast, and the ups and downs, both in our days and in our emotional lives, that provide the spice and interest of a life well-lived.
Seeking variety and spice in life can also be the basis of a wellness plan.
The positive psychology of Martin Seligman uses the PERMA model to explain how we can be intentional in living a satisfying life.
P is for Positive Emotions. E is for Engagement. R is for Positive Relationships. M for Meaning and A for Accomplishment.
Recently, in a bit of a low patch, I have turned to this model to address my own wellbeing.
'Positive Emotions' come and go throughout the day, but if you are prone to negative thinking and rumination, it can be helpful to reframe your thoughts and redirect your attention to positive things. When I have found myself pondering on a topic of concern, I have been intentionally directing my imagination to my favourite beach or taking a walk.
My day job as a teacher means that my life is full of 'Engagement' and overflowing with 'Meaning'. I would say that rather than more people time, I actually need some solitude to recapture my wellbeing.
After a school-week of interactions with students, educators and parents it soothes my soul to have some time to myself. With this alone time, I can stretch my creative abilities and work on 'Accomplishment' as I improve my singing and cello playing.
I value the 'Positive relationships' that I have with the wide range of people that I interact with, and most of the time, I find that other people are also intent on contributing positively to relationships.
There really are very few people that search for negative attention - and my current modus operandi is to avoid negative people and surround myself with the positive ones.
Life is full of ups and downs, and just as frosty mornings often become beautiful days, most negative and unpleasant situations will resolve to a positive and pleasant resolution.
You might have heard the phrase "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" which comes from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and perhaps some attention to the PERMA elements can help us be stronger.
But perhaps the person who sums up my current thinking best is Dolly Parton - "Storms make trees take deeper roots."
Brandi Galpin is a Horsham teacher and atheist.
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