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029: Infusing Positive Psychology into Health & Wellness Efforts with MJ Shaar

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Could you infuse more positivity into your workplace? I would venture a guess that we could amp up the positivity and optimism not only in our organization but also in our health and wellness programs. That’s why I wanted to bring on MJ Shaar.

MJ Shaar was one of the first 50 people to graduate with a Master’s in Applied Positive Psychology from University of Pennsylvania. She has spent over 15 years studying, researching, coaching, and designing Applied Positive Psychology-based workshops for wellness professionals and organizations of all kinds.

MJ starts by explaining what exactly is positive psychology. She walks us through the 5 pillars (PERMA) that stand for Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments (sense of mastery). She explains how it’s different from traditional psychology. They both work together and at different times we need different solutions.

Positive psychology helps discover the pearl within us. There’s more than one way to use it and apply it. Overall, it’s about building from what’s right instead of trying to “fix” someone.

MJ tells us how we you incorporate PERMA into health promotion and wellness. The question isn’t how do we use it but rather why don’t we use it? She tells us optimism is a skill and it’s about how you interpret events.

I ask her if the traditional approach to wellness conflicts with the tenets of positive psychology. She gives great advice on how to approach health and wellness from a more positive approach. For example, instead of a food/diet campaign, maybe they tackle something different like sleep. We can help identify where they care and where they aren’t feeling at their weakest. We can help boost their energy and let them feel like they are capable of further change.

She has recognized that most gratitude campaigns she sees are people using the positive psychology research that’s been the most publicized, which means the oldest research. Old ways of thinking – think about 3 good things that happened in your day and write it down in a journal. New way –  it becomes stale and one more thing to do on your “to do” list so you have to vary how you use gratitude.

MJ walks us through her health promotion model (sleep, food, mood and exercise). She focuses on where they are the most motivated and steers away from what has been most difficult in their lives. Oone small change makes you ready for the next change.

I ask MJ how can we move the industry past the biomedical model, how she applies positive psychology to her life and she leaves us with a tangible tip.

Website & Bio:

mjshaar.com

MJ was one of the first 50 people to graduate with a Master’s in Applied Positive Psychology from University of Pennsylvania. She is also certified as a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, a Personal Trainer and a Wellness Culture Coach. She has spent over 15 years studying, researching, coaching, and designing Applied Positive Psychology-based workshops for wellness professionals and organizations of all kinds. She has worked for prestigious wellness companies, Fortune 500 and 1000 Companies, universities and governmental agencies.

MJ is trained by the National Speakers Association and is one of the most sought-after experts in the wellness industry. She also has a  book Smarts and Stamina: The Busy Person’s Guide to Optimal Health and Performance thats appeared on Amazon’s Healthy Living Bestseller list several times in the US and in Canada.

 

 

 

 

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