6 Positivity Habits To Improve Your Life, with Melissa Schnapp – PS008

6 Positivity Habits To Improve Your Life – Episode Summary

Positive Life Coach, Melissa Schnapp gives us practical steps to build our positivity muscles.  She consciously went out looking for a  a way to build positivity in her own life, and more than that, she wanted to learn how to apply and teach it.  She’s a graduate of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology at University of Pennsylvania.

New Segment - The Positivity Lens

Before speaking with Melissa Schnapp, I introduce a new weekly segment called The Positivity Lens.  It's designed to encourage us to try out new positivity strategies each week so that we begin to build our positivity muscle.


Melissa SchnappMy lovely guest is Melissa Schnapp.  Melissa is Founder and President of LifeStep Coaching. As a Positive Life Coach, she also offers dynamic group presentations and workshops.  Melissa has been so energized about the value of positive psychology,  that she went off to the University of Pennsylvania to do the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP), which is the first master’s program to offer an in-depth study of the science of wellbeing and human flourishing.  It’s a great story ……and is a stellar example of Melissa living ‘positivity in action.’

There is a better way

Melissa, in her 20’s felt sad.  She was looking for ways to feel better.  She came across Dr. Martin Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism and loved the idea that we had control over our emotions. She was teaching school in the Bronx at the time and found that the children that were the most successful were the ones that were the most positive and the happiest. She wondered could that be learned? Can you teach someone to be more positive?  She found out that you can….and fast track forward, Melissa is now a certified life coach and helps people get unstuck and move forward in their lives.

A serendipitous moment – being at my best

Before signing up for the MAPP program at Uni of Pennsylvania, Melissa happened to be giving a workshop there to a sorority group, and Marty Seligman walked in. He actually finished a statistic Melissa was sharing with the class.  He complimented her on the information she was sharing and told her she was a dynamic speaker, and the following  year she was a student in his program.

Valuing yourself

“In that story when Dr. Seligman walked in, I was me at my best. Sharing tools that I had learned to better my own life as a young woman, mother and career person and here I was sharing with these future mothers and leaders of the world, that they, too have a choice to learn the tools to take charge of their own lives; and, I had Dr. Seligman’s blessing!”

Creating new habits to think and act differently

There are actions we can consciously cultivate – make it happen – and there are things that can emerge – let it happen.  It’s a combination.

Filling the bucket with  positive habits

Melissa has a wonderful metaphor of filling our bucket with positive habits, forcing the negative ones out.  Below are the six habits she highly recommends to fill our buckets with.

  1. Become aware of what we tell ourselves.
    • What’s our own self talk?
    • What’s the % of positive to negative?
  2. Gratitude, cultivate the mindset to look for the good
    • What is the % of good things that happen versus bad things?
    • When we look for good, we find it.
    • Keep a gratitude journal – write down what we’re grateful for, even if it’s just three things.  Doing this at night is great because we sleep on those good memories. This helps us to begin to notice the good.
  3. Live mindfully
    • Stop to be in this moment now – catch yourself going off into some rumination or story that has nothing to do with the present moment.  As Ellen Langer – a well known author and researcher on the topic says: “the simple act of actively noticing things”- the beauty of the world around us.  Become active to notice what’s around you
    • Meditation helps us to become more mindful – even just sitting in stillness for only 5 minutes – connect with our breath – it’s a natural drug
    • Being out in nature – take time out to enjoy natural beauty
    • Balance – Designate time for you to be with you
  4. Being in flow
    • Doing an activity that you lose yourself in – that you don’t think about anything else – so you are fully engaged
    • It could be sports or a hobby you enjoy that you’re absorbed in and offer you a combination of challenge and ease
  5. Build connection with others
    • Stop and connect with others – even in your day -to-day activities:  with cab drivers, with people in the supermarket.
    • The book Love 2.0 by Barb Fredrikson documents for us how that the smallest, sincerest connections provide opportunities for us to experiences of micro-moments of love which build our positivity resonance: building a platform of positive habits to really live in love.
  6. Live in learning mode
    • Quote of Sir Winston Churchill: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
    • Look what you can learn from every moment.

Positivity and negativity

We need negativity, but not past its usefulness.  Negativity can create movement toward what we want.

The tools of positivity help people move toward forward action and resilience.  We need those tools to develop our strength to withstand the negativity that comes our way on a day to day basis.

What is positivity?

Melissa’s definition:

“Positivity is a learned skill set that you can chose to apply in every day life. It enables  you to extract authentic joy everyday from the littlest to the biggest moments of your day.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode

“[amazon template=iframe image&asin=1400078393]
Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life”

“[amazon template=iframe image&asin=1933403195]
Appreciative Inquiry Handbook, For Leaders of Change, 2nd Edition”

“[amazon template=iframe image&asin=0201523418]
Mindfulness (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)”

“[amazon template=iframe image&asin=0385347316]
Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence”

“[amazon template=iframe image&asin=0061339202]
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)”

“[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B008BM0LMG]
Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection”



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