Dearest lovely readers,
Gosh it has gotten grey all of sudden here. Things are a little difficult for me at the moment given I am currently coming off some medication, it is tough side effects but I am doing it. Let us get straight into today’s topic: engagement.
What is engagement?
Engagement refers to being able to fully commit to a task, finding a ‘flow’ and being completely absorbed in what you are doing at the present moment. It means you recognise you are good at what you are doing, feel appropriately challenged though still achievable, and it causes positive emotions. When you are engaged, it means you can adapt the tasks to your skill level allowing for more challenges and can use your strengths as much as possible.
Seligman himself describes it as being “one with the music” and follows Csikszentmihalyi’s (1989) concept of “flow”, where one can be completely absorbed into the present moment. It occurs when the correct balance of strengths and challenge are found.
A key way to find engagement is through using your “character strengths”. Now character strengths relate to 24 elements that make us who we are. They fall into six categories: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. These were found based on the ideologies of major religions and philosophical proponents.
(Note: you can use the VIA survey to find out your key strengths or here under ‘questionnaires’)
So, how do you incorporate engagement into your life?
That is the thing, there is no one way. But, I can give you a few ideas. If you’re into journalling feel free to use the prompts below.
- What are your strengths?
- What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy?
- How does _(hobby)_ make you feel?
- What do you want to do more of?
- Can you schedule that in?
- What makes you lose track of time?
But otherwise, if you feel you already have activities you love doing and find yourself losing time to, whether embroidery, knitting, sculpting, arts, literature, sports. Keep doing it, add more if you can. Using our free time for engagement can bring forth so much connection to ourselves, and others if you are in classes or teams. It generates joy and abundance.
My personal story
One thing I have been struggling with the past few years is the kind of work I want to do. I want something that brings the right kind of challenge and puts my own strengths to use. When I first started my degree I wasn’t sure what I would do beyond “Psychologist”. Now, there are SO many ways I can use my degree, and my passion. For a start I created this blog. I am seeking out roles where I can be engaged because it the largest part of anyone’s life if they are able to work. I now know I want to work preferably in the public or charitable sector, I need homebased because I have strength in being able to work from one specific spot (not to mention easier on my disabilities). I want to help people, I want to be front line rather than a researcher. Researching, isn’t entirely my strength.
When I was so low, I lost interest and engagement in anything that wasn’t partying or being up at 5am to study. But naturally, as you know, I have started goal to keep me engaged in my hobbies, and goodness it works. I find I can get lost in my writing, and my reading and mindful walking.
The beauty of having not only character strengths, but recognising your other strengths outside of that. I struggled in finding what I wanted but character strengths let me recognise beyond what I initially thought, they have helped guide me to find more engagement and new platforms.
Let me know your thoughts!