Galvanised by the pandemic, Florence left her job to embark on a journey of self-discovery in 2021. She decided to explore wellbeing and positive psychology with TSPP and is now seeing the world around her with fresh eyes.
Senior Marketing and PR Manager – Hong Kong
Specialist Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, 2021
Q: How has learning about Positive Psychology changed your life?
Positive psychology has changed the way I communicate and connect with my friends and family. I used to be quick in wanting to give advice from my own perspective of their matters. Hence, I struggled in being empathetic towards my loved ones.
After studying Positive Psychology, I noticed how helpful it is to deeply listen to others and consider things from their perspective. When I actively listen and speak less, my friends tell me that they feel great speaking to me. They feel that they are being genuinely heard, and that I pay attention to their feelings and emotions. I am very grateful for this and I also believe that it is really important to make time for people and connect with them.
Q: Have you seen a difference in the way you interact with your family?
I live separately from my family, but I usually visit them once a week. I used to skip these visits occasionally, especially when I had too much work on my plate.
During this course, I decided to make a change – whenever I went to visit, I will try my best to stay with them for a bit longer. If I cannot visit them, I try to call and talk to them, which I seldom did in the past.
I believe that it is important for me to just listen to them share about their day – or anything at all – so they can feel that I care for them. For me, it is not easy to talk to my parents as I get impatient easily. However, learning about positive psychology has reminded me to be present and avoid jumping into quick conclusions. This helped me establish healthier communication with my parents.
Q: What did you find most memorable about the course?
There was a very impactful experience that I encountered during the course. The lecturer, Jana, asked us: “If a fairy comes and grants you a change in your life overnight, what is the first thing you would see when you wake up?” I was quite impressed and surprised with what came to mind – it was an image of my dad sitting at home, having breakfast and sharing with me about one of his cycling expeditions. My dad really loves cycling, but a bad accident rendered him unable to cycle that often. After a while, I think he started feeling depressed, and stopped sharing about the cycling experiences that made him happy. This struck me – I realised that I enjoyed hearing him talk about them, because it showed that he was happy, healthy and enjoying what he was doing. Right now, I don’t see that in my home anymore.
I needed to do something to address that. I cannot help him physically, but I can contribute to the betterment of his mental and emotional health. I started initiating conversations with: What did you do today? Did you go cycling? Where did you go? How was the scenery and things like that? It isn’t a very in-depth conversation, but my dad appreciates it. He feels happy when he talks to me, so I think that helps a bit. I’m still trying to figure out what more I can do, but I think that’s a good start.
Q: How else have you applied what you learn to help the people around you?
For my final project of the Specialist Diploma course, I designed a half-day wellness retreat with Pastel Nagomi Art experience for my friends. As a mindfulness practice, they created their own pastel drawing with my guidance. They created beautiful drawings, felt calmer, happier and less stressful afterwards. In addition, they had a sense of achievement completing the drawing and were keen to draw and share this practice with their friends too. I am glad that the workshop is helpful for them and will continue to schedule similar workshops with other friends.
Q: What is your biggest takeaway from your education?
Strengths – a very basic concept yet a very powerful one. Personally, it is very easy to identify people’s faults and flaws. However, the biggest takeaway from TSPP education is that I learnt how to look more towards people’s strengths, and leverage on that. I usually encourage my friends to take the VIA strengths profile test for them to identify their strengths. It is an objective way of identifying one’s strengths.
Once, I had a friend who was quite upset with her job. She felt uncomfortable with the fact that her boss never listened to her comments and was very closed-minded. She struggled as she could not be honest with herself and her boss. Interestingly, when we looked at her strengths report, her top strength was Honesty. I connected the dots and realised that she was not herself at work, which resulted in an internal conflict. I shared this with her, and she completely agreed with me! Moving forward, She tried to look for alternate opportunities to reflect her personal voice at work. From this encounter, I felt that it’s actually quite helpful just to share about what I’ve learnt to the people around me.
Additionally, as someone who is less inclined to talk about her feelings, I had found it difficult in expressing or describing the varying types of moods and emotions. Through the course, I had the opportunity to expand my emotional vocabulary. For example, I learnt that being angry comes with a spectrum with varying intensities. This helped me to better understand and empathise with how others are feeling.
Q: Any advice for people unsure if pursuing further education is worth it?
Go for it, as it is a great avenue for self-discovery.
Inspired to embark on your own transformation journey? Find out more on the course that Florence completed.
Are you a TSPP alumni or current student and keen to connect with like-minded people like Florence? Join TSPP Ripples Network Night – a series of networking workshops exclusively for TSPP alumni to collaborate and create ripples of change in the world together!