Want to know how to thrive in life? First of all, you need to know what it means to ”thrive” which is what psychological coach and consultant for The Thrive Programme, Laura Donaghy-Spargo, is here to talk to us about. If you’ve ever wanted to know the secret to feeling great every day, you should carry on reading this article because it’s only going to get better and you’re going to learn so much. In this interview, Laura Donaghy-Spargo tells us what it means to thrive, how to thrive in life and why it all starts with treating ourselves right.
What exactly does it mean to ‘’thrive?’’
When a person is thriving they are happy in all areas of their life, but this is not down to luck or external forces – they have developed the psychological skills and resources to manage their thinking well and create this happiness. After all, it’s possible for someone who appears to have everything a person could want, to still be unhappy with their life. When a person is thriving they are not merely existing or surviving, they feel positive, empowered and excited by what life has to offer and they see how they can gain new strength and skills by embracing challenges or change.
What simple things can we do every day in order to thrive in life?
Working towards thriving involves making some important changes to the way we view ourselves and the world around us. We can learn to be kind and compassionate to ourselves as we would be to someone we love, setting ourselves realistic and achievable goals and standards. We can start to notice all of the positive things we do on a day-to-day basis that can so easily go unnoticed and praise ourselves for these, as well as processing the things in our lives that we can be grateful for. We can begin to step outside of our comfort zones and realise that we are capable of more than we are currently doing.
What do people who thrive not do?
Thriving people’s self-esteem does not depend on what other people think of them, therefore it tends not to fluctuate but remains stable in different contexts involving different people. They also don’t give themselves a hard time but rather learn something positive from experiences that haven’t gone too well. They don’t brood over the past or create anxiety when thinking about the future. They are not perfectionists and don’t think in extremes, nor do they look around for negatives or imagine the worst case scenario in a bid to feel prepared. They don’t need to over control things because they don’t feel helpless.
In her book ‘’Thrive,’’ Arianna Huffington says a meaningful life is about giving to others. Do you agree and if so, could you explain why?
I believe that giving time or resources to other people can add great meaning to our lives and is intrinsically important to humans. How we treat ourselves however needs to be our initial priority, because everything else positive grows from there, including our impact on others. I have spoken to many people who are kind and compassionate to other people and yet they micro-analyse themselves so harshly and critically in a way that they would never emotionally punish another person. Someone experiencing high levels of social anxiety, for example,is likely to already be overly concerned with being good enough, nice enough, worthy enough in the eyes of other people, so giving to others in order to achieve a meaningful life is best preceded by the development of high self-esteem. This ensures that the motivation for giving is not to achieve external validation, fuelling the social anxiety, but for more positive reasons. When we are thriving and have a good relationship with ourselves we no longer require this external approval because our self-esteem is high and we can affect the lives of others in a range of positive ways too.
…and does that include animals too?
I believe that animals deserve the same love and respect that we should be showing to ourselves and to others. We humans are in an intellectually privileged position in this world and therefore have a responsibility to help animals, who don’t have a voice, to thrive in it.
If you could send a message to the world, what would it be?
Naturally I’m a bit biased, but I would encourage people to make positive life changes with The Thrive Programme!