What does goodness mean to you?
I think of goodness as more of a verb than a noun. It is about doing good, generating goodness and actively appreciating all the good around you. It is so tempting to focus on the negative - to fixate on what went wrong or what was left undone. Goodness is a mindset--reminding oneself to look up, to look around, to connect with others, to cultivate curiosity and to contribute to the world.
Goodness is a mindset - reminding oneself to look up, to look around, to connect with others, to cultivate curiosity and to contribute to the world.
Where do you find goodness?
I find goodness outside of myself. In the micro moments and interactions. People think happiness only comes from within. Of course it is important to feel personally strong happiness (and goodness), but mostly it comes from doing things with and for others.
Who is someone who brings goodness into your life? What do they do/how do they do it?
Not to be hokey but I think everyone we meet brings goodness into our lives. You just have to be open to it. Every single time we have a positive interaction with another person—be it a stranger or someone close—I think there is a little more goodness in the world. There is that nice quote about people we don’t know: “There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet.”
What is something that you have seen/read/heard lately that has brought a smile to your face?
I just read Lenore Skenazy’s un-put-downable book Free Range Kids. It is full of excellent parenting advice and also very funny. It made me laugh so hard I was getting strange looks from fellow passengers on a flight.
Every single time we have a positive interaction with another person—be it a stranger or someone close—I think there is a little more goodness in the world.
What are some ways we can become aware of the goodness in our lives?
One of the best ways to bring more goodness into our lives is to look for it! It’s always there. It’s just that sometimes we forget to pay attention to it. That’s what I love about Project Goodness—it is a wonderful reminder that goodness is everywhere.
After a patient told psychiatrist Samantha Boardman that every session only made her feel worse, Samantha realized, “She was right. I knew how to dial down her misery, but I knew nothing about how to build up her strengths and cultivate wellbeing.” So Samantha went back to school, got a Masters, on top of her MD, in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and she’s been practicing Positive Psychiatry ever since.