While mainstream psychology has traditionally spent its attention and resources on what is going wrong with a person, on their weaknesses and disease, Positive Psychology is a branch of psychology which posits that we must pay equal amounts of attention and importance to what is going right! It believes the study of happiness, fulfilment and well-being is as deserving of study as illness, dysfunction and depression. Essentially it is about what works rather than what doesn’t. The absence of depression is not happiness and numerous studies have proven that spending all of our energy on eliminating our weaknesses or disease does not mean that once eradicated, we will finally be strong or happy. At best this may bring us to functioning but still far from flourishing.
To be clear Positive Psychology is not ‘happiology’ nor is it merely ‘thinking positively’ as its name might suggest. While happiness is one of the interests of Positive Psychology, it is equally concerned with topics such as resilience, strengths, states of flow, curiosity, relationships, meaning, purpose and engagement. Positive Psychology doesn’t try to pretend the bad doesn’t exist, but rather gives us tools to deal with the not so great things life may throw at us. Different from self-help or motivational speaking, it is first and foremost a science. There is nothing that it offers that hasn’t been tested or isn’t based on extensive research and studies.
Understanding how people can perform at their best and brightest has never been more important than today. The definition of what it means to be “successful” is commonly being questioned and more and more, it’s continually being redefined. Positive psychology is about moving from functioning to flourishing and from what’s wrong to what’s strong. Its focus is on what conditions and experiences make for wellbeing and authentic happiness.
There are several ways to work with Mercedes including private coaching, workshops, speaking events and masterclasses. Please read below for more information.
Positive Psychology Coaching can be of immense benefit for anyone seeking to improve their sense of happiness and wellbeing. It fuses the practice of coaching with tools and interventions that have emerged as a result of science backed positive psychology studies. Most of the core themes of positive psychology are highly relevant for both coach and client. From Strengths to Mindset to Relationships and Resilience, positive psychology has something to contribute to almost every aspect of coaching.
Coaching begins with a free 30 minute initial introductory session. Mercedes recognises that you may come to coaching for one issue however over the course of working together it may come to light that at the heart of the problem, is another issue all together. For this reason she works with her clients over 1 hr sessions at a time, with no minimum or maximum amount of sessions. This allows for the scope of the work to unfold organically and naturally, with no pressure to commit to coaching for any length or time, nor finish within a certain timeframe. Mercedes offers both career and personal coaching with her specialties being:
Getting to know yourself is the best place to start in coaching. Strengths are a natural way of thinking, feeling and acting and what most people don’t realise, is that it’s enough to know what you’re good at and focus on it. The mistake lies in trying to be all things to all people. In these sessions we work deep to discover your unique strengths and how to leverage them to attain your goals. We explore which of your inherent strengths is best suited to which goal and equally as important, examine where you may be overplaying your strengths and how and when to reign them in.
Job Crafting & Career Coaching:
These sessions use an unconventional approach to career change. They explore the “test and learn” model to change versus the more commonly used ‘plan and implement’ model. The thought behind it being who we are and what we do are inherently connected, and a result of years of action. Studies have shown however that to change that connection in order to obtain a different result, we must also resort to action. These sessions may also involve Job Crafting, which is where we examine how you can possibly change the job or career you’re in rather than the job or career itself. A powerful tool in re-imagining and re-inventing your work life so the job you have becomes the job you want versus changing your career entirely.
Work/Life Compromise Coaching:
Designed with the working parent in mind, Mercedes knows first hand the challenges and issues that come with both raising a family whilst building your own business or pursuing a career or vocation. These sessions can be invaluable for anyone finding it difficult to juggle the various demands on their time. Rather than trying to strike a ‘balance’ which can often bring with it even more pressure to fit everything in, more realistic is to figure out what you value and what you are and aren’t willing to compromise. From there we can begin to move from guilt to growth and create a plan, schedule and overall way of living that is congruent with your priorities and values.
Y.O.G.A. Model of Coaching
Mercedes has developed what she calls the Y.O.G.A. model of coaching. She combines an element of yogic breathing, seated stretches, mindfulness to help the body and mind de-stress before getting into deep coaching.
Y: The ” Y” in the model stands for both “Yoga” and “Why”. We begin with mindful breathing and simple yoga stretches to help the mind and body de-stress before diving into the actual coaching. This instantly allows for more perspective and better clarity around the matter to be discussed. We then proceed to the “Why” you have come to coaching and how best I can serve you.
O: This is where we explore your Options. Both those you have explored and those you have yet to explore.
G: We then outline your Goals, more importantly specific goals rather than abstract. This includes setting realistic timeframes to achieve the goal.
A: Finally we lay out a plan of Action of how best to achieve the goals as defined in the previous step.
Cost: £165 per hour session
Where: Depending on her travel schedule, when in London her sessions either take place at her private meeting space at Yeotown London, near Bayswater W2 or, online if not available in person.
Mercedes offers a variety of popular workshops focusing on the fusion of Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Strengths Based Mindfulness and Positive Psychology. Ranging from 2hrs to a full day in length, these sessions are customisable to suit varying groups and themes. See below for an example of the workshops and positive psychology inspired sessions or master classes with Mercedes.
Absolutely. Positively. Happy!
From Functioning to Flourishing
with Vinyasa Flow Yoga + Positive Psychology
According to Dr. Angeles Arrien, in many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are considered to be the four universal healing salves according to Dr. Arrien. In this daylong workshop we will use the power of Vinyasa Flow Yoga and Positive Psychology to explore all four and experience the difference between functioning and flourishing.
Beginning the morning with a powerful, fluid and creative vinyasa flow yoga practice, we will remind ourselves of the power of movement and dance and its ability to help us feel alive and connected. In the afternoon we will experience the power of singing as we move through mantra and sound to help dislodge that which weighs heavy on our hearts.
Mercedes will spend time discussing various positive psychology research around “Flow” and the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and why the happiest people are shown to be those who experience Flow states on a regular basis. Using positive psychology interventions, we will partner up and become enchanted by each other’s stories and then coach each other towards our strengths in various yoga poses.
Finally to end the day Mercedes will move the group through meditation and breath work and experience the comfort of the sweet sound of silence…
Absolutely. Positively. Strong.
Strengths Building through Vinyasa Flow Yoga + Positive Psychology
During this unique workshop Mercedes explores both physical strengths and character strengths and how to utilise them more effectively in order to create a shift from functioning to flourishing.
In a yoga practice, we often measure strength as the capacity to execute difficult and challenging postures, especially those which involve going upside down or balancing on our arms. It’s easy to become hung up on where we are weak or what we are lacking while attempting to integrate any given pose into our practice. Most of the time we don’t realise that our energy would be much better spent in trying to identify what is working well for us in our bodies, and building upon where we are already innately strong.
Positive Psychology is commonly referred to as ‘the Science of Happiness’ and one where the study of Strengths plays a large part. Where traditional psychology tends to focus on our weakness and what is going wrong, Positive Psychology research has shown it is just as important to focus on our strengths and what is going right. During this workshop Mercedes combines vinyasa flow yoga and the science of positive psychology, two practices which lend perfectly to each other as both are concerned with human flourishing and potential.
The session consists of a challenging, interactive, full spectrum vinyasa flow practice. We will work hard to identify our individual physical strengths within the pose and explore how we may further build upon them in order to better understand how to grow a strengths based practice from the inside out. This workshop also explores Positive Psychology + Strengths Building, primarily how to identify our own unique character strengths and more importantly how we can better utilise them in our everyday lives to enhance our experiences of work, love and play.
The day closes with a restorative session and meditation while exploring the new research around the benefits of developing a mindfulness practice based around our key character strengths.
Please note participants are encouraged to take the free character strengths survey offered by the VIA Institute on Character ahead of the workshop in order to get the maximum benefit of the material covered. The VIA survey can be found at https://www.viacharacter.org/www
Absolutely. Positively. Yoga.
Vinyasa Flow Yoga + Positive Psychology Coaching
What exactly is the ‘Flow’ in Vinyasa Flow Yoga? From a yoga perspective, often times its considered a physical movement, fluid and seamless in nature, connecting one pose to the next. To solely relegate Flow to a physical endeavour however robs the practitioner of being able to truly experience a state which science has shown, can be key in experiencing more meaning and purpose in life.
Positive psychology is often referred to as ‘the Science of Happiness’ and one where the concept of Flow plays a large part. Where traditional psychology tends to focus on weakness and what is going wrong, positive psychology suggests it is just as important to focus on strengths and what is going right. It’s an applied science and one which presents the concept of Flow as the complete absorption in what one does. It is when we encounter a challenge that tests our skills, and yet our skills and capacities are such that it is just about possible to meet this challenge. Both the challenge and the skills are at high levels, stretching us almost to the limit. If challenges exceed skills, one can become anxious and shut down. If skills exceed challenges, we usually become bored (like smart kids at school). Neither of these two scenarios result in flow and often times this is mimicked in our yoga practice. Ultimately Flow is not about what we do but rather how we do it. Where the metaphysical approach to self-development can be abstract, subjective and unattainable for most people to apply to everyday living, this daylong workshop will explore Flow from a more accessible, scientifically proven perspective and what it can mean to both our yoga and real life.
Mercedes combines vinyasa flow yoga and the science of positive psychology, two practices which lend perfectly to each other as both are concerned with human flourishing and potential. The morning session consists of a challenging, interactive, full spectrum yoga practice where there will be opportunity for the students to be coached around obstacles they may be facing in relation to experiencing Flow both physically and mentally. The practice interweaves three powerful positive psychology concepts; Curiosity, a Growth Mindset and the Permission to be Human. During this workshop Mercedes explores the scientific findings on Flow and why people who experience it on a regular basis are shown to lead happier and more meaningful lives.
Using interactive exercises she introduces the science of Positive Psychology, some of its more commonly used interventions, and how it can help us lead a life where we thrive and not just survive. To end the sessions Mercedes guides a fluid, meditation infused restorative practice complete with mindfulness techniques that can be used anytime, anywhere to encourage Flow. Notepad and pen required.