Hooters Hall

Positive Making

My 100% handmade sweater

Can you remember the first time you made something?
The sense achievement, pride in what you had accomplished. Can you remember the compliments from family and friends or if you kept it to yourself the quiet satisfaction in finishing what you had started? How long ago was that? Can you remember all the other positive making moments since then? Or do you find yourself dwelling on the errors, the projects that you never finished, the skills that you haven’t quite mastered?
This week I’ve been working on my Positive Making Timeline. This is based on the Positive Lifeline exercise used in positive psychology. It’s a technique to help us overcome that negativity bias that our brains are so fond of. Positive psychology is the science of positive aspects of human life, such as happiness, wellbeing and flourishing. It can be summarised in the words of its founder, Martin Seligman, as the
‘scientific study of optimal human functioning [that] aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive’.
It’s important to remember that positive psychology is not the same things as positive thinking. Positive psychology is an evidence-based science encompassing a variety of topics. Here’s a mind map from positivepsychology.org.uk that summarises the science.

To create a positive lifeline, take a sheet of paper, start at your birth on the left side of the paper and draw a line across the paper (or several sheets of paper depending on your age) ending with your current age now.

Between your birth and now many things have happened that have impacted you in a positive way. The aim is to think about these events or milestones and mark them on the life line.

Even the smallest of things like getting a gold star in school or someone giving you a compliment that you can remember, are important enough to be included.
Some other categories that can be put on the life line include:
• Important people in your life (put their name on the time line when you first met)
• Important happy events
• Times when you felt especially joyful in your life
• Special achievements
In adapting this exercise for a Positive Making Timeline I’ve simply narrowed the focus to my making, starting with the first thing I remember making: a simple stuffed toy in a school craft lesson, remembering the clay pots I made as a teenager, my first quilt, first handspun yarn, a particularly perfect pair of hand-knitted socks, the fair Isle hat I designed and knitted, my handwoven Shetland rainbow blanket, the handspun hand painted yarn that a fibre artist I admire complimented and my biggest achievement the 100% handmade sweater that I designed and made for my husband.

Why though? How does this help my making?
The positive lifeline exercise is designed to increase the quantity and intensity of the positive deposits in your personal memory bank, in the unconscious mind. It is helps foster a feeling of happiness and well-being which facilitates sustained Mindfulness practice, overcoming the inherent negativity bias that we all have.
My aim with my Positive Making Timeline is to foster that sense of happiness and wellbeing within my making, facilitating mindful making and as a plus boosting my making self-esteem and creativity.
I have written my Positive Making Timeline because I find writing helps me reflect and connect with the positive memories, I have had to push myself to focus on the positive and take ownership of it which is an interesting aspect to reflect on in itself. But if writing isn’t your thing there are alternatives, you could make a photo montage or record yourself reminiscing about your positive making milestones. However you choose to express yourself why not give it a go and bring more positivity into your making.

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