the happiness advantage
Happy International Day Of Happiness! On a day like today, I’m grateful for my innate ability to keep positive and feel the joy in nearly every day. How about you? Be honest with yourself. Are you fuelled by joy or are you held back by an internal force of pessimism?
As an optimist, I always try to find the bright side of any situation. I’m fortunate in that I generally don’t have trouble finding a happy place. That, however, is not so easy for some people. Unfortunately, there are some among us whose brains seem to be programmed to look for the negativity in any given situation. ☹️
When I realized that today (March 20th) is the #InternationalDayOfHappiness, I reread this post and decided to recirculate it because I was so moved by the comment of a (late) friend who had been an avid reader of my blog. In her comment, she said how much she appreciated my words of encouragement and positivity. It’s funny how we can be so influenced by personal words that may have been written so many years before. Our words can be powerful. Use them wisely.
enjoying the ripple effect of the happiness advantage
The Happiness Advantage is the name of a book by Shawn Achor, who teaches Positive Psychology at Harvard University. Achor tells us that happiness is a work ethic, and that happiness will increase the odds of our being successful in our life and career. Achor says we actually have to train our brains to be happy.
By sharing some tips I’ve learned from life experience and via happiness experts like Shawn Anchor I hope to help those who have difficulty focusing on the positive things in life. Learning the advantages of being happy can not only change, but lengthen your life. Here are some tips to get you on your way:
1) Dedicate a notebook to be your “Gratitude Journal” and every day, write down three things that you are grateful for. Try to make them different each day, to broaden the way you interpret your life. Having gratitude gives you the attitude to put a smile on your face and the face of others.
A Personal Note: When I was alone, keeping a gratitude journal saved my sanity and increased my ability to feel gratitude. Now that I am in a wonderful relationship, my husband and I take time every night to share our day’s highlights during pillow talks. Upping your ability to express gratitude can really increase your ability to be consumed by positivity and happiness.
2) Double your chances of increased happiness by writing for two minutes each day about something that made you happy over the past 24 hours. Be specific and focus on the positive!
3) Exercise or do something fun and active for 15 minutes each day. Exercise releases serotonin in our bodies and makes us feel happy. But so can engaging in activities that push our happy button such as taking a walk in nature, petting your cat, or even eating a piece of artisan dark chocolate.
4) Add three smiles to your day by smiling at three people over the course of the day and watch the ripple effect take place.
5) Recharge your happiness battery through meaningful social connections. Take a moment to connect with someone who could use a friend or some encouragement. Praise the people who have impacted your life in a positive way. For the most personal impact, visit someone special or pick up the phone to let them know you care. Even sending an e-mail can touch a heart. And even better, send a personalized card for an enduring impact. Some of us still really appreciate the impact of just the right greeting card.
6) Mediate for at least two minutes every morning, focusing on deeply breathing in and out. This is a powerful tool to help you focus on the task at hand or what you need to accomplish that day.
Try these tips and see if you can get the happiness advantage to work for you. And please let me know how you make out and if you’ve read Achor’s book or another great book on the art of happiness. We can never get too much happiness in our lives!