Don’t worry BE HAPPY. Positive brains have a biological advantage thus reducing stress and boosting productivity. When we are happier, we are smarter and more motivated and therefore more likely to work towards our goals. Happiness shouldn’t be a distant reward. Success orbits around happiness – not the other way around.
It seems we put so much focus studying our career field or the career field that we settled for rather than studying on one of the greatest ares in life. Happiness. Nobody is born an expert or a professional in any field. After years of applied knowledge and experience one becomes familiar and comfortable with the area of focus, take a doctor going to med school. Why not dedicate a fraction of that time to consistently studying what makes YOU happy. Then maybe you can study relationships and communication after that. It’s not surprising what trading in some TV can do for a little reading.
“I’ve built my life around sharing the expression of my happiness with the intent to create a world full of happier people. Life’s better that way. Sharing sweat and delicious happens to rank pretty high on my list.”
There is a science of happiness; these are collected ideas from thought leaders who chose to pursue positive psychology and the science of happiness as an area of study:
How of Happiness – Sonja Lyubomirsky
Happiness advantage – Shawn Achor
Stumbling upon happiness – Dan Gilbert
The science says: About 50 percent of our happiness comes from our genes, according to a well-designed study of twins. But interestingly, University studies have shown that our environment can control the expression of our DNA. That means our environment, not our genetics, control who we are. When we change our environment, we can control the 50 percent of our happiness that is related to our genes.
“Our happiness level depend 50% on our genetics, 10% on circumstances and 40% on our intentional activities.”
Each of us is born with a pre-disposition to a certain level of happiness. This may be called the genetic set point, the level or point at which the happy state tends to stabilize, indifferent of what happen to us or we do. This pre-disposition is determined by characteristics inherited from our parents, especially temperamental and affective traits.
The remaining 40 percent of our happiness is totally in our control. We can introduce activities, people, things, mindsets, and beliefs that make us either happy or sad. It’s up to us. There’s only ten percent of our happiness that we can’t really control. We have an opportunity to significantly increase our happiness.
There are many actions you can take on a daily basis to improve your happiness on a daily basis that will over time permanently raise your happiness base line.
Under times of duress, when nerves are high, focusing on negative outcomes is more likely to drive mistakes. Known as the “undoing effect” and proven through re- search, it is much better to find 1-2 activities to focus on that can bring a smile and turn on the happiness advantage to reduce stress and boost positivity.
Each activity listed below not only gives us a quick boost of positive emotions, improving our performance and focus in the moment; but if performed habitually over time, each has been shown to help permanently raise our happiness baseline.
1. Meditation – helps to grow the left prefrontal cortex and is a powerful way to increase happiness. Just five minutes per day can help. Calm and contentment and heightened awareness. Meditation can permanently rewire the brain to lower stress and improve immune function,
2. Focus on a positive future event. Thinking about something positive in the future such as going to see a new movie, will create a moment of happiness as the anticipation lights up pleasure centers in the brain much the same as the actual event will.
3. Commit conscious acts of kindness – Give without keeping inventory – You will always be let down if you expect something in return. Give for the gift of giving!“True happiness consists in making others happy,” according to a Hindu proverb thus enhancing our mental health. Pick one small activity a day and try to practice 5 days a week. Needs to be deliberate and conscious to get the best benefit.
4. Infuse positively in our surroundings – Our physical environment has much impact over our wellbeing. You can use pictures of loved ones, make time to go outside, and reduce your exposure to TV especially violent TV. The less negative TV we watch, the happier we are.
5. Move – Exercise enhances mood and motivation and helps us to get in the flow and can be just as helpful as antidepressants. Exercise provides more long lasting impact by reducing stress and anxiety and improving a sense of mastery.
6. Use money to do things not get things. Money can buy happiness when you spend it on memorable events or activities especially with other people. Money spent on activities gives us longer lasting pleasure.
7. Practice Gratitude – be thankful for life. you are here now – Gratitude: “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.”
8. Committing to Your Goals – people who strive for something personally significant, whether it’s learning a new craft, changing careers, or raising moral children, are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations.
9. More FLOW activities – Flow is a state of intense absorption and involvement with the present moment. You’re totally immersed in what you’re doing, fully concentrating, and unaware of yourself. The activity you’re performing is challenging and engrossing, stretching your skills and expertise.
The keys to flow:
– There’s a clear challenge that fully engages your attention
– You have the skills to meet the challenge
– You get immediate feedback about how you are doing at each step
Research has shown that happiness can lead to more creativity and better out- comes. Even the smallest shots of happiness (such as a gift of candy) can give some- one a competitive edge on a test.
Call to action: Write down 5 things that give you a sense of authentic instant gratification and 5 that build on delayed gratification for your future self.
Next step: RSVP happiness in your daily and weekly schedule! Sounds simple but most really don’t do it!!!