Shawn Achor, an American author of the best seller book “Happiness Advantage” made his career on studying “happiness”. Shawn believes that as a society we have focused our attention on productivity and completely forgot about the meaning of our lives along with happiness.
According to Shawn traditional formula of happiness: “I will be happy when I achieve or get something” is fundamentally wrong. We should be able to be happy in a present moment, content with what we already have while still working on our goals.
So what is the recipe for a happy life according to the advocate of positive psychology? Let’s take a look.
1. Grateful for today
Every night, before going to bed, spare at least 5 minutes to write down 3 things you are grateful for today. What happened throughout the day that made you happy? The idea is to condition yourself to see new things to be grateful for every single day and never repeat them.
2. Duplicate a positive experience
Think about a positive thing that happened in the last 24 hours. Spent several minutes “re-living” the moment by talking about it and try to find at least 4 details about it. When you go through the particular situation one more time (positive or negative) the brain begins to magnify the significance. The more details you include in the description of the positive moment the more positive emotions you are going to receive at the end of the exercise.
3. Happy 15
Science has proved it many times, exercise makes a positive impact on our psychological state. The good news is that you don’t have to “live at the gym” 7 days a week. As little as 15 min of exercise a day can positively affect your emotional state. Take your dog for a 15 minute walk, go for a short jog, or do a simple bodyweight circuit at home.
In addition, Achor adds that out brain looks at the completed exercise activity as a victory that spreads to other actions throughout the day.
Spare couple of minutes every day for doing absolutely nothing, but seating still, turning off your brain and watching your breath. Even a very short conscious break can help you to lower your stress and bring you to the more calm and happier state.
5. Acts of kindness
Doing good for other people simply because you can is a great simulator of happiness. Try sending a positive message to a person you know in the morning, buying a coffee for a next person in line or holding a door for someone. Little things add up and they do make us happier.
6. Social connections
Social connections affect success, happiness, and even life longevity. Besides, the feeling of social support is extremely important for our happiness. That doesn’t mean we always need to be surrounded by people (some of us are introverts after all). But rather be in connection with friends, family, and people that are important to us.
Happiness is something we all have to work on. If you are currently in not so happy place – you have nothing to lose. So give these tips a try and let me know what you think.