Are you happy?
If not, did you realize that you can train your brain to be happy?
In his funny and enlightening 2011 Tedx Talk, The happy secret to better work, positive psychology advocate Shawn Achor, explains that changing how we view the world will impact our future happiness.
As it turns out, the happiest people on earth are those who — wait for it — CHOOSE happiness. They choose to be positive, content and healthy. And they act on that choice by surrounding themselves with positive people, looking on the bright side of life, practicing gratitude, and committing to a simple, sustainable, healthy living routine.
Or we can choose negativity. We can play the victim and wonder why we never reach our health and lifestyle goals.
We can choose imperfect progress (and keep doing it day-after-day-after-day)…
OR we can choose to get bogged down in fear and justify why we didn’t follow through on a simple action (because of X, Y, Z).
Many people think they will be happier when they lose the weight, get the promotion, or buy the better house. But in my experience, when we lead with happiness, health, career success, and quality of life will follow.
Changing how you think is the first step to changing how you live, and you can do that by choosing happiness today.
Step One: Journal
Journaling about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to relive it. Doing this encourages you to find joy and value in your every day experiences, and releases feel-good hormones like dopamine and oxytocin, which will help you relax at night.
Step Two: Exercise
Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters. When you move your body, you are building muscle, strengthening bone density, generating energy, and doing wonders for your positive mindset. The benefits of exercise are physical (superficial appearance and long-term health), mental and emotional. Morning exercise also encourages you to make other healthy decisions later in the day.
Step Three: Reframe
You will undoubtedly face some challenges as you tread your path towards a life of health and self-love. But in choosing to be more positive, you can reframe “failure” as “feedback,” and appreciate that every new opportunity is a chance for growth. Reframing your experiences in this way will keep you motivated and accelerate your progress, and you’ll find happiness in moments that previously would have caused you stress.
Step Four: Meditate
“Meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve created,” says Achor. When it comes to health and self-love, I’m always banging on about choosing a simple strategy that works for you and putting your blinders on to everything else. We are constantly bombarded with more information, more requests, and more demands on our time. This can stretch us very thin, if we let it. Meditation helps slow things down so that you can reprioritize those lifestyle habits that matter most to you.
I hope you’ll watch Achor’s 12-minute talk – it’s really very funny and will hopefully leave you feeling that little bit more positive.
P.S. interested in how I buy happiness? Check out this post.