I just watched a powerful talk from Harvard professor Shawn Achor about the research behind happiness and the power of a positive mind. It confirmed what I have always known and felt.
So for those of you who like your facts, here are some of the effects of happiness:
- Creativity triples
- Intelligence rises
- Productivity goes up by 31%
- 40% more likely to receive a promotion
- 39% more likely to live to 94 years of age
Your stress goes down and basically every business and educational outcome goes up when we choose happiness first!
Now you may think, this is all grand, but life is a bit of a mess at the moment. I’m busy, overwhelmed, exhausted (in which case you may want to check out my online program, just saying 😉 but basically happiness is not the first thing on your mind, or it may seem impossible given what’s going on for you. That’s why I love this quote:
“Happiness is a choice, even when life is difficult.” – Shawn Achor
I know that is not always easy and there will be periods in your life when finding something to be happy or grateful for is a huge challenge.
But I also know that when you make that effort it will help you shift how you feel. It won’t take your problems away but it will help you feel a little better, and from there it will be easier to move forward. I know this from my own experience and also from what I noticed at the Gratitude Project I did last year.
During those 33 days there were plenty of participants with little to be grateful for but it was so powerful to watch the shift when they allowed themselves to see things in a new light: sunshine on an early morning or the fresh leaves on a tree. It doesn’t have to be big to bring you joy for a moment.
It just requires some focus and a little bit of your time. If you can find a way to feel happy NOW then everything shifts.
Let me share some practical and easy examples of how you can embrace happiness:
- Share 3 things you are grateful for (and take a moment to really feel it)
- Sing a song
- Journal 2 minutes per day about a positive experience
- Meditate for 2 minutes
- ….. (fill in what you enjoy doing)
And the good news is that it is contagious. Ever noticed how you respond when someone smiles at you? The brain responds in such a way that when it sees someone smiling it thinks you are smiling. And it instructs your mouth to pull up in a smile.
Actually that reminds me of another fast and surefire way to increase your mood: force yourself to smile. Even if you don’t feel like it, even if you can think of no reason to smile at all, by making your face smile your brain will produce the same happy chemicals as if you really intended to smile and before you know it the feeling spreads throughout your body. And voila! Happiness 🙂
The reason I think happiness is your number 1 success factor is, well, everything I described above. It will not only help you do your work more efficiently and with more creativity and accuracy, you will also feel better. What’s not to like?
And it’s so easy. All it takes is a few minutes and your awareness. Enjoy!
And I would love to hear what your favourite way is to induce happiness, please share below so we can all benefit from your experience!
If you want more info then check out these resources I love:
Shawn Achor: The life-altering power of a positive mind
Gretchen Rubin: Surprising, simple ways to fill your life with joy
Martin E.P. Seligman: Authentic Happiness (book)