I recently came across this great video of a TEDtalk by Shawn Achor. He studies the science of happiness. The video is about 12 minutes long and I highly encourage you to watch the whole thing, however, I’ve simply included the last 4 minutes below because that’s my favorite part. He shares how many people assume that our external world is predictive of our happiness levels, when in reality…if we know everything about someone’s external world, we can only predict about 10% of his/her long-term happiness. The other 90% is predicted by how your brain processes the world around you. Amazing study here…take a listen…
If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there. We think we have to be successful, then we’ll be happy. Not true. In fact, our brains work opposite of that. We need to focus on being positive in the present. When we do that…our brain is not stressed and we have the ability to perform better…thus these “happiness advantages”:
They also found that after 21 days of practicing a few of the following activities, the individual’s overall happiness improved because his/her brain was focusing on the positive versus the negative…thus leading to longer term happiness – encouraging behavior that looks for the positive in life or one’s environment instead of focusing on what is negative or what isn’t ideal.
Just making these small changes in your day-to-day life can create HUGE happiness advantages for you. And I can attest to this personally. In my previous post I shared about my faith and how I’ve started a daily quiet time. This quiet time includes several of these activities – writing what I’m grateful for, journaling and prayer/meditation. Just this simple change has made an incredible difference in my life outlook and how I handle my day.
Do you practice any of these activities? If so, please tell us how it’s impacted you.
If not, then I have a simple step you can take that will have a huge impact on you and the person you share it with. Choose a contact that you haven’t spoken with in quite some time. Send them a brief message simply to say you were thinking about them, you’re grateful for their friendship and you’d love to reconnect in person soon and catch up on life.
Most people are “too busy” to take the time to do anything like that…when in reality, in only takes 2 minutes, tops. Do this a few times a week…and you’ll watch not only your happiness level change…but you’ll be inspiring those around you as well…and that’s what our world needs more of.